By Denise Morrison Yearian

Plant seeds for a memorable birthday bash or just celebrate spring! Here are several great garden party ideas to get you started.

BLOOMIN’ INVITATIONS

Create flowers from cardstock and include party details, along with a suggestion for the children to wear outdoor play clothes. Place in an envelope, along with flower seed packets.

TURFTOP TOMMY

Items needed: old pantyhose; ruler; scissors; rubber bands; potting soil; grass seed; small, flat plastic bowl with lid; permanent marker; straight pins.

Cut off approximately 5-1/2 inches from one foot section of a pair of pantyhose. Pour a little potting soil into the toe. Gather hose around the soil and wrap a rubber band around it to make a nose. To make the head, fill the stocking with about 1 inch of soil (nose should be positioned to the side of the head). Sprinkle grass seed on top of the soil and, without shifting it, add more soil on top of the grass seed until the head is proportionate to the nose. Gather the nylon opening and tie it off with another rubber band. Carefully turn the head over (tied off end will be at the back) and place in a shallow plastic bowl. Cut two small oval eyes from the lid, and use a permanent marker to draw in pupils. Attach the eyes to the head just above the nose with straight pin. When guests leave, tell them to add a little fresh water to the bowl daily. Within days, “hair” will begin to grow.

PRIZE PLANTER

Items needed: small terra cotta planters painted with bright colors; faux gemstones; glue guns (low setting); permanent marker; aluminum foil; small stones; potting soil; flowers.

Glue gemstones around the upper, outer rim of the planter. Around the lower section of the planter, write “My Garden of Delights!” Place aluminum foil around the outside of the planter to protect it from getting dirt. Place the stone over the planter’s interior hole to keep soil from leaking through during watering. Fill planter one-third full of potting soil. Place flowers in the center of the planter then cover the roots with potting soil, gently pressing around the plant to secure in place. Remove foil.

CRAZY CRITTERS

Items needed: cardboard egg cartons; tempera paint; tacky glue; wiggly eyes; miniature pompoms; hole punch; pipe cleaners; pencil.

Cut and trim egg cups from the carton bottom. Paint outsides of the cups with tempera paint. Glue two wiggly eyes and a pompom nose on one side. Let dry. Trim pipe cleaners to 4 inches. With a sharp pencil, punch three holes on opposite sides of each carton cup. Push pipe cleaners from the outside of one hole through the inside of the opposite hole, bending pipe cleaner ends to create legs. Poke two holes on top of the cup near the eyes and insert pipe cleaners to make antennae.

Other activity ideas: Have children create a mosaic design using various kinds of seeds, or create garden markers for plants by painting individual vegetable designs on flat stones.

FLOURISHING GAMES

Divide children into teams and play one or more of these relay games: “Water Down.” Use a small, plastic watering can to transfer water from one bucket to another. “Budding Bouquet.” Transport flowers one at a time from a bucket to a vase. “Can You Dig it?” Use child-sized shovels to move dirt from a pile to fill a bucket. Another fun idea is to give kids a magnifying glass and paper bag and have a nature treasure hunt.

DIRT DIGGIN’ TREAT

Items needed: Instant chocolate pudding; milk; whipped cream (in a tub); crushed Oreo cookies; gummy worms; serving cups, spoons.

You can prepare this fun treat or let the guests help. Prepare instant pudding according to box instructions. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes until it thickens. Add whipped cream and cookies. Transfer into serving cups. Add more crushed cookies on top of the pudding mixture. Garnish with gummy worms. Give children spoons and let them dig in!

Other food ideas include a veggie tray; cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches; veggie or fruit pizza; chocolate-dipped strawberries and fruit punch.

Denise Morrison Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children and six grandchildren.

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