Explore and Create with Nature at your 4-H Club Meetings
As the autumn temperatures continue to fall, and we fill our days and evenings with more time outside, many of us yearn to enjoy the natural beauties of the environment without the humidity, extreme heat, and summer insects. During the activity portion of each 4-H Club meeting is a great time to explore and create using the natural resources around us. The purpose of these nature projects is to develop an appreciation for our environment. Conservation can only truly take place once we have recognized the natural beauty and wonder that surrounds us. These projects are generally easy to do, and kids can work on them together if they wish. And, there are more challenging projects for the older 4-H youth.
The Gulf County 4-H Craft Club members recently made their own grapevine wreaths and decorated them in their own creative ways.
- ribbon and a variety of decorating supplies (pinecones, twigs, leaves, glitter, character cut-outs, floral decorations, miniature birds, etc.)
- hot glue and glue gun
- pipe cleaners (to make a hook for hanging)
1. Be sure to begin by finding a large location that can get dirty. The vines drop lots of debris. Find an abundance of firm, but bendable grape vines, gathering and untangling the vine pieces. When they have been tamed into a bundle (thickness is based on individual preference) that is manageable, form the vine into a circular shape on a large surface. Using a few thick strands of vine, begin to wind around the bundle, tucking the end of the vine in. (Note: if natural vines are not available, premade wreaths may be purchased at any craft store at a minimal cost.)
2. Continue to wind and secure the entire wreath. When the end meets the beginning, knit the vine ends together and continue to wind the outer vines to secure, overlapping the starting point. Tuck in any loose ends.
3. Set the wreath somewhere to dry and take shape. Preferably in a warm, sunny location. They will dry much faster this way. (If the kids will be making their own vine wreaths, and not using a pre-purchased one from a craft store, the wreath will need to be made days ahead of the decorating to give it time to dry properly.)
4. Now, it’s time to decorate. Let the kids be imaginative and create their own unique wreath to match their likes and personality. They can experiment by placing the items in different locations on the wreath. Once their decorating decisions are made use the hot glue to secure the items, ribbons, etc.
5. Do not forget to form a loop with a short piece of pipe cleaner to make a hook on the back of the wreath to hang it from.
Now, the wreaths can be taken home and enjoyed by all. Be sure to remember that time spent in nature is calming and refreshing to the human mind. So, as the weather becomes more tolerable here in Florida be sure to take time for yourself and to show youth the importance of natural exploration and creativity.