DIY Concrete Stepping Stones

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

Ever since volunteering at the art table during a Real School Gardens event, I’ve wanted to do this craft with Jason and Jenna. It’s messy, but the results are awesome and I love how these stepping stones look in our yard.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We started by letting the kids select their favorite materials from a huge batch of stones, beads, marbles, buttons, glass rocks and other leftover craft materials I had on hand. We didn’t use any Legos (because I didn’t think of that), but my son commented that we should use Legos next time … as if we don’t already step on enough Legos around here.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

Mixing the concrete is the hard part. We used Quikrete and mixed it into a bucket without wearing any gloves. FYI, I highly recommend using gloves if you’re going to mix the concrete by hand. Once the concrete was mixed, we poured it into shoe boxes and other similarly-sized boxes that we saved.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We let Jason and Jenna decorate the stones by pressing the materials they had selected into the wet concrete. You don’t need to press it in very far for it to stick, so this part isn’t messy and can be done without gloves.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

We let our stones dry overnight, but it seemed like they were fairly dry within a few hours. Once they were completely dry, we placed them in the yard and let the kids start stepping, jumping and running on them.

Easy tutorial for making decorative stepping stones with children.

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Frozen Castle

Great outdoor activity this summer: Make a Frozen castle with ice

Like every six-year-old girl at the moment, Jenna loves the movie Frozen. When I saw this ice sculpture idea recently, I knew we had to try it out.

It takes a bit of advance preparation, but it was well worth the effort. We started on Saturday by mixing water and food coloring to create different shades of blue, pink and purple – something that turned out to be great fun in itself. We poured the water into a variety of containers, added a sprinkle of glitter and placed the containers in the freezer to create a large batch of ice crystals – or, as Jenna calls them, fractals.

On Sunday, we took all of our ice outside and started stacking the pieces together to create a castle. We used a little bit of water to help the cubes stick together. It had rained most of the day and the temperature had cooled to the 70s, making this the perfect summer day for building an ice castle.

Great outdoor activity this summer: Make a Frozen castle with ice

 

Jenna’s Soup Kitchen

It turns out that creating an outdoor kitchen for Jenna was as simple as putting a couple of bowls, pots, spoons and shakers on a bench in the backyard. Despite the 100-plus degree temperatures, she and her sous-chef, Jason, were whipping up a pot of ice and stone soup in no time.

Jenna’s kitchen also gave a new purpose to an old water table that we’ve had in the backyard for a couple of years. The table isn’t used very often, but with the new kitchen set up, both Jenna and Jason played with it like it was a brand new toy. I love finding ways to repurpose existing toys, so I decided to take it a step further and make it look less old too. I used Krylon spray paint for plastics to cover the faded blue and yellow table in a very cheerful yellow color – an idea taken from this post about an awesome Cozy Coupe remake. Now Jenna’s kitchen is cute and functional.