In the world of parenting, the clam shell paddling pool is ubiquitous. Filled with sand in the back garden, or with broken toys and old magazines on road-side clear-ups, they seem to be everywhere, and in every colour. But rather than throw your clam shell out, give it a new lease of life with these great ideas:
1) Salad garden
This is great for a clamshell that already has cracks in it and can no longer hold water. Place the shell in a sunny position and drill some more holes in the bottom of the clam. Fill it with good rich soil. Plant a selection of salad greens as seeds or seedlings and scatter a layer of mulch such as sugar cane mulch over the top and water well. Best to do in early spring, you can be eating salads from your own garden all summer long!
2) Paper pulp tray for handmade paper
Making your own paper is an ideal project for children. It involves water, tearing up paper, and the satisfaction of taking something and, after much fussing around, turning it back into itself! You will need a few things such as a mould and deckle and lots of scrap paper. A blender also makes this project much easier.
There are detailed paper making instructions here, but the basic principle is that you tear the paper into small pieces and soak it in warm water until it starts to soften and disintegrate. At this point you can blend it up into a very fine pulp in the blender. Once blended, it needs to go into a large container filled with water. The container needs to be large enough that you can scoop the mould and deckle in to get a good even layer of the pulp.
3) Frog pond
Children love tadpoles even more than they love clam shell paddling pools. Find a shady corner for your pond and dig the clam shell in to the ground to keep it level and stable (it only needs to be about 1/3 in the ground). To create a luxury frog resort, fill a clam shell with water, and arrange some large rocks so that the tadpoles can climb out when the time comes to turn into frogs (if they can’t climb out they will drown). Put a little bit of dirt and leaves in the bottom (the dirt will settle after a few hours) Add some water plants such as Water Celery and Vietnamese Mint and some Duckweed. The Water Celery is a water cleanser, the Vietnamese mint is delicious in rice paper rolls and the Duck Weed provides protection from the sun and predators. If you know where some tadpoles are you can just add them in or you can wait for some frogs to spawn. Frog spawn looks like the bubbles formed from dish-washing liquid.
An established frog pond with small tadpoles.
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