Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rainy Day Project: Growing Paper Garden

Okay, it's another rainy spring day in MN, so I thought I'd post this project I did with Sammy on a rainy day a couple weeks ago.  I apologize that I have no kind of template for you to download on this one, because I totally made it up as I went along with stuff we had around the house.  But, if you're up for "wingin' it" a bit, give it a try!  I did take tons of photos so hopefully that helps!

Anyway, I was feeling extra super-mom-ish this day, which is NOT typical by any means, but I was determined not to let another rain day turn into a big Thomas and Friends cartoon marathon.  In my effort to do something creative, resourceful, and somewhat educational, this is what I came up with...a somewhat mechanical "paper garden" that grows when the rain falls.  (see the tie in to rainy days? Way to focus on the to come!)

So, I started by giving Sammy some paper and a flower shaped paper punch to keep his hands busy...
 He had fun punching flowers out and coloring some with his crayons.

 We just kindof experimented with random ways to make flowers.  This one I glued onto a bamboo skewer.

While Sammy made flowers, I grabbed this box out of our recycle bin that held a huge assortment of Jelly Belly jelly beans I had gotten for my hubby a while back...
 I cut off half of the'll see why later.  If you can find a shallow box like this that doesn't have an actual lid, you can just cut a square hole on the top half of one side.

 Next I grabbed a full sheet label out of my studio to cover the bottom half of the lid, in case we wanted to color on it or something, and to cover the Jelly Belly box art.  Since it's all sticky-backed, I didn't have to worry about glue...
 Trim the corners as needed so it wraps around nice...
I folded the extra flaps around the back, which also fixed the lid to the bottom of the box.

 Here's the box, ready to house our paper garden!

 Sammy still working on flowers and leaves!  I gave him some paper shapers scissors and he had fun just chopping up paper.

Toby wanted in on the action, so taped a piece of paper to the table for him to color on.  He lasted a few minutes until he started eating the crayons.

 While the boys were busy coloring and cutting, I cut a slit in the top and bottom of the box with an x-acto knife. I made this size to fit some green ribbon I had in my could probably use yarn or something too but I found the surface area of ribbon worked best.

 Then I fed some ribbon through the slot...

 ...and wrapped it through and around the box like so.

Then I just used a stapler to secure the two ends together.

So, our garden needed rain to grow (hence the rainy day project).  I was going to cut out blue rain drops from paper, but decided to personalize it a little more, and have Sammy trace his hand for the rain.
 Okay, so he may not be the most "precise" when it comes to hand tracing, but it was cute anyway.

 I cut out a couple clouds...two sheets at once so I'd have two identical ones to sandwich the ribbon between.

 I glued one cloud on the underside of the ribbon, under the stapled area.

 Then I glued Sammy's "rain" hand to the cloud,

 ...and glued the identical cloud over the top.  So, you have the ribbon and the rain in between two cloud layers.

 To make it easy for the cloud to pull up and down, I stapled loops to the ribbon just above and below the rain cloud. (I probably could have incorporated this with the one original ribbon but it was an afterthought!  Remember, I'm making this up as I go...)

 Sorry about the sideways pics...don't know what's up with Blogger! Anyway, you can see the cloud can be pulled up and down while the ribbon passes through the slots.  So, next, I apologize I blanked on my photo taking at this part...but, here's what we did to make the garden part...

I pulled the cloud down as far as it would go.

Next, I cut a square piece of white paper for the "sky" and glued it to the back side of the back ribbon layer...the ribbon inside the cut-out top half of the box.

 Then, I cut a shorter rectangle of green paper and put that on top of the back ribbon.  So you're sandwiching the BACK ribbon now, just like you did with the cloud, only this time it's between a piece of sky and a piece of green grass.
 Sammy and I then glued in our leaves and flowers to this green rectangular piece, to form our garden.  Sammy drew a yellow sun in the background on the piece of "sky" paper, and asked me to draw some birds. We also stuck in some flower stickers. (another sideways pic...sorry!)

 So here's the final goal...when you pull up on the top loop, the cloud comes up and hides the sun and the garden.

 As you pull DOWN on the loop under the cloud, making the rain fall down into the ground, the garden full of flowers raises up in the background. 

I really wanted to make the cloud disappear behind another layer, so it's not like some garden floating on top of a cloud.  But hey, I was totally winging it, so I gave myself a break. Plus, his giant hand rain drops were wider than the box so it wouldn't have fit so well.  You could just put a piece of paper over that though and make another spot for the cloud to hide!

 Here Sammy is studying the many flavors of Jelly Belly's that were once in the box, illustrated on the back:

 ...and, here he is making it rain so his flowers will grow!
Cheesy...maybe...but at least it kept us all quiet and entertained...if only for a few minutes!!  ;-)

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