This is a simple project that will keep youngsters entertained, or even a simple adult such as myself. It's cheap, cheerful, requires little in the way of skill, and best of all - you get to grow something. Planting a little seed and watching it germinate and grow into something is surprisingly satisfying. Both of these projects use cress or grass for the growing component, as it practically impossible to not be able to grow these plants.
First of all, we're going to make jolly little eggheads. With the cress seeds planted on top of a layer of moistened cotton wool, cress will grow, providing the egg with a wacky hairdo.
Making an Egghead
- Chop the top straight off the egg, near the top, and rinse out the contents until it is clean.
- Pad the inside of the egg with cotton wool. This provides a dual purpose: the cress has a moisture retaining surface to grow on, and it strengthens the egg for the next step.
- Using felt-tip pens or poster paint, draw a funny face on your egg. Mad scientists and punk rockers work quite well, due to the style of hair the cress is going to produce, but let your imagination run wild.
- If you have decided to varnish your egg for extra strength, now is the time to do so.
- Fill the egg almost to the top with the cotton wool, then wet the wool, taking care not to dribble over the face design and ruin your artistic endeavors.
- Sprinkle the cress seed or mustard seed over the moist cotton wool, and place the egg into the egg cup.
Now, to get the hair growing, place your egghead in the dark, until the first shoots start to appear. Once the hair has started to sprout, move the egghead into a sunny spot like a window sill and watch it grow.
Grass men are a little more complicated, and require a little more looking after, as they require frequent watering. They're also uglier and meaner looking, which makes them ideal for slightly older kids.
Making a Grass head
- Take the pair of tights and cut a piece roughly 20cm long, which includes the foot section. The toes are going to be the top of the head.
- Sprinkle some compost into the tight, then a layer of grass seeds, then some more compost. The head should be about the size of your fist.
- Use the cotton to tie the tight shut to stop the compost and seeds escaping.
- Now it's time to add some extra details. Pull a lump of compost out, away from the rest, and tie compost around it to make a sticking out nose. Bonus points if you accidentally grab some grass seed and end up with nasal hair.
- Eyes and a mouth can be added in thick black marker pen or by sewing on large buttons.
Placed on a saucer and watered every other day, your grass head should do just fine, and can be kept indoors or out. They do tend to look a bit mean though - I think it's the bulging nose and the deep black eyes that seem to follow you around the room.