Happy Earth Day!
Although I do truly believe that we
should be practicing Earth friendly behavior each and every day, it
is nice to do something special once a year to celebrate our home
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Many of you are probably familiar with the classic picture
book Miss Rumphius
by Babara Cooney. For those of you who are not, it
tells the sweet tale of an adventurous woman who had three missions
in life: to go to faraway places, grow old by the sea and, most
importantly, make the world more beautiful.
all that she sets out to do and her greatest mission is beautifying
the world by spreading lupine seeds. If only each of us did one small
thing to make the Earth more beautiful, can you imagine what the
planet would be like?
This story is a great launching point
for all sorts of Earth Day projects including making your own seed
paper. This paper, with seeds woven into it, can be planted in pots
or gardens and makes a lovely gift. (Mother's Day is just around the
If you have made recycled paper with
your children or students you will find that the process is
practically identical. First you'll need to shred some paper. Kids
love doing this by hand or you can use paper from an electric
shredder. This is a great way to recycle that junk mail!
|Shred some paper|
Once the paper is shredded, soak it in
water for a while, an hour will do, but if you have the luxury of
leaving it overnight it will become quite soft. Students can then
tear and mush the paper into smaller pieces.
|Soak the paper|
Put some of the
saturated paper in the blender with water to cover. Doing a cup at a
time on the "chop" setting does a nice job of making the
slurry, or "paper milkshake" that you'll need.
|Make the paper slurry|
Time to mix
in the seeds. I have chosen to use marigold seeds
because they are
nice and flat and I have a lot of them that I saved from flowers last
You can use just about any type of small flat seed in your
paper. Mixing and matching can be a nice surprise once the paper is
planted. Mix the seeds
into the slurry, making sure you can see them
throughout the mush. Now to make the paper!
|Mix in the seeds|
You can go about the next step in one
of several ways depending on the space you are working in. The paper
slurry needs to be spread out flat on a screen. You can use an old
window screen, or you can make your own screens by stapling screening
onto picture frames
like we did. Paper making kits like this one
, that include similar screens are also available for purchase.
We chose to fill the screens outside
as it was nice and sunny. We scooped the slurry onto the screen and
flatten it as we went. This allowed the excess water to run off quite
easily without making a mess inside. The indoor alternative is to
squeeze the water out of the slurry with your hands over a sink or
container and then pat it down flat on the screening. As long as you
have basins or a sink and some newspaper it really is not a huge mess
indoors either. The paper needs to be pushed down flat and thin in
|Cover with a thin layer of the recycled paper mixture|
|The seeds are mixed throughout|
|A chipmunk came to check out our paper while it was on the deck and left some muddy tracks!|
Once the paper is in the screen you'll
have to wait a day or two for it to dry thoroughly. Once it is dry
you can pull it off the screen and cut into whatever shape you'd
|The finished product|
Add a cute tag and you've got a lovely Earth Day, Mother's Day,
or Spring gift. The papers can be planted in the ground, planters or
pots. Place them just under the soil, keep moist and you are one step
closer to making the world a more beautiful place!!
|A nice gift!|
How are you celebrating Earth Day?
Share in the comments or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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I support teachers of students with significant cognitive impairments. We are preparing an Earth Day units to share with special ed teachers. I would love to use your directions and photos in the adapted instructions I create for students who cannot read. These materials will be shared with teachers at no charge and posted on a resource board for teachers. May I have your permission to use your instructions and photos - of course a link will be included to this post.ReplyDelete
Hello, I'd be happy to work with you on this. Please e-mail me your contact info at email@example.com so we can work out the details.Delete
Great idea, I think I will try this with my 5yo granddaughter!ReplyDelete
It's a lot of fun! If you do it, let us know how it turned out!Delete
I did this with our school environmental club last week. They enjoyed it, though since I did it with newspaper it made a yucky looking gray paste. We're going to try again with construction paper scraps I think.ReplyDelete
Yay! I'm glad you tried it. It's a fun activity! I've done it with construction paper scraps from our scrap box before and just be cautioned that if you mix multiple colors, you'll still end up with a dark colored paste, whether it is a brown or gray. If you can split out the colors, you might get a better result, although I haven't tried that. I always figured since the paper was going into the dirt anyway, it didn't matter what color, you can always make it prettier with tags or by cutting it into a fun shape if you're using it for a gift. The point is really the re-purposing of the paper. Glad you stopped by and tried this out!Delete
We are starting our wood and paper science kit next week. We always make paper at the end of the unit, but this project steps it up a notch! What a great idea for Mother's Day too! thank you! :) My 30 kindergartners will love this!ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you found it. This is an awesome project for Kindergarten because of all the motor skills used, it keeps those hands busy tearing paper and squishing pulp. You'll have a lot of fun. Thanks for stopping by!ReplyDelete