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 ISSUE 06   •   20  AUGUST 2006  
   This week's theme: gardens


1. Editorial: Gardening with kids
2. MAKE: scrunchy blossoms
3. MAKE: patty pan flowers
4. MAKE: fuzzy wool blooms
5. MAKE: springy seedlings
6. MAKE: a pretend planter box
MORE: garden ideas

1. Editorial: Gardening with kids

The recent return of pleasant weather in our neck of the woods has seen our family spend more and more time in the backyard. Every day I am reminded of how plants and gardens hold so much delight for little ones.

If you have access to an outdoor space it's always great fun to section off a small area and create a kiddy garden. Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy planting seeds, watering them, weeding and watching their plants grow.

The best plants for young kids to grow from seed are fast growing, hardy and colourful varieties like sunflowers, sweetpeas and nasturtiums. Also, vegetables such as lettuce, carrots and beans grow quite quickly and give little ones the chance to eat food that they've grown themselves.

The BBC Gardening with Children website has a great list of easy-to-grow plants for children, along with suggestions for planting a garden to tantalise the senses.

If you don't have easy access to a garden you might want to consider making a miniature indoor garden or terrarium. There are great instructions for making a simple terrarium using an empty soft drink bottle at kidsgardening.com.

And of course, if it's raining or you don't feel like heading outdoors there are plenty of garden crafts in this issue of kids craft weekly! I hope you and your young charges enjoy creating them.

Happy crafting and see you next week!

Amber Carvan

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2. MAKE: scrunchy blossoms

Our scrunchy blossoms turned out so nicely that we have decided to keep them in a vase on the kitchen table. These blossoms are easy to make – younger kids with good fine motor skills should be able to manage quite easily.


You will need

• pink or white crepe paper
• twigs
kids pvc glue and paintbrush

1. Cut crepe paper into small pieces – we cut ours into roughly one inch squares.

2. Scrunch a piece of crepe paper into a small tight ball. Dip it in glue and stick it to your twig. Keep going until your stick is in full bloom.

3. MAKE: patty pan flowers

These patty pan flowers won the 'most popular with the kids' craft award this week. We could only find these blue and white patty pans but they look even better if you are able to get hold of some brightly coloured ones.

Patty Pan Flowers

You will need

cotton wool balls
patty pans
sticky tape
food colouring (optional)

1. Flatten a patty pan and chop into the edges around the diameter.

2. Glue a cotton ball to the centre of the patty pan. For extra colour, we added some drops of food colouring to the cotton balls.

3. Tape a pipe cleaner to the back of the patty pan.

4. MAKE: fuzzy wool blooms

Colourful novelty yarn is available quite cheaply from supermarkets and discount shops and it's great for craft projects like these fabulous wool flowers. My three and a half year old enjoyed this project but wasn't able to maintain her concentration for long stretches. Unless you're prepared to do most of the work they're probably best suited for kids aged four or more.

Wool Flowers

You will need

a selection of yarn
paddlepop sticks
strong glue
wooden skewers

1. Glue two sticks together to form an 'x'. When the glue is dry, fasten the wool to one of the sticks.

2. Then start to wind. Wind wool around one of the sticks then move to the next stick. Again, wind the wool around the stick and move to the next, continuing in a clockwise direction until most of the length of the sticks are covered in wool.

3. When you've finished, insert the pointy end of the skewer underneath the wool to form a stem. They look really great if you stick them in the soil of a potted plant.

5. MAKE: springy seedlings

You may be surprised at how delighted your little one will be with this simple craft. Planting the seedlings in soil also proved a big hit with both of my kids.


You will need

a pen or pencil

1. Wrap a pipe cleaner around a pen to form a tight coil, then carefully pull it off and stretch it out.

2. Thread a bead onto the end of the pipe cleaner.

6. MAKE: a pretend planter box

You can make a very simple pretend planter box by using a piece of polystyrene and painting it. You can then stick holes into the polystyrene with a skewer and poke your flowers and seedlings into the holes.

Planter Box

You will need

• a chunk of polystyrene
paints and brushes
odds and ends to decorate
• skewer to poke holes in the polystyrene

We used a piece of polystyrene packing that came with a scanner. It was already beautifully shaped like a planter box so we simply painted and decorated it to our liking. We filled it with soil at the last moment because Ella insisted that we make it 'real' but you don't have to as the flowers stand up even without any soil.

You could also try putting a chunk of polystyrene into a flower pot or basket or simply filling a deep pot or bucket with sand or soil and planting your flowers that way. 

7. More garden ideas

•  plant a window box
•  have a garden party
•  grow a carrot top in a dish of shallow water on a window ledge
•  collect some flowers and press them in a thick book
•  collect bark and leaves from the garden, place them under a sheet of paper and make crayon rubbings

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