Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sprout Scouts Playcamp Bonus Activiity: Four Colorful Ways to (Re-) Use Your Old Seed Catalogs

We are getting ready for our first theme based week of Sprout Scouts Playcamp. Picking up a container of worms is actually on my list of things to do today and I can't wait to dig in to our Digging in the Dirt theme tomorrow morning with the boys! We have been starting our mornings with a table time activity both boys can do each day per S's request to have "Morning Work" as he did in his preschool classroom. Right before Shabbos this week, my husband retrieved a seed catalog I'd ordered from the mailbox. I pored over every colorful page on Friday night and the only way to keep us safe from me ordering a $400 plant tower with built in vermicomposting bin is for me to cut that thing up ASAP! So this morning, my husband took both boys out (THANK YOU!) and I curled up with a cup of coffee, scissors and my seed catalog and I introduce to you today...

Four Colorful Ways to Re-use Your Old Seed Catalogs:

Suggested Materials:

  • seed catalogs
  • scissors
  • double sided tape
  • clear contact paper
  • glue or glue stick
  • masking tape, painters tape or scotch tape
  • washi tape (optional)
  • large drawing paper
  • markers, pencils, crayons
  • DIY Rainbow Nature Journal 

A couple of things before we begin--
Children who are old enough to use scissors can definitely cut out pictures independently. It's a great cutting practice activity and recycled magazines and catalogs are a great addition to your scrap paper bin. Recycling, re-using and up-cycling are all integral parts of our Sprout Scouts Playcamp themes and our family values all year round. If you do not have a seed catalog or don't want to cut yours up (please send the Garden Tower 2 to the following address...), you can recycle any home and garden magazine, clippings from store ads, old seed packets or even print off pictures from your own photos or the internet. Many libraries also have old magazines on sale for less than a dollar. Your funds would support the library and give new life to an old publication.

Suggested Reading:

  • Planting a Rainbow, Growing Vegetable Soup and Eating the Alphabet all by Lois Ehlert

When it comes to children's literature about nature and gardening, Lois Ehlert is one of my favorite author/illustrators! Her children's books truly inspire get outdoors and read with my kids in every season. These are just a few great titles to check out from your local library or add to your personal library.

  • The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller
  • A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston & Sylvia Long
  • What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Schwartz
I set our pictures in a bag hung over the doorhandle
right beside our sticky wall. You can store yours on a
shelf nearby or in a basket or tray depending on where
your sticky wall is located. You can also tape a large
envelope to the wall and store pictures inside.

  1. What's Growing in Your Garden Sticky Wall: In our first activity, you'll set up a sticky wall using clear contact paper on any vertical surface at child level. You can tape it to your wall, a door or even an easel. I love using a colorful washi tape border to make it pop (otherwise it really blends in!), but you can just use masking tape, painters tape or even clear scotch tape. Using cut outs of colorful vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs and gardening supplies, children can stick pictures onto the sticky wall. This is especially geared toward the 2 and under crowd, but my almost 4 year old also loves the sticky wall!
  2. Garden Wish Collage: In a variation of the previous theme, children plan and plot out their own dream garden using markers or crayons to draw the background and pictures cut out from seed catalogs to add what they wish or hope to grow. Older children can be shown garden plans and blueprints and you can even provide graph paper for a more realistic approach. Younger ones may be more inclined to glue on pictures and use markers or crayons for adding in background details.

3. Plant, Grow and Eat a Rainbow Collage: Although this involves a bit of prep work from adults or older children, it's a really fun way to explore the rainbow color by color. Before you begin, you'll need to use pencil to draw the outline of a rainbow onto large drawing paper. Provide enough sections for each color. If you are being true to the colors of the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, you'll need seven sections. If you are combining indigo and violet, you'll need only six. I like to introduce one color in isolation when I do rainbow collages in this way or at least two non-consecutive colors so that it is easier for children to see where the materials belong. More advanced artists can likely do the whole collage in one sitting, but I prefer to do only one or two colors at a time--and with the very young (like Y) only one. You can provide glue or a glue stick or even prep the area yourself, but I love using double sided tape strips so that the area is sticky but not in danger of drying or spreading stickiness to unwanted areas before artists can finish their work. A little pro-tip with larger picture sizes is to cut them into multiple squares or rectangles so they will fit into your allotted space. Your finished work will make a lovely poster to hang indoors or even laminate and hang in your garden.

4 .Growing a Rainbow Nature Journal: We are using our Rainbow Nature Journals with seed catalog cut outs and double sided tape to collect pictures in each color that we particularly love. It's a beautiful way to capture the rainbow of things we can plant, grown and eat!

These are great filler activities and ones you can pull out or set out over the course of multiple days. I'll bet you can think of even more great ideas and I'd love to steal hear about them! Until then...

Happy Planting, Growing, Eating and PLAYING!

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