By Maggie Wilkinson
It’s always useful to have a little project up your sleeve for when the little ones come to visit and need some relaxing indoor entertainment in your retirement flat.
Children love to do creative things, so here’s something to do on a rainy day from the comfort of your lifestyle village, without making too much mess in your lovely apartment – meet Cressida the cress head and her friends!
Children as young as four can enjoy this project, stick-on eyes can be fun, and older children love to get creative with the detailing and character of the faces…
To make this project, it’s good to get the preparation done ahead of time so the kids can get stuck in straight away and everything is to hand.
- Save some eggshells, and when you crack them open, cut as neatly as you can close to the top or the bottom of the egg. Your choice will influence the shape of the final face. Wash them and let them dry out.
- An ordinary pencil for each child and coloured pencils, or fine liner pens, felt tips; an assortment provides choice.
- Some plastic sheeting or newspaper to protect your work surface
- A small bowl of compost
- A packet of cress seeds and a small saucer
- A teaspoon for each child
- An egg cup for each “Cress head”
- A square of kitchen roll for each, or scraps of fabric
- Water to moisten the compost.
- Egg boxes if taking home
Get each child to draw a face on their eggshell. It’s companionable to work alongside, as it gets them going and gives them confidence.
When they’re happy with the features, and have doodled a bit of hair maybe, let them colour in with the pencils, or whatever they choose.
When the colouring is dry, put half an inch of water into the shell, and show them how to nearly fill it with compost, using a teaspoon.
Show them how to drip water in slowly, so the compost doesn’t spill out, then firm it in carefully so as not to break the shell or spoil the art work.
Get the kids to open the cress packet and tip the seeds onto the saucer.
Show them how to sprinkle the seeds onto the soil virtually covering it for a thick head of hair!
Tap another teaspoon of compost to cover the seeds, and drip on more water.
Fold the kitchen paper or scrap of fabric into four and tuck it into the egg cup to make a decorative neckerchief.
Park the eggshell into the egg cup, or if they are going to take them home, place them into an empty egg box for transport.
The cress will need a careful water each day, and after four or five days on a sunny windowsill, the cress “hair” will start to grow, and the longer it gets, the more characterful and quirky the head will be.
It’s good to use real soil because it teaches them about seeds, growing food and when it comes to hair cut time, there’s another opportunity for a secondary activity…lunch!
How about boiling some fresh eggs to mash with a bit of mayo, and an egg and cress sandwich could be on the menu!