Tomorrow, May 1, is May Day. Traditionally, people give flowers to neighbors, friends, etc. and dance around the maypole, weaving an amazing ribbon “net” around the pole. I’ve always thought it would be cool to do this, but having only three kids doesn’t lend itself to that. Not that I want more kids. So don’t drop yours off at my doorstep.
Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to do it and have a nifty little May Day party, but this year has been too hectic, with Spring Break vacation, a birthday party, and First Communion in the last three weeks. Then next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, so I’m taking a breather this week! Shameful, I know.
The boys and I did make a cool little craft that I’ve been mulling over for awhile. Earth Day fell on the same weekend as the birthday party, so we kind of skipped it this year. These plantable wildflower shapes would have worked for it, but they’re also great for May Day or for Teacher Appreciation.
In hindsight (or for next year), we’ll make them using shredded tissue for a prettier color. We used shredded newspaper this time, which worked great, but made gray butterflies. They do look very “earth-friendly,” though.
After running the newspaper through the paper shredder (with adult supervision, of course!), we put a couple of large handfuls in a big plastic bowl and added enough water to really moisten it. We used almost 2 cups of water for a giant bowl. By the way, do this in a bowl you’re not attached to…trust me. Then the boys squished it and squashed it until it was pulp-ish. At that point, we stirred in some wildflower seeds…a heavy sprinkling.
We squeezed out most of the water and packed it into a butterfly cookie cutter (also not a family heirloom). See how nasty that finger looks from the printers’ ink? I was glad I was taking photos and didn’t have to make my fingers look like that. Also glad that this hooligan had made his First Communion the day before this craft!
The cookie cutters and bowls are stained quite badly, even after trying Barkeeper’s Friend on them. So you’ve been warned. The hands were okay after many handwashings and a shower.
When all the paper was used up, we had 12 shapes, some butterflies (pretty cute) and some tulips (not at all recognizable as such). We sprinkled more seeds on top and set them in the laundry room to dry. It takes a couple of days. You don’t want your paper to be so wet that it takes too long to dry and the seeds begin to sprout.
After they dried, we put them in tins (from the craft store) as seen in the first photo. We embellished the lid with a label I made in Photoshop and some bakers’ twine. Oh, and I glued the instructions for the seed pods inside the lid. All the recipients have to do is dig a shallow hole, drop in a pod, and cover with about 1/4” of dirt. Or they can break the pod apart and scatter it. The newspaper does provide a bit of fertilizer, according the info I read online. No, not on Wikipedia.
The boys really enjoyed this and are pretty proud that they made gifts for their teachers. It wasn’t messy to clean up, either!
Happy May Day…perhaps you could celebrate by buying a neighbor (or yourself!) some flowers!
By the way, I'm linking this over at Skip to My Lou for Made by You Monday, if you'd like to check out it and other amazing ideas!