Big Ideas & Family Challenges: Painted Rocks

A great way to brighten things up for your neighbours is to decorate rocks and put them out where people can see them!

Gather some rocks from your yard or driveway.

Clean them off.

When they are clean and dry you are ready to paint!

Any craft paint will do. Use bright colours, and fun designs and words to decorate the rocks.

Once the paint dries, you can put them out where people can see them!

Big Ideas & Family Challenges: Peanut Butter Pine Cone Bird Feeder

The birds are back and singing their little hearts out. How about making them a little treat so they’ll want to hang out in your yard. Watching and listening to birds is a great way to spend an afternoon, not to mention that you can learn about different species along the way!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • pine cones
  • peanut butter (shortening or suet for households with nut allergies)
  • birdseed
  • string
  • scissors
  • butter knife or spatula
  • plates

1. Prepare your pine cones

  • Go on a walk to find some nice big pine cones. If your pine cones and tightly closed, let them sit out on a counter for a few days so they can “bloom”—or, bake them in a 300° oven for ten minutes to get them to open up.
  • Tie a string to the tip of the pine cone.

2. Add the peanut butter

  • Use a butter knife or spatula to cover the pine cone with peanut butter. Be sure to get it in all the cracks! Try to do this over a plate to contain the mess.

IS PEANUT BUTTER SAFE FOR BIRDS TO EAT? Peanut butter is a good high-protein food for birds, and they eat any of the same types humans do. If you’re buying it specifically for birds, look for natural or organic types with the fewest additives. It’s best to avoid low-fat varieties, which may not have as much nutritional value for the birds. (birdsandbloom.com)

3. Roll it in bird seed

  • Pour some birdseed onto a plate and roll the pine cone in it. The seed will stick to the peanut butter. Once your pine cone is covered, push the birdseed into the peanut butter and roll again. Get as much seed on it as you can.

4. Hang it up

  • Find branches that you can see from a window in your home and that are high enough off the ground that animals won’t try and steal the bird’s treat.
  • Enjoy watching the birds!

BONUS CHALLENGE: MAKE A BIRD TREE!

Give the birds a feast by decorating a whole tree for them. There are many treats you can make for them besides the pine cones.

  • Popcorn strings
  • Whole apples or apple slices
  • Peanut butter toast with raisins pressed into the peanut butter. (Try cutting the toast into shapes with cookie cutters before hanging)
  • Strings of cereal
  • Strings of cranberries

Have fun!

Big Ideas & Family Challenges: Tidy Your Neighbourhood

Spring is here and the snow has (mostly) melted, leaving behind a bit of a mess. This happens every year and is especially noticeable along the ditches on country roads.

Hopefully you’re taking time to get outside every day. Consider bringing along a trash bag on one of those days and taking a walk around your neighbourhood. Pick up the garbage you see and help make your neighbourhood and more pleasurable place for all who live there.

Make sure you wear gloves and wash up really well when you get back home. Don’t bring the garbage into your home. Leave it outside or in your garage in a sealed bag or bin with a lid until you can put it out to the curb on garbage day.

BONUS CHALLENGE: Consider creating a little thank you note to put on your trash bin on garbage day to let the essential sanitation workers know how much they are appreciated!

Big Ideas & Family Challenges: Stained Glass Easter Window

So many people are taking on the challenge of brightening the view for their neighbours with window decorations. Consider giving your neighbours and those out for a walk something new to look at by painting one of your windows to look like stained glass.

You will need:

  • Glass Cleaner
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paper Plate or Painter’s Pallet
  • Paint Brush

How to:

  1. Clean the glass and make sure it’s dry.
  2. With the painter’s tape, lay out a stained-glass pattern. Because it’s Easter this weekend you might consider putting a cross in the middle. (If you just want to do a free design, don’t worry about the tape.)
  3. Squeeze your paint out on a paper plate and then apply the colours as you desire.
  4. Let dry.
  5. Remove the tape. (Though you may like the look of the tape lines—in which case, leave them.)
  6. When you’re ready to remove it, acrylic paint will wash away with soap and water.

Alternatives:

  • Instead of painter’s tape you can use puffy paint to serve as lead lines – this will have an end result that looks more like real stained glass.
  • You can mix a little dish soap with your paint to make it a bit more transparent.

Have fun!

Big Ideas & Family Challenges: Spring Scavenger Hunt

Who else has been enjoying the sunshine?! It’s the perfect time to start looking for those happy signs of spring.

Pick a day during the next week to go for a walk and see how many of these things you can find. Keep track and let us know! What other signs of spring did you see that aren’t on the list?

  • New flowers starting to grow in the garden 🌷
  • Fresh buds on the trees 🍃
  • A lady bug 🐞
  • Easter decorations 🐰✝️
  • A mud puddle 🥾
  • Geese or ducks back from the south 🦆
  • A robin 🐦
  • Bees buzzing 🐝
  • A woodpecker knocking on a tree 🌳
  • Frogs singing 🐸🎶
  • A worm 🐛
  • Someone BBQing 🥩

HAVE FUN!