Today we are joined by Renata Fossen Brown, author of the creative book, Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings. Today Renata shares Lab #48: how to craft up these quirky Grassy Garden Gnomes.
Grassy Garden Gnomes
Patience is a virtue. One that I don’t possess. And neither do most young children. Sometimes gardening can be particularly frustrating for a 5-year-old when the seed she planted on Tuesday hasn’t done ANYTHING by Wednesday.
Enter grass seed. Grass seed sprouts quickly and this fun project is perfect for the littlest ones among us to get a little craft on, then see the grass growing within a few days. After a week, the grass is usually long enough to put into ponytails or give a buzz cut, depending on your stylistic tendencies.
These Grassy Garden Gnomes are lovely to work on in the depth of winter, when we’re all craving some greenery in our lives. They’re also perfect to do in the spring and use as Easter decorations. Summertime brings out many a grass-grower too…okay you get the point. An entertaining activity to do any time of year. Enjoy!
- One pair knee-high nylons
- Grass seed
- Wide mouth drinking glass
- Googly eyes
- Waterproof glue, such as Gorilla Glue
- Small plastic or Styrofoam cups, such as Dixie cups
- Paint pens
- Felt or foam pieces in various colors
- Small clay pots
- Small bowl
Fill your garden with gnomes to help watch over it and keep you company. Your garden gnome will be extra special as it will have actual growing “hair!”
Tip: This is a messy activity, so do this outside if you can. Otherwise spread newspaper on your work surface.
- Stretch one nylon stocking over the mouth of a wide drinking glass to make pouring the grass seed and soil into the nylon easy. Use a spoon to sprinkle a small handful of grass seed into the stocking.
Fig. 1: Cover the mouth of a drinking glass with the nylon and sprinkle in grass seed.
- Pour in one to two handfuls of soil on top of the grass seed, pushing the soil all the way down to the toe. Take the nylon off of the drinking glass, and knot the nylon close to the soil to keep the soil in place. This is your gnome’s head.
Fig. 2: Pour soil on top of the grass seed, then knot the nylon stocking right below the soil to make the gnome’s head.
- With the length of leftover nylon hanging downward, glue googly eyes on to the face area and add other facial features. Let the glue dry completely.
Fig. 3: Glue googly eyes and facial features on to the face of the gnome.
- Fill the bowl with water and invert the gnome’s head into it for several minutes. This wets the soil and grass seed and gets the seed growing. .
Fig. 4: Invert the gnome’s head into the bowl of water.
- Insert a small paper cup into a clay pot and fill the cup with water, Fip the gnome’s head right side up and insert the loose end of the nylon into the cup. The nylon will act as a wick to pull water up and keep your grass seed watered.
Fig. 5: Insert the nylon “wick” into the cup filled with water.
6. Place the gnome where it will get sunlight, and within a week watch for the seed “hair” to sprout!
Fig. 6: Welcome your grassy garden gnome to its garden home!
Dig Deeper: Grass Facts
- Up to 90% of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots.
- Grass stems are mostly hollow.
- Grasses are classified as flowering plants.
- Grassland biomes are found all over the world.
Reprinted with permission from Gardening Labs for Kids by Renata Brown © 2014. Published by Quarry Books. Photography courtesy of Quarry Books.
Now wasn’t that fun? Want to see what the other 51 labs have in store? Well go grab a copy of Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden