Spring is a wonderful time to plant and craft, enjoying a wide array of newly blossomed color and fun. Below you will find a collection of spring crafts to enjoy this season.
One of each vegetable you plan to grow in your garden
¼” plywood cut into small pieces to be your garden markers
Sticks, about 8-10” for the stakes
Slice each vegetable in half as straight as possible. Paint the inside of one of the vegetables. Press the painted vegetable down on a piece of plywood. Glue the stick to the back of your marker and let dry. Continue doing this until you have made a marker for each of the vegetables in your garden.
Lima Bean Sprouting
Nature notebooks (optional)
Wrap lima beans in a wet paper towel and place into a clear baggie. Hang the bag in a place that receives adequate sunlight (your nature space would be perfect!) Check your beans often to watch for sprouting. Older children can chart the beans’ changes and make sketches each day in their nature notebooks.
Seed and Bean Mosaics
Dry seeds from various sources
Dry beans and pasta
For younger children, spread glue on paper and allow them to arrange seeds, beans and pasta to create their mosaic. Older children can draw their own design first, add glue to small areas of the design and choose which seeds, beans or pasta pieces to add to fill up the mosaic. Let dry and add to your nature space.
Corrugated cardboard box small enough for child to maneuver (with lid or top flap)
Vinyl screen cloth (found in hardware stores)
Brads or paper fasteners
Self adhesive contact paper
Use a razor to cut out square openings on the front and two sides of your box. Leave about 1-2” wide around the openings. Stretch screen cloth around the three openings using masking tape to hold. Cover the inside and outside of the box (not the openings) with contact paper. Add a brad to the top of the lid and another brad to the back of the box so you can keep the top closed by joining a rubber band around each brad. Children can decorate their box any way they wish. If you are lucky enough to find a cocoon or butterfly during your nature walks, bring it into your box along with a piece of the plant you found it on. You can put a cotton ball soaked with honey in the cage for food. Do not keep your butterfly for too long – just a day or so to enjoy. Larvae can also be mail-ordered and hatched in this box. Check the internet for sources.
Coffee Filter Butterflies
Pipe cleaner or wooden clothespin
Cover your workspace and have children paint coffee filters with watercolor paints. Set aside to dry. When dry, fold the coffee filters like an accordion and add a pipe cleaner or wooden clothespin to the center for a body. Spread out the ‘wings’ of the butterfly on either side. Hang these in your window or on tree branches in a vase in your nature space.
Pressed Flower Bookmarks
Brush with glue
Yarn, raffia or ribbon
Prior to making these bookmarks, have the children hunt for flowers during your nature walks and outdoor adventures. Place flowers inside a heavy book’s pages for a few days until they are flat and dry. Next, cut strips of cardstock the shape and size you would like your bookmarks to be. Punch a hole at the top and tie a few strands of yarn, raffia or ribbon. Carefully, brush one side of the bookmark with glue and lay flowers on top in desired position. You may choose to use tweezers to gently lift and place the flowers. Next cover the flower side of the bookmark with clear contact paper and cut around edges to fit.
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cream of tartar (with the spices in your grocery store)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup salt
Few drops of various colors of food coloring
2 cups boiling water
Put all ingredients into large bowl except for boiling water and food coloring. Pour boiling water over the mixture and stir it up with a large spoon. Split the mixture into different bowls for each color. Add food coloring to each bowl with a bit more hot water. Sprinkle your surface with flour and lift warm dough out of your bowls one at a time and knead until texture is right. Play dough can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Natural Easter Egg Coloring
Natural Dyes to Experiment With:
Beets, Cranberries, Tumeric, Cumin, Cherries, Cranberries, Blueberries, Ground Coffee, Red Cabbage, Spinach, Kool Aid, Etc.
Gently place eggs on the bottom of your pan – do not stack eggs on top of each other (you may have to do a few pots.)
Cover eggs with water so they are fully covered with an additional ½” on top. Add 3 tablespoons of white vinegar to pot. Add 1 tablespoon of alum to pot.
Add natural dye material to your pot. Experiment with different amounts to see the colors you can create. Bring pot to a boil and let simmer 25-30 minutes. With tongs or large scooper, bring eggs out of pot gently and transfer onto paper toweling or newspaper- lined bowl. Let cool.
Egg Shell Garden
This is a great activity to do with broken colored Easter Egg shells after you eat them or crack a few by accident!
Eggshells (colored or plain)
Pieces of sponge
Place a piece of sponge inside of the broken eggshell. Add a small amount of water to the sponge to make it moist. Sprinkle grass seed on top of the sponge. Each day water the seed lightly. In approximately one week you should see the grass growing.
You can share the following verse as you make your gardens:
Kind hearts are the gardens;
Kind thoughts are the roots;
Kind words are the blossoms;
Kind deeds are the fruits.
And sunbeams of love in these heart-gardens glow,
That put out the world’s darkness, and make Easter buds grow.
Indoor Worm Habitat
Gravel or pebbles
Fish tank or large clear container
Earthworms (from outside – have fun digging!)
Fill base of container with gravel. Have children help you add a mix of potting soil and dry leaves to top. Gently add your earthworms to your container. Have children chart the earthworms’ habits over the next few days. Add a bit of water to the container and have the children watch the earthworms migrate toward the water. Be sure not to keep them very long, just long enough to learn and then gently place them back outside where they belong.
Eileen is a work-at-home mother to four daughters. She runs Little Acorn Playgarden out of her Brookfield, Connecticut home and writes and publishes monthly seasonal guides for parents and caregivers of children at Little Acorn Learning. She has many ideas and activities for parents on her blog at Eileen’s Place. In addition to her regular lesson plans she is now offering Monthly Afterschool Enrichment guides to add a celebration of the seasons to your afternoon and weekends.