Green Tips for the School Holidays

Make a forest of cacti or blossoming trees out of pebbles

Turn simple pebbles into pretty plants!

Nothing could be simpler: a few pebbles, some paint, a little imagination... and you’re off!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

- A nice little jar

- Washable and child-friendly poster paint

- Paintbrushes

- Soil or sand, or brown paper or newspaper

- All the round and flat pebbles of all sizes, picked up during a walk at the beach or at the park with your child.

 

1. Choosing the pebbles

Let your child choose stones of different shapes and sizes that will be used in their forest scene.

 

2. The first layer of paint

Let your child paint all the pebbles green, with a brush or with their fingers.

Try offering your child several types of green, light, dark, bluish, ... depending on the scene they want to make.

Let the pebbles dry. You might need to apply a second base coat of paint if you want a more vibrant result, as some stones absorb the color and paint more easily.

 

3. Decorating the pebbles

When decorating (zigzags, strokes, dots, crosses, etc.) let your imagination (and your brush) guide you!

Use white paint for cacti or colored paint for trees and flowers!

Help your child draw the little details: maybe small dots, brushstrokes, zigzags or crosses for the cactus spines... or small leaves, flowers or brushstrokes for pine needles ... It's up to you!


4. Assembling the scene

Fill the jar with soil or sand, or brown paper if you don’t have soil around (crumple the ball of paper a little to help the pebbles stand up).

Then let your child place the pebbles in the jar vertically to create a coordinated display: put the biggest stones at the back and the smallest in front.

You can also fill the surface with tiny stones to hide the soil, or use cocoa powder if you don’t have soil at home!

Admire the result together!

Make a plant masterpiece!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

- Dried bits of plants collected at the park, in the garden or from the balcony

- A nice frame – a recycled frame is a great eco touch!

- Child-friendly glue

- For a glass background: use a glass frame for pressed plants or take two identical glass panes and create a frame using a glass pane on either side.

 

1. Choosing and drying your plants

Some tips for choosing your plants:

Choose the most beautiful plants you have, using a variety of sizes  and patterns which complement each other.

Find a good balance between flowers and leaves.

Choose different colors for a vibrant mix.

And most importantly: keep as much stem attached as possible as this will be helpful when assembling the picture.

First to prep!

Help your little artist lay the flowers and leaves side by side between two sheets of paper (newspaper or blotting paper works a treat) and press a weight down on top (e.g. a pile of books).

Let dry it for a few days

 

2. Framing the picture

When the plants are dry, let your child arrange the leaves and flowers as desired between the two panes, or attach them to a piece of paper with small blobs of glue if your opting for a paper background.

You can also use some double-sided scrapbooking tape and add some stickers and drawings.

Close the frame.

 

3. Admire the result!

 Why not organise an exhibition, complete with a few of your child's drawings? Another activity to do with your child, which brings the whole household together for a moment of shared fun!

Make some magic sand at home!

Magic sand is a powder made with starch which preserves its shape when molded and allows children to play at home, just like they would in a sandpit.

Here is a recipe that you can easily make at home with common household products and that will let your children’s creative juices flow.

Over to you!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 

- Small freezer bags or storage bags
- Flour

- Olive oil

- Natural powdered coloring, e.g. spices or vegetable powders (green: spinach powder, red: beetroot powder, yellow: turmeric powder).

You can also use food coloring used for baking if you have it at home - just make sure the ingredients are safe for children.

 

1. Preparing the mixture

Time to get your aprons on! Pour 7 cups of flour and 1 cup of oil into a large bowl or mixing bowl.

Mix with a fork or wooden spoon. The mixture will become grainy.

 

2. Coloring the mixture

Divide the mixture and pour it into as many bags as you have colors.

In each bag, add a little powdered coloring, seal the bag and get your child to knead the mixture to mix in the color.

Make a bag for each color you want to have.

 

3. Time to play!

Pour the sand into a tray or onto an empty work surface: you can also get out your beach toys. With this magic sand, you can make sand castles; play dough and other fun shapes in your home. You could make a marble run or a course for toy cars.

A tip for storage:

Put the magic sand back in the sealed bags and keep it for several weeks!

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