What’s not to love about a Shrek-like sprout head? This DIY project connects young kids to plants and the magic of sprouting seeds.
In camps and youth classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden, we encourage little ones to get their hands dirty as they explore the natural world. We’ve got lots of ideas for projects you can do at home to get kids thinking about plants and how they grow.
Here’s how to make just one of our favorite projects.
*Vermiculite is a soil amendment that can be purchased at a garden supply store. It expands when soaked in water and stays moist, so it is ideal for this project. You can substitute regular soil or sawdust as the medium.
This project takes about 15 minutes to make and set up. When complete, it takes about a week to sprout and then can grow for a few weeks if you take care of it.
Use the same basic directions to make a sprout caterpillar. For this, add about 1½ cups of vermiculite and 2 tablespoons of grass seed to the stocking. Roll it into a log and then form small balls separated by rubber bands. You can add pipe cleaner antennas or legs if you like. The rest is the same.
This project gives our educators the chance to teach students about how both roots and leaves grow and work together for the plant.
For Garden programs, we purchase large bags of seeds and soil mixes, but local garden stores are likely to have smaller options.
The ball can be spherical as shown here or oblong, depending on what you prefer.
I put the knot in the back of this head and drew the mouth along the toe seam of the stocking.
I tied both ends of the stocking to form “ears” on this Shrek sprout head.