If your family is anything like ours, there’s not a whole lot planned. The beach beckons (it’s been a heck of a long winter in Ottawa!), but alas, a hot vacay is not in the cards – or the budget. Since I work from home, I can’t really justify sending the kids off to a full-day camp, either (plus I don’t think it would feel like a vacation for anyone to have to get up and fight traffic to be somewhere for 8 or 9 a.m. every day).
So what’s a mom to do? Well, it just so happens that I have a few ideas up my sleeve! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been craving spring. So why not will it to come to us – right now – by getting a head start on the gardening (indoor container gardening, that is)?
Over the weekend, I hit Canadian Tire and picked up a few small, terra-cotta pots. I love these things; they’re like an art canvas with the added function of housing your plant! The girls and I decorated three of them in totally different styles. One is sunny yellow with cute fabric flowers, another is sky blue with a marine motif and the last one is treated with a blackboard paint* – so you can decorate it over and over with coloured chalk (my six-year-old, Lily, is in love with this one!).
To get this look, you’ll need the following:
- Terra-cotta pots (I paid $1.99) for medium-sized ones at Canadian Tire
- Paint (we used acrylic paint from the dollar store; you could opt for a non-toxic, washable paint if you’re doing this craft with very young kids)
- Brushes (clearly!)
- Embellishments (I found an adorable marine-themed border sticker at the dollar store, as well as the cute fabric flowers. The shells came from a family trip last summer.
- Potting soil
- Small plants (I bought each one of mine for under $4 at Loblaws) or seeds
*I bought a can of spray paint at Canadian Tire for $6.99. While it’s fast to apply, be warned that it’s messy (definitely not something the kids can help with). In retrospect, it might have been better to opt for the can-and-paintbrush variety instead.
While I was at the dollar store, I found some adorable hard-cover notebooks with a floral cover. I picked up one for each of my daughters – to use as their gardening journals. Lily was thrilled with her book and spent quite a bit of time writing out the steps for planting a pot, and drawing pictures of what a plant needs to grow. I’d like to plant some more pots with seeds – and she can document how long it takes for them to sprout and mature.
I was thinking about a floral-themed craft we could do, and discovered that you can make a beautiful design with the end of a bunch of celery! Simply dip the celery stubs into paint and you have your flowers – now you just need to add greenery with a brush. My nine-year-old, Elissa, really took to this craft – she practised several versions and then transferred her skills to a small canvas ($4 from the dollar store).
Last but not least, I thought up a yummy flower-inspired snack – cupcakes “planted” in a pot! This is really simple to put together – here are the materials you’ll need:
- A small pot
- A piece of Styrofoam (I bought a ball from the dollar store)
- Popsicle sticks (green if you can find them)
- crushed chocolate cookie crumbs (for the “dirt)
- vanilla cupcakes (I cheated and used a cake mix to speed things along!)
- flower-shaped cupcake liners (available at Bulk Barn for $3.99)
To assemble, wedge the Styrofoam firmly in the pot – then cover over with a thin layer of cookie crumbs. Insert the popsicle stick “stems” carefully into the Styrofoam. Using a sharp knife, make a small slit in the bottom of the cupcake holder and gently push the cupcake onto its stem. My kids had a blast “picking” their snacks from the pot.
Hopefully these ideas will inspire you to “grow” your March break into something great!