DIY: Celebrate Earth day by sprouting your own seeds

Around this time of the year, kids get to learn a lot about recycling, planting and trash clean up in celebration of Earth day. I think it’s important to let them know we must do these things all year around and Earth should be celebrated every day.

So, it doesn’t matter if you do this project on Earth day, this week or next month as long

as your kids experience the joys and wonders of watching their own seedlings emerge. Plus, they’ll get a little lesson on recycling and composting on top of it all!

You will need:

* An empty egg carton (the

molded pulp

ones, not plastic or


* Potting soil

* Seeds

* Plastic wrap or bag

* Pen or pecil

* Tooth picks and paper to make labels

Tip: to make the germination process a breeze, pick seeds that germinate easily such as beans, pees, carrots, squash, cucumber and pumpkins. Hard to start seeds might not even sprout and you’ll end up having a frustrated kid!

Get started:

1. Separate the bottom part from the lid of the egg carton. Take the bottom part and poke holes in each cell using the tip of a pen or pencil.

Those will be the drainage holes. Place the lid of the egg carton under the bottom part, nesting one under the other. Now you have your seedling tray.

2. Place small amounts of soil in each cell and plant the seeds making sure the seeds are lightly covered by soil (follow package directions)

3. Water each cell. Be mindful not to over water the seeds, a spray bottle comes in handy.

4. Use tooth picks and paper to make labels.

You can also use rocks or clothes pins to label the seeds.

5. Cover your tray with plastic wrap or a bag to create greenhouse conditions.

6. Place the tray by the window and watch your seeds grow! Keep soil watered and remove the plastic wrap when the first leaves appear.

7. When your plants have more than two leaves, separate each cell and plant it directly into the ground (or pot). The pulp that the egg carton is made of will decompose and become



Doing this project is a great way to teach kids about the importance of planting and re-planting, recycling and composting. Explain to them why we should plant trees, how you are recycling the egg carton and how it becomes plant food. Let them have fun while you guide them.

Make a photo journal, they’ll enjoy comparing the growth of the plants and making observations later on.

 I know I did when I was little and now I pass the experience on to my kids.

Natasha K.


Kidding Around With Starting Artists on July 17

This Saturday July 17, Starting Artists and The {NewNew} will join forces to bring you a kid focused shop-and-swap event under the red and white tent of the Brooklyn Indie Market. The event will feature vendors with kid-focused products such as Rosirouge and her original Hank Blanky patchwork quilts and vintage inspired toys, Playground Rockstar who dresses up kids in cool t-shirts, the whimsical birds and monsters of Purty Bird, and practical overalls of Overall Baby. Top it all off with Pickle Petunia's yummy treats.

You should also stop by and chat with our partners Starting Artists. Their mission is to bring hands-on arts and entrepreneurship training to middle and high-school students by providing afterschool and vacation programs. Students learn about a number of different disciplines such as printmaking, graphic design, animation, and crafts along with basic business skills associated with the arts. To find out more about their programs stop by their table at the Brooklyn Indie Market.

Oh, and don't forget to bring a book. There will be a children's book swap at the market. “Kids can learn the value of thrift and community by participating in the kids’ book swap,” said Kathy Malone, owner of Brooklyn Indie Market. “They can bring a book to trade, and go home with something cool and handmade too!”

The Brooklyn Indie Market is located under the red and white striped tent on Smith and Union Street, Carroll Gardens,Brooklyn


How to plan a child's tea party

This summer has been especially moist in NJ/NY and trips to the beach have been scarce, but there's a way you can take advantage of a few hours of sun and stay close to home. Throw the kiddies a backyard tea party--all the enjoyment of being outside, but close enough to home if bad weather threatens.

First thing's first: Figure out where to have your party. I live in a two family home but I'm lucky to have a small yard out back. Since we have very little shade I use my pop-up tent to keep the kiddies from getting sunburned. If you have trees, you can dress them up by hanging nettings or garlands. To dress up my tent, I added paper lanterns in bright colors like pink, turquoise, and purple.

Don't stop there with dressing things up. A brightly decorated table will invite everyone to sit and stay awhile. To save money on flowers and avoid pesky bees, make your own centerpiece. I made mine out of tissue paper flowers, but don't be afraid to be creative. A collection of brightly colored teapots or cups could set the mood. A glass cake pedestal filled with treats could also tempt little tummies and provide color.

Since we're talking about treats...what's on the menu? Typical tea fare consists of little sandwiches, scones, and tea. To save time, you can opt to order a finger sandwich platter from your local grocery store like I did or you can make your own finger sandwiches. Check out for some great ideas. Sweets don't have to be limited to scones. We had little store-bought cupcakes we decorated with ballerinas and fresh cut fruit.

And tea...the main component of the tea party. Brew your own: herbal, black, or green. Or buy it from the store. To beat the heat, make iced tea served in little tea cups. The kids will get the grown up feeling while drinking something that's refreshing. I found great little teacups that each guest was free to take home as a party favor.

No party would be complete without games or activities. For the little ladies, I laid out foam tiaras and stickers to decorate. Beads were available for making necklaces and bracelets, and paper dolls were colored, cut, and played with. Sidewalk chalk was available for games like hopscotch (boys can play skully) and of course there was pretend play with dolls and paper fans.

At the end of the day, each child enjoyed a new experience. They really got into the idea of playing grown up and we managed to enjoy the sun for a few hours before the clouds rolled in. The key to success with this type of party is to take the basic framework of a tea party and think outside of the box, making it fun and accessible to children of all ages.


Collective Elements