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While many think of gardening as a spring/summertime hobby, it is a year-round activity, as different fruits, vegetables, and flowers grow at other times. That said, gardens tend to be more colorful and robust in the warmer months, but there is a way to keep your outdoor space looking vibrant and lively during the colder months: Garden stepping stones.
You can always purchase stepping stones online or at your favorite store, but I think they are even better with your grandchildren’s unique touch, so I encourage you to try this activity with them today!
1. Gather your supplies
Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand, including:
- Quick-setting concrete mix
- A mold (you can purchase garden stone molds or use items like non-stick cake pans or pie tins)
- Water and a mixing bucket
- A stick or an old kitchen utensil for stirring
- Decorative items (think seashells, marbles, pebbles, or even their tiny handprints)
- Plastic gloves (for safety when handling the wet concrete)
- A dust mask (to avoid inhaling any dust from the concrete mix)
2. Set up your work area
Find a flat space outdoors where you can work without interruption. Lay down newspapers or plastic sheets to keep the area clean, and make sure to wear old clothes as this can be a messy (but fun!) activity.
3. Mix the concrete
Wearing your mask and gloves, follow the instructions on the concrete mix bag. Pour the dry mix into your bucket and add the recommended amount of water and then stir well until you have a thick, creamy consistency akin to brownie batter.
4. Pour the concrete
Slowly pour the concrete mix into your chosen mold, ensuring it’s spread evenly by tapping the sides of the mold or gently shaking it. (This will also help remove any air bubbles.)
5. Decorate away!
Now, for the fun part! Let your grandkids decorate the wet concrete with their chosen items, a la creating patterns with seashells, embedding their handprints, or writing a special message with pebbles. Let them get as creative as they like, as this is their time to really shine and personalize their stepping stone.
6. Let it dry
Once decorated, the stepping stone will need time to set. This usually takes at least 24 hours, but it can vary based on the concrete mix you’re using, so be sure to check the package instructions. Be sure to keep it in a place where it won’t be disturbed!
7. Remove from the mold
After the concrete has fully set, turn the mold upside down and gently tap it. The stepping stone should come out easily. If you’ve used a cake pan or pie tin, you might need to flex the sides a bit to help it along.
8. Find the perfect spot in the garden
Once the stepping stone is ready, let your grandkids choose the perfect spot in your garden to place it via a hidden nook, a central pathway, or even a special corner they love.
There you have it! Not only will these stepping stones add charm to your garden, but they’ll also serve as wonderful reminders of the times spent crafting with your beloved grandkids. Have fun, and let me know how it goes!