Category Archives: children’s activities (recycled materials)

Making Flower Crowns For Your Little Pixie

Flower crowns are beautiful and your little pixie or princess will love it.

Make a bunch for a fairy party or just enjoy a little mother and daughter time.

How to:

Cut a vine and remove the leaves. I used a wisteria vine this time but you can use whatever you have on hand. Cut and bend it into a circle. Check the size of the hoop by putting it on the child’s head. Use a piece of wire or a string to hold the vine. Use flowers and leaves that are available in your garden. Use a wire or string to wrap around the hoop securing more flowers as you go around.

Pretty little pixie girl wearing a crown of fresh flowers.

Wonderfully Fun Fairy Houses Made By Imaginative Children

During a recent “green” sewing and crafting workshop I was giving to children, these fairy houses were made. I’m continually impressed by their collective creativity. Now the woods surrounding our house are filled with welcoming homes for visiting fairies. Don’t you want to go out and make your own?

Let these pictures inspire you but not limit you in your building. Start by taking a walk and gathering supplies along the way. Scout out good locations for your fairy home. All manner of natural materials make good additions to these structures: flowers, feathers, leaves, sticks, bark, moss, pine cones, rocks, acorns, berries…

*Be sure not to overharvest living materials. Moss for example is very slow growing.

Moss table with pinecone seats for fairies.

Moss chair cleverly designed by 10 year old for the comfort of her fairy friends.

Fairy doll in her garden.

Doll was a gift made by a talented friend.

Artist at work.

Welcoming fairy accommodations.

What fairy could resist?

Don’t forget a stash of food to offer visiting fairies.

Observing Nature: Fisher Cat In NH Yard

During a visit to Amherst, New Hampshire, we were amazed to see a fisher cat come out of the woods! It was searching for dinner scrapes that were tossed there. We were all surprised. My family and I had never seen one before that. Fisher cats are known for being secretive and they are very rarely seen. Incredible: we got to get such a good look at the fisher cat while safely on a raised deck! It didn’t even seem to know or care that we were there.

When I was a kid we would throw out kitchen scraps and watch what came around after dark to get it: mostly raccoons and skunks. We would turn on the light to view them at a distance.

I’ve since read that fisher cats are omnivorous; they eat a bunch of stuff including small animals, carrion, insects, fruit and even mushrooms. They rarely eat fish despite their name and apparently they are good at hunting porcupines. Furthermore, they were hunted to near extinction back when wearing furs was the thing to do.

The night before I took these pictures, my Aunt’s toy dog was carried away while she was standing nearby. It was dark and the dog went outside of the ring of light. She was shocked and devastated when this beloved pet was carried away in the night: a fox was blamed. After seeing this fisher cat we are all convinced it was the fisher cat. Fisher cats are blamed for the disappearance of many house pets but biologists believe that other predators are usually to blame. Unfortunately, I think this fisher cat saw an opportunity and took it. How was she to know?

This fisher cat showed up around 6 p.m.

Catch A Fish Out Of Water: A Party Game

I saw kids playing this lampshade fishing game at a summer cookout. They were having a great time. Of course I had to make one; plus put my own spin on it. You should too.

Set up:

Get an old fishing pole. Use a string or some fishing line to attach your lampshade. Use stuff from your garage or find objects second-hand. You will want the string/ line to hold the lampshade so the shade hangs down at the right level. Test it out to make sure. You will also need goggles that have been altered so you can’t see through them, a blindfold or nothing (if player keeps his or her eyes closed). When we play this again at our next party, I’m going to add funny (crazy) eye pictures to cover the goggle eyes. That will make it even funnier to watch. I’m thinking red and black Swirly eyes.

To Play:

Each player has a turn and will be timed. The person who can get the lampshade on their head the fastest is the winner. What makes this hard to do is the fact that the player can’t see the lampshade. Also, the player can only use one hand. (The other hand must stay down: you can’t touch the lampshade with your free hand!)  It isn’t as easy as it sounds. The shade swings around and usually bumps against the player’s head a bunch of times.

This is a great party game because it is rather amusing for watchers and challenging for players. Make sure you have a camera nearby.

This is one of the games played at my daughter’s circus (Cirque du Soleil) birthday party. Try this at a family picnic, kid’s party, cookout or whenever. It’s even fun for the grownups.

Land Snails: How To Care For Your Newly Found Pet

Teach kids how to care for the simple needs of a land snail. Locally found snails don’t cost anything to keep and don’t require a big commitment. They can be kept until the novelty wears off and then released back into the wild. Keeping a pet snail (however temporary) will give kids an opportunity to learn about it. Watch closely when they eat. You can’t see its mouth but you can see how the food is munched bit by bit. They use a radula to file bits of food into its mouth. A radula is like a tongue with teeth. Cool, I know. The land snail pictured here is interesting to watch. It has eyes at the tip of its antennas (the top pair) and the bottom pair is used for feeling and smelling. Best of all you can watch your snail slime its way around using only one muscular foot.

I live on the East coast of the United States so this is a common land snail around here.

If your snail starts to dry out, it will close itself inside its shell and wait for conditions to improve before venturing out again. This state of inactivity is called estivation. They can seal the opening with a sheet of a clear substance that looks like dried egg whites.

If you plan to keep your snail for more than a week or so, you will need to add a source of calcium to the snail’s enclosure. For this you can add a piece of plain chalk or a piece of cuttlebone.

This is Snailie the land snail. You might just find your next pet in your flower garden.

Set-up:

A glass container works well. I found this vintage jar in the woods at an old unofficial trash dump. All that remained of the dump was glass and large metal items. I thought this jar was cool so I took it home. Do they still make jars like this?

A piece of cheese cloth or breathable fabric. You don’t want your pet snail getting lost in your house.

An elastic band. Save and reuse elastic bands that come off vegetables like broccoli and asparagus.

Daily care:

Wash jar. Don’t forget to take the snail out of the jar first!

Replace damp paper towel.

Add food: a leaf of lettuce (not iceberg), a piece of your apple core, spinach, carrot, or a raw potato slice. You are sure to find some yummy vegetable scraps left-over from dinner preparation. The food scraps shouldn’t be rotten however. Take out any food that gets moldy.

Keep your snail out of direct sunlight. You don’t want it to get too hot or dry.

As a child I had a vivarium set up with plants and a pet snail or two. If you choose to set up a vivarium (terrarium), make sure you choose plants that like a moist environment. Also add potting soil, plants, a log and some dried leaves to mimic it’s natural environment. Keep the soil damp.

Note: avoid chlorinated water, avoid washing your container with soap (or at least make sure you rinse really well).