by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.
A good Mother’s Day craft needs two simple ingredients to melt Mom’s heart: a child’s hand print and their handmade touch. This idea has both!
How to Make a Garden Stepping Stone
What You’ll Need:
A parent volunteer or two (Dads are ideal to keep Moms out of the loop!)
Quick-Dry Concrete (available at home improvement stores)
Large bucket or wheelbarrow
Garden shovel (for mixing)
Garden spade (for spreading)
Disposable foil pie plates (1 per child)
Small colorful glass or acrylic gems and stones (available at The School Box)
What You’ll Do:
- Schedule a couple dads to come help you with this class project. Take your class outside to a sidewalk area near the playground.
- Put those dads to work reading the directions on the concrete, adding the right amount of water, and dishing concrete into pie plates. The consistency should be smooth but still thick.
- Smooth the concrete into a pie plate. It’s easiest if you arrange for your class to play on the playground (supervised, of course) while you call 3-5 students at a time to make the project with your help on the adjacent sidewalk.
- Have the students press their hand prints into the concrete and then press the decorative stones around the print. The stones can be used to make a pattern, word, name, etc. (Tip: Having a hose nearby is handy for rinsing dirty hands! Also, if the hand prints aren’t showing up, allow the concrete to set for a minute and then try again.)
- Allow the concrete to set as long as possible before moving the pie plates. Then, move them to a newspaper-covered counter in your classroom to set overnight.
- The next day, your students will love popping their creations out of the pie plate molds. Keep pie plates, to use to carry stepping stones home. Allow a solid 24-48 hours of dry time on the newspaper-covered counter before they go home to Mom.
A final word: This project isn’t an easy one, but the results are super impressive. Moms absolutely love this lovely, child-made addition to their gardens!
Photo from About.com.