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Mealy apples, sprouted potatoes, and wilted celery, oh my! These may sound like candidates for the compost bin, but don’t toss them out just yet. Even if they aren’t fit for consumption, some fruits and veggies might be good for making prints! For younger children, this activity provides ample opportunity to practice color, fruit, and vegetable identification and hone their gross-motor skills. Older children may be interested to know that different foods come from different parts of the plant. Here is the recipe for a fun and educational activity that will foster creativity in children of all ages. 

 

Supply List: A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables; sharp knife; cutting board; large, washable stamp pads or tempera paint; paper or plastic plate; and paper

Set-up time: 5 – 10 minutes

Activity Time: 10 minutes – 45 minutes

Appropriate for Ages: 2 and up

Clean-up Time: 5 minutes

Select a variety of fruits and vegetables for different sizes, shapes, and textures or for the plant part we eat.

  • Carrot – root
  • Celery – stem
  • Potato – tuber (a fleshy underground  stem)
  • Brussels sprout, cabbage – leaves
  • Broccoli – flower
  • Orange, lemon, pepper, apple – fruit
  • Corn on the cob – seeds

Using a large kitchen knife and cutting surface, cut the fruit and vegetables different ways to get different effects during stamping. Celery is the most versatile; you can create rosette, crescent moons, and lines from celery. Most other fruits and vegetables can be cut lengthwise and crosswise.

  • Tip: Make the cut as flat as possible to provide an even printing surface.

Provide a flat working surface, such as a kitchen countertop or patio table. Put out the fruit and vegetable stamps, paper, and nontoxic and water-based stamp pads or plastic plates with a thin layer of tempera paint. Press the stamp into the stamp pad or paint, then firmly press the stamp onto the paper. Younger children may focus more on the tactile experience of stamping, while older children may create a more cohesive design. 

  • Tip: It may take a few attempts before the stamp is appropriately saturated.
  • Tip: Young children love to mix colors together, so put out one color at a time if you don’t want this to happen.

After your prints dry, grab your crayons and markers to embellish them. You can even use fruit and vegetable printing to make your own wrapping paper and cards.   


PHOTO: prints made from a lemon.

Lemon prints!

Make fruit and veggie prints at  Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden Drop-in Activities from July 20 to 26.

For details about other drop-in activities and more fun for the family, go to chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies.


©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Kids Get Crafty

Amy Wells —  May 21, 2013 — 1 Comment

My 3-year-old son and I have enjoyed many seasons of Little Diggers. We have learned new things together and have had  a lot of fun with the projects—but our favorite project so far this year was with insects. We got up close and personal with ants, butterflies, grasshoppers, and ladybugs. The instructor set up habitats in mesh containers where we could look at each group of insects with magnifying glasses and two-way viewers—the same tools real scientists use every day!

A friend investigating grasshoppers.

A friend investigating grasshoppers.

After looking at all the insects up close, we talked about all the different body parts an insect has, and why that makes an insect an insect and not a spider or another bug (even though they have a lot of the same body parts). All insects have three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), six legs, antennae, eyes—and sometimes wings! We remembered what the body parts were and where they go by building our own model insect. It was really easy—a fun and funny way to teach our little people about the different parts.

You can build your own model insect at home, too. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An egg carton—Cut into strips of three eggs-worth. You can get four insect bodies out of one egg carton, so you can explore and make more than one kind of insect.
  • Coffee filters—Cut these each into six pieces for wings. You can see how to cut them from the photo of our completed insect below.
  • Pipe cleaners—Cut these into 3-inch pieces for legs.
  • Craft supplies to decorate and color your insect—Use feathers, googly eyes, crayons, gems, and tacky glue. Insects come in all shapes and sizes from simple black ants to very colorful, shimmery beetles. Have fun creating!
PHOTO: egg carton, crayons, googly eyes, coffee filters, feathers, pipe cleaners and glue.

Use these materials to build your own insect.

As we built our insect and decided what it should look like, we talked about the different parts of our particular insect. We put antennae and one eye on the head, a feather and another eye on the thorax, and wings on the abdomen—and this was fine by me! While he was hesitant to put parts where they should go, he said “head,” “thorax,” and “abdomen” out loud as we built and talked about our insect. He was very proud of this final specimen.

Every class we go to uses different activities to explore a different theme. We’ve used play dough, enjoyed circle time with great books, gone on Garden walks, and let’s not forget our favorite activity, planting! (This time we planted some Mexican heather as part of the insect theme. Butterflies and bees love the nectar from the flowers of this plant.) We planted our heather at home and are waiting to see if we get visitors this summer.

PHOTO: a small boy potting up a plant.

A friend plants some Mexican heather to take home.

The finished egg carton insect.

Our finished project!

We can’t wait until the fall season of Little Diggers, but if you don’t want to wait, you can sign up for My First Camp for 3-year-olds, and enjoy more hands-on science, art, food, and gardening.


©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Summer camp seems far away, but Camp CBG registration is open early this year. Discover what makes these camps unique, with 75% of the time spent outdoors learning about the natural world. New this year are two-week camps for 6-9 year olds. Learn more at http://www.chicagobotanic.org/camp/summercamp.

Camp CBG Cooks!

Julie McCaffrey —  December 7, 2010 — 1 Comment

Green Sprouts “Garden Groceries” campers learn about the plants we eat, and how to make a delicious dessert with them. Camp CBG is hands-on fun for all, from harvesting to measuring out ingredients, preparing, baking, and the best part — eating! Visit chicagobotanic.org/camp to register for summer camps at the Garden. Registration opens January 10, 2011 at 9 a.m.

Chicago Botanic Garden camp instructor Aimee Frank discusses the fun and adventures kids experience during Spring Break Camp and Camp CBG. During Spring Break Camp (March 29-April 2) children ages 5-8 discover bulbs, look for birds and other wildlife, and learn about all aspects of nature at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Starting in mid-June, children can attend Camp CBG which provides exciting outdoor learning opportunities for kids ages 2-15.