I was looking for a fun and easy craft project to make with my son that could be completed outside and with very little materials. I had made this garden chimes project years ago with a bunch of pre-teens, but it’s simple enough to do with preschool aged children. In the end we had a fun decoration for the yard and were able to enjoy spending time outside.
- Three small terracotta plant pots, all the same size or in decreasing sizes. (We used pots that were 1.5 inches high and 2.5 inches high.)
- 36 inches of jute twine
- small bell (optional)
- 2 or 3 plastic pony beads
- washable or acrylic paints
- paint brushes
Cover your table with paper to protect the surface. Give three plant pots to your child to paint. (Note: washable paint does not turn out very bright, but is kid safe. If you think your kids can handle regular acrylic paint, the results will be much more vibrant. We stuck with washable paints!)
Once the pots are dry, cut a length of jute twine about 36 inches long. A small bell can be tied to the end if desired, or just knot the end a few times around a plastic pony bead. Then, holding the smallest pot upside down, thread the twine through the hole in the pot, then thread on another bead. Hold up the next pot to the twine to see approximately where it would overlap the first pot slightly so that it will rattle against it and place a knot around the bead. Then thread the next pot onto the twine and repeat with the bead and knot for the final pot. Knot the twine as close as possible to the top pot so that it stays put. Tie a loop for hanging on the other end of the twine.
Experiment and add more pots to the chimes for a more dramatic effect or use increasingly larger pots to make a really big garden chime. If there are several kids in a family, each one can paint one pot and then string them together to have a family-created chimes or to give as a gift.
Terracotta pots are fairly fragile, so it is recommended that kids are supervised when handling them. Once the chimes are finished, hang them in a tree or on a porch out of reach if you are concerned that little ones might play roughly with them. My son loved playing with my example ones, and despite being fairly rough, they did not break. They will break easily if dropped, though.
You can find more crafts and adventures with a preschooler on Diane’s blog, Knitting Zeal.