Category Archives: children’s activities (recycled materials)

Clementine Box Re-used To Grow Lush Green Grass Or Wheat-grass

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Wheat-grass growing in Clementine box.

This re-purposed Clementine box doubles as an attractive green focal point. It looks great around the house: kitchen, dinning room, office – anywhere you want to be reminded of spring. I love it! I like to jump-start spring by growing grass or wheat grass indoors before the grass outside greens up. It is a super easy centerpiece for a spring or summer party; it looks amazing and is so inexpensive. Use as part of an economical eco-friendly garden wedding. You may also want to try growing a living Easter basket.

How-2: Early in the year, ask all your friends to save their Clementine boxes for you. These boxes have quite a few uses so don’t throw them away after you are done growing grass! Preparing the box consists of lining it with a piece of plastic. Any kind you have handy (a scrap of construction waste, the plastic bag that your bag of dirt came in, whatever). Wait until after you put in your growing medium before trimming off the extra plastic. Next if you are using soil, add a half inch more or less of pea gravel or other small stones for drainage. If using Vermiculite, it is not necessary to add rocks for drainage. Just remember not to flood your container. If you add too much, try pouring off excess water.

growing wheat grass

Wheat berries (also called wheat grass) can be found at your local health food store. This is the stuff that some people juice (with a special juicer) and drink for its health properties. Unlike growing rye grass, you must first soak and sprout your wheat berries before planting. To do this, place your wheat berries (less than a cup for each Clementine box) in a clean jar or bowl and cover with plenty of cool water and let sit overnight. You do not need the lid on at this point. Keep your jar out of direct sunlight and at room temperature during the sprouting process. In the morning rinse with cool water, drain off the extra water and put the cover on your mason jar. You should rinse one or two times that day and the next day. The idea is to have the wheat berries sprout a little root while avoiding mold or slime to form on the seeds. I didn’t have any problems with that. You should see roots forming within two days (more or less). Distribute the sprouted wheat berries across the top of the soil or Vermiculite. They should be sitting right on top of your growing medium. Use enough to cover the surface with some overlapping. Wet the soil/ Vermiculite in the box but don’t drown it. To keep my new “seedlings” happy, I put a clear plastic bag over the top to keep the humidity high. After about two days when the wheat grass starts to grow and the roots have gone into the soil/ vermiculite, you should take off the plastic. Place in front of a sunny window. You will need to check on it and mist as needed.

growing rye grass
Growing rye grass is even easier than growing wheat grass because you don’t need to pre-soak the seeds. Just distribute a layer of seeds across the top of the soil. (I use soil not vermiculite when growing rye grass.) The more seeds you use the thicker your “lawn” but don’t go overboard. Next, I sprinkle just a bit of soil on top. Water, cover with plastic, and mist when needed. Take off plastic when the grass starts to grow. Place in a in front of a sunny window and water when needed. So easy the kids can do it.

Kids’ Play; Mr. or Mrs. Fix-it

What can you do with a broken toaster?

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Malfunctioning Toaster
Teach your little Fix-it some repair-person lingo.

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Broken Electric Can-opener

Are the kids looking for something to do? Suggest Mr. or Mrs. Fix-it. Save your broken small appliances such as a blender, toaster, iron, electric can opener, hair dryer etc. Children love pretending to be a repair-person even if they aren’t really fixing anything. This kind of imaginative play can also be a time of learning. Let them explore what is on the inside and they will begin to see how things work. You might want to point out the parts that you know. Ask what things are connected to what other things. Older kids might want to look for loose pieces, worn out parts or missing pieces- anything that might be a clue to why the appliance doesn’t work anymore. Bonus: using a screwdriver improves muscle dexterity!

How-2: Look for inexpensive small appliances at garage sales, thrift stores or where-ever. Ask around: someone will have a broken something they would be happy to donate. This project should be done with adult supervision. Have some tools on hand such as screwdrivers, wire cutters, pliers, and needle-nose pliers. Younger children may need an adult to loosen tight screws. (Note: Modern electronics (computers) may or may not have dangerous/ toxic components and I do not recommend children play with these sorts of things.)

TV Pixilator Light Show

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This is a fun yet easy thing to make and try out with the kids.
How-2: Collect about 100 toilet paper roll tubes (the number depends on the size of your TV). You might want to ask your friends to help, it really shouldn’t take too long. You will also need a stapler and a cover. The cover can be made of a large piece of velum or any semi transparent paper or plastic (even wax paper or thin white fabric will work). I used a piece of plastic. Staple the tubes together; stapling seems to be the fastest and most secure method of connecting the tubes. Then glue or otherwise attach the cover and it’s ready. The TV Pixilator has the best light show if a bright children’s cartoon or something similar is playing.


Instead of seeing the image on the tv, you will only see spots of colored light.

Does anyone know the science behind this?

The colors going through a tube seem to mix and become one color.