Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Toad Abode

So, needless to say, I spend a lot of time in the garden.  And therefore, so do my kids.  My oldest is very interested in doing what mommy does and has her own garden (which at times has grown better than mine!). She takes the time to water it, enjoys harvesting and especially likes to make 'plant food' (compost and water) to keep her vegetables and flowers happy.  Bean is pretty focused and has the patience to wait for things to grow.  My little guy, on the other hand, is more happy to play with the worms, frogs and occasional caterpillars that frequent our garden.  Although he has his own garden spot, he'd rather dig in it than wait for something to grow.  After all, mommy already has all the green beans he'll need, right?
The challenge is that while Bean and I are diligently working, it happens on more than one occasion that Doodle gets his shovel in one of OUR gardens.  You can imagine how this scenario ends.  
It's really easy to find ways to be with my daughter in the garden.  It's harder to do so with my son, so I've been trying to find more things to create and make for him to be interested in.  While visiting the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum we learned about creating a habitat for toads in the garden (charmingly named a Toad Abode) and I snapped a photo to remember the project.
When I got home and wanted to start the project with the kids, I found a handy website that gives the basics on creating a Toad Abode like why it is needed and the best places to put it in your yard.  Then I rounded up the materials and we got to work.  Here's what you'll need:
*4 inch clay pot
*brushes and paint (we used latex, you can use tempera or acrylic but you should seal it afterwards with a clear poly)
*small saucer (either one that is sold with the pot or a random extra you might have hanging around)



Let the kids get painting!  








Once the paint is dry (and you have sealed the pot, if necessary) start looking for a damp spot in the yard to put your abode.  You'll also need a rock to prop up the edge of the pot so the toads can get in.  The kids can find dry leaves, twigs and sticks to put under the abode, to give the toads a cozy home.  Set it out and see what happens.  My kids have been checking theirs every day to see if anyone has moved in, they also sing to the toads to let them know there is a place for them.  I'm not sure if that is hurting or helping, but at least we are all outside enjoying nature.

Health and Happiness,
Cerissa