Remember school and church fair competitions for children's sand saucer gardens? Let's bring them back.
Take a saucer or bowl and fill it with wet sand, then all manner of things are now poked or placed carefully in the sand.
Flowerheads, pebbles for a path, glass or foil as a miniature pond, small leaved greenery, sticks and seeds and so on.
Sometimes a sand garden can be made into pretty patterns, sometimes a face, garden scene or a farm. Bigger plates or shallow containers lend themselves to amazing creations, filling in many a creative hour for kids of all ages.
Here's 3 year old Jessie to show you how she likes to do it. First we went collecting and she wanted flowers for this arrangement. She lives on the third floor of an apartment block, so off we went...
Our long walk took us around many streets.
We knocked on one door to ask for a hibiscus flower; and other flowers we only took the odd straggler overhanging the footpath.
There were valuable lessons here... learning manners, repect for other's property, and how to value nature and only take what we needed... in fact not taking any if there were only a few.
Jessie also learned hands-on the names of plants and flowers. She knows many now and realises that different seasons mean different flowers.
Her favourite because it's like her name 'Jessamine,' was coming to an end, and our later sand gardens were more of bark, berries, leaves and stones.
Nearly finished, this is fun.
It took a lot of careful poking and placing, but isn't it beautiful.
Some months later and we're off again.
We have been collecting various bits of nature's treasures and now Jessie likes the idea of having a few of the beautiful sulphur-crested cockatoos' feathers. So we walked through the local Parramatta golf-club after hours and picked up some (gave them a good wash at home).
(The club caretaker is helpless in the face of these birds. They rip huge holes in the greens, swirl around in large groups squawking loudly, then land to demolish another bit of hallowed turf and perhaps a few bits of local wooden fence or balcony!)
Jessie's put in red-gum bark, leaves, berries, flowers, twigs and stones — and see the two feathers.
This goes in here.
I think that's looking perfect, no, maybe I might re-arrange it a bit more.
I love this piece of bark.
All finished and we brought them inside because the light was fading, and Nana took a photo of me.>
When I'm older I'll do more intricate patterns, like this stone garden.