Amanda has homeschooled her four children for more than a decade.
Bring In the Spring!
When winter feels like it is dragging on too long, we can all become eager for spring. Round up the kids and try these fun projects to lift your spirits and add a little springtime to your home.
1. Make a Garden Collage
Plant and seed catalogues usually arrive in the mail in the fall and again around January. Cut out your favorite plants and flowers, and build a garden collage. My kids like to cut out birds and bugs to add to their garden as well. Print pictures of yourself and/or your children and add them to the garden. Hang these mini gardens on the wall to brighten your space and remind you that spring is just around the corner.
You will need:
- Catalogues and/or magazines
2. Feed the Birds
Even on the coldest winter days, my bird feeder is a busy place. Watching the fluttering activity out the window helps to liven up dreary days. Hearing the birds chattering away somehow makes it feel more like spring. I hung a bird feeder outside my bedroom window so that I am awakened by bird songs each morning. I have a second bird feeder that can be seen from the kitchen and dining room.
There are many winter projects you can do to attract birds to your home, such as:
- Feed the birds by hanging store-bought feeders.
- Build your own bird feeder or birdhouse.
- Participate in the Audubon Society’s backyard bird count. In February, people all over the world count the different species of birds at their feeder and report their findings. This data helps the Audubon Society keep track of species numbers and wintering habits. Participation is free.
- Make a special treat for the birds, like these peanut butter birdseed pine cones.
To make Peanut Butter Pine Cone Bird Treats, you will need:
- Pine cones
- String to hang the pine cones
- Peanut butter
- Plastic knives to spread the peanut butter
- Paper plates to contain the mess
- Plastic wrap (optional)
- Find pine cones. Look for ones that are dry and open.
- Attach a string hanger to the stem-end of the pine cone.
- Spread peanut butter all over the pine cone.
- Roll the peanut-butter-covered pine cone in birdseed.
- Hang in a tree outside.
- If you wish to store your pine cones for later, wrap them in plastic wrap. Wrapping them in plastic wrap is helpful because you can then press the birdseed into the pine cone so that it stays on better. Perhaps consider this step even if you plan to hang your cone outside right away. Wrapping in plastic wrap also makes it easier to transport the pine cones without seeds falling all over the place.
3. Pick a Dried or Evergreen Bouquet
If you don’t have too much snow, find a field or garden and pick a bouquet of dried grasses, flowers and twigs. Look for twigs with interesting bark, seedpods, or colorful winter berries. Decorate them with glitter and glue if you wish or leave them plain for a natural look. Add clippings from evergreen bushes and trees or make an evergreen bouquet without the dried plant material.
4. Do Some Indoor Gardening
House plants can green up your home and enliven your spirit. If you don’t have any house plants, winter may be a great time to get some. Shop for them at a local store, or ask friends if they have any starts to donate to your cause. If you already have house plants, now is a good time to do some indoor gardening. See if any of your plants need to be divided or moved to a bigger pot. Pick off dead, dried leaves. Dust your plants or give them a thorough cleaning in the shower. Leave them in the shower until they are done dripping.
We had a prolific spider plant that had many babies. We decided to pot the babies so that we could give them away as holiday gifts.
5. Grow Sprouts
If you don’t have room for house plants, consider growing sprouts. It only takes a few days to grow them and then you can eat them on sandwiches or in salads. Alfalfa sprouts are probably the easiest and quickest to grow. Look for organic alfalfa sprouting seed. Seeds made for sprouting have a guaranteed higher germination rate. This means that more of the seeds will sprout. If there are a bunch of seeds in the jar that do not sprout, they can mold and ruin the rest of the batch. You can do some research for more detailed instructions on growing sprouts.
6. Grow a Potato
Grow a potato or sweet potato plant by placing the potato in a glass of water on the windowsill. Use toothpicks to hold it up if necessary so that the top half of the potato is above the water line. Be sure to choose organic potatoes as non-organic ones may have been sprayed to prevent them from sprouting. If you have older potatoes that have begun to sprout, those are the best ones to use!
When your sweet potato has vines coming out the top that are at least four inches long, break them off and place them in a cup of water on the windowsill. Once they grow roots, you can plant them in soil. Transplant to the garden when it is warm enough and grow your own sweet potatoes. Do not break off regular potato plants. Instead, cut the potato into pieces so that each piece has a plant growing out of it. Plant the potato pieces outdoors once it is warm enough. You can pot them indoors first if spring is still a ways off.
7. Sprout a Bean
Have you ever done this science experiment?
- Place a wet paper towel in a Ziploc bag.
- Place a bean on the paper towel. Use staples to hold the bean in place, about halfway down from the top of the bag.
- Hang the bag on the fridge and watch the bean sprout begin to grow.
- When it has its first set of leaves, place the new bean plant in a pot of soil.
- Transplant to the garden when the weather warms.
8. Start an Herb Garden
Start growing herbs on your kitchen windowsill. Many different herb kits can be purchased online. You can grow parsley, basil, oregano, sage, and many others. When summer comes, you can move the plants outside or keep them in the kitchen year-round.
Winter Won't Last Forever
Being surrounded by spring projects helps us survive the last days of winter. We watch our plants grow each day and hope for warm weather so that we can move them to the garden. Garden collages brighten our home and remind us that the good things of summer are coming soon. I hope you enjoy making these projects as much as we did!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Amanda Buck
Amanda Buck (author) from Indiana on November 21, 2019:
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 21, 2019:
Great suggestions. We did many of these in the classroom when I was still teaching and the kids loved them. They did not miss their techie gadgets at all. thanks for sharing. Angels are headed your way this evening. ps