Need a stress reliever?
Great Project for both you and your children!
I always see mini zen gardens in the store, with all of their pretty rocks and soft sand and little rakes. I always wanted one, but didn’t want to pay the money to get a good one. I once got as a small Christmas gift – one from a dollar store, but it was not that exciting, lacking in sand and really small. Then my daughter and her girl scout troop had to work on their Junior Gardener Badge and one of the steps was to make a mini zen garden. I searched on the internet for pictures and I said – “We are so doing this!”
You can make your mini zen garden any size you want. I saw ones that were cereal bowl size that were lovely, but for Girl Scouts you have to go big and exciting. The containers I got for this project are about 8″ by 12″ and about 2″ deep. They are trays that were in the party supply section of the dollar store.
I wanted to make sure that the flowers and fake plants would stand up in the sand for the girls and not topple over while they were filling with sand or transporting home. I found flat circle foam at the dollar store in a package of two. Perfect for setting in the bottom of the tray and poking tooth picks in.
After you poke your chosen flowers into the Styrofoam, gently cover the foam and bottom of the tray with sand, until you get it even everywhere and can no longer see the piece of foam. We used play sand from the hardware store – cost about $3.00 and we have made a total of 9 zen gardens with it so far and have about half of it left.
I thought about using little bags of colored sand from the dollar store to completely cover the bottom of the trays – but I figured you would need at least 8 bags for each garden – way more expensive!
I decided instead to use colored sand as an accent for each mini zen garden. Instead of buying from the dollar store, I decided to use some that I had left over from an art show that I did where we made mini sand paintings. I did color my own sand for this show, but I will save that info for another diy post.
Next I accented my mini zen garden with colored gems from the dollar store. You could also use rocks that you find outside or buy a bag of rocks from a dollar store, as well.
Then came the dilemma of rakes. Super cute mini rakes made especially for mini zen gardens all over the internet for sale. But I was strapped for time and wouldn’t get them in time if I ordered online. Searched local stores and came up with nothing. Searched the internet for diy mini rakes and found only one picture that inspired me and that was quickly feasible. Using forks.
I had my husband bend forks for me so they looked more like rakes.
Well, this would not be enough for Girl Scouts – we had to have some bling!
We wrapped wire around our forks and added beads on as we went. Took me about 18 inches of wire for the one pictured. But each girl used longer pieces because they added bigger and more beads and did more wrapping.
Now I can rake away all my stress and worries and play with my mini zen garden whenever I want. I finally have one that is special to me and didn’t cost me a lot of money and I have a lot of sand to play in!
My oldest daughter is a Cadette in Girl Scouts – so for her part in this activity she decided she wanted to teach the other girls how to make the mini zen gardens. So while I was off working on another part of the badge with a group of girls – she worked with them making mini zen gardens. Here are the two she made while demonstrating.
My other daughter is a Junior in Girl Scouts and she enjoyed making her mini zen garden. She chose to add plastic animals to her mini zen garden…as did all of the other girls her age.
Have fun making a mini zen garden – whether it is for yourself or an activity for your kids!
I had fun making mine!