We had a great time this weekend digging through the memory boxes for stones, shells and sea-things collected from our travels to make aquatic habitats for our new Marimo.
All you need is a glass container, filtered water, Marimo and decor. We chose to use pieces that we picked up at beaches, lakes and bays while traveling. Be sure to wash or boil your treasures before adding them to the habitat to make sure they are free of salt water and bacteria. It’s a good habit to do this with your shells and collectable items when you return home from a trip nonetheless- so they don’t smell or bring uninvited pests into your home. Rinse your Marimo balls, give them a good squeeze, roll them around in your hand a bit and them drop them in their new home.
Keep in mind that Marimo are alive. They need partial but not bright sunlight and every now and then it’s a good idea to freshen the water. You will notice that the Marimo rise to the surface and sink back down again, this is normal and a part of the fascination with having a living plant-ball in your habitat. If your Marimo never moves, then you may want to use a chopstick and roll it over every now and then to maintain its shape.
So what’s a Marimo? It looks like a tiny ball of moss, but in actuality it’s filamentous green lake algae that, at times, grows into fuzzy velvety looking balls. Read more about them here and watch this video to learn how to care for (and replicate) them.
And when making your own, keep in mind that a Marimo habitat would also make a great gift
Here’s the other one we made:
Don’t worry, no real animals were harmed in the making of this craft… only some plastic kids toys. Instead of wondering what to do with your old grimy kids toys, give them a good dish soap bath and then hack them in half for ‘Heads and Tails’ Animal Magnets. Plastic animal lovers (and personal friends) should close your eyes now, because the pictures in this post may very well disturb you (or reveal your holiday gifts).
Here are the steps, mostly in pictures.
You will need:
- Plastic animal or dinosaur toys if you have old kids toys, this is a great way to hold on to the childhood memories, otherwise take a trip to a yard sale or toy store
- Primer, spray paint (primer is important in order to get really bright metallic colors)
- Copper (or gold) spray paint
- Hack saw with a fine blade (you should have seen the guy at Home Depot look at me when I whipped out a moose and said I wanted to saw it in half, that was FUN)
- 1/2 inch, strong hold, small ceramic magnets
- Hot glue gun, or another strong adhesive glue
NOTE: If I were to do it again, I would have bought a vice grip for holding the toys while sawing. It would have been much easier and safer if I had.
Make sure to do all of your spray painting outdoors or in a well ventilated area. And wait for the paint to dry COMPLETELY before applying another layer.
I Love Them Sooooo Much!
When it’s time for some rainy-day after school fun, sit down at the table for another craft that doubles as an activity.
Using heavyweight paper, we outlined our designs in black ink then filled it in with watercolor. Starting with a flat piece of paper we designed the yard, fully equipped with toys and a bowl.
Draw a dog, paint, dry and then cut it out. Use another small strip of paper to construct a stand to prop your puppy up, and glue it into place. When everything is dry have fun with the kids setting up house and playing pretend. We brought out the Playmobile toys for added fun and hours of entertainment.