Sunny Sunflower Inspiration

sunnysunflower1 It’s that time of year here at Raising Sparks when we are busy raising plants.  We always like to grow some sunflowers as they offer a great opportunity for Little Sparks to practice their measuring skills, although I’m not sure if over-eagerness and competitiveness makes for some gross over-estimates! Do make sure you buy giant seed varieties if you are growing sunflowers with children.

At the moment there is only about a foot of growth in  our collection of recycled containers where we have planted the seeds – we decorated popsicle sticks to label the pots which kept the Little Sparks busy for some time, but while we are waiting for our seedlings to grow here are some great sunflower inspired activities to be getting on with.

milk carton bird feeder 2 Make a milk carton bird feeder:

For this craft activity you need:

  • An empty, washed-out milk or fruit juice carton.
  • A stick for a perch.
  • String to hang your bird feeder up with.
  • Non-toxic paint
  • Glue
  • Pictures to decorate your carton with – we used pictures of sunflowers of course!
  • Corrugated cardboard for the roof.

What to do:

  • Tetra-pak cartons are quite tough to handle, so it is best if an adult makes the holes for the string, the perch and the opening using a craft knife.
  • Make a hole either side of the carton about 3cms of the way up from the bottom. This is for feeding the stick through to make a perch for the birds.
  • Make holes in the carton above the perch that are big enough for the birds to put their heads through.  This is smaller than you think, a hole of 3cm diameter is quite enough.  You can make your hole any shape you like.
  • Punch a hole through the top of the carton before you attach your roof.  You will find it too tough to punch a hole through both simultaneously.
  • Now paint and decorate your carton with your pictures.
  • Fold your corrugated cardboard in half and punch a hole in the middle just below the fold.  Align this with the punched hole in the carton and thread the string through.
  • Thread your stick through the holes to make the perch.
  • Finally fill your feeder with sunflower seeds and hang in the garden for the birds to come and feed.

sunflowerpotloaf Make Sunflower Pot Bread:

For this you will need:

  • 400g of strong bread flour. (You can mix white and wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • A sachet of easy blend yeast.
  • 250mls of warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g of sunflower seeds
  • Four terracotta plant pots 11cm  x 10cm  (Really well scrubbed and cleaned)
  • When you are ready to bake the oven needs to be pre-heated to 200c, 400f or Gas 6.

What to do:

  • Place your flour, yeast, salt and sugar into a bowl.  Make a hole in the centre.
  • Pour in the olive oil and water.
  • Mix together into a ball – it is probably best to use your hands, but it gets very sticky!
  • On a lightly floured surface knead your ball of dough for five to ten minutes.  This can be quite tiring, so an adult may have to help.
  • Make a dip in your dough and add half of the sunflower seeds and knead them into the dough.
  • Divide the dough into four balls and place one ball in each pot.  Cover the top of the pots with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise.
  • When your dough has doubled in size, remove the cling film and brush the tops with a little milk and scatter the rest of the sunflower seeds over the top.
  • Bake in the oven until golden on top.

For some interesting experiments using yeast why not visit Raising Agents At Raising Sparks.

Make a textured Van Gogh Sunflower Painting:

Find some pictures of Van Gogh’s sunflowers.  Observe how rich the colours are and the sense of texture you get from his paintings.  Make your own textured pictures using some of the techniques described in our post on Exploring Texture.  Make sure you use some sunflower seeds in your sunflower picture.

Van Gogh Sunflowers




{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stepford Sisters July 23, 2013 at 2:40 am

Such a cute bird feeder :) we featured it on our top five crafts for the birds on our blog here:


Mandy July 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Thanks for featuring us Stepford Sisters. What a great blog you have! I loved the idea for the icy winter wreath, we explored a similar activity as a means for helping kids celebrate the International Year of Forests, when we first launched Raising Sparks in 2011.


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