JACKSONVILE, Fla. – Happy Earth Day! This year while we shelter in place, it’s the perfect time for an educational craft for your kids to make the planet even more beautiful. In this craft you will recycle old paper and turn it into a wildflower seed bomb.
You’ll need: old paper (bonus points if you have blue and green paper, you can make your seed bomb look like the planet earth. Or you can add food coloring to regular paper and make a huge mess like I did and die you fingers and nails weird colors. You’ll need far more blue paper than green,) a bowl or two, water, a food processor, a jar or can (the wider the better,) screen or mesh (or your husbands dip net for bait) rubber bands, a wildflower mixed seed packet, and a cookie cutter or the ring from the top of a jar.
First- have your kids rip up the paper into small pieces. If you have green and blue paper and are going for the bonus points, keep the blue and green paper separate in the steps moving forward. Put the ripped up paper in a bowl and add water, soaking all of the pieces. Let them soak for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, cut your screen or mesh to fit over your jar or can with plenty of overwrap, so you can put a rubber band around it to secure the screen over the jar.
Once you paper is soaked, add the paper to your food processor. Thoroughly break down the paper, this takes longer than I though, I had to stop often and scrape down the sides to get it completely broken down. Talk with your kids about the fibers of the paper you can see, and how recycling of paper is done on the larger scale. Its during this process I added blue food coloring to my paper. HUGE mess! Cover the food processor with a paper towel while you run it if you do this.
If you have the blue and the green paper, once you finish with one color, scoop it out into a dry bowl, rinse your food processor and do the same with the remaining color.
Place your cookie cutter, or the ring top of the jar upside down on the screen. Take a small amount of the processed paper (blue paper if you are in the bonus round) and press it into the cookie cutter against the screen until you have a thin layer that fills the cookie cutter shape. Next dump some of the wildflower seed packet on top of that layer. Then add another layer of your processed (blue) paper to cover the seeds. Press down to compress the paper as much as possible.
Bonus points: now take your green paper and add it to the seed bomb, trying to make it look like the continents on the planet.
Take your seed bomb on the screen and the jar outside and let it sit in the sun for a few hours to dry out. After it is relative dry, carefully remove it from the screen and cookie cutter and lie it on several layers of paper towels. Put three more paper towels on top of it, followed by a couple of heavy books. Leave it that way overnight. The next morning it will be a hardened, compressed seed bomb. Your kids can plant the bomb and watch the flowers grow or send them to family and friends to plant.
As the fibers in your recycled paper break down in the moist soil, it will act like compost material and help your seeds grow.