Donna’s Day: Creative Family Fun

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Make a twig basket for spring plants

It’s spring! Here’s a fun family craft that gets you outside, with your eye on nature’s beauty for collecting and crafting a simple twig basket.
Head out into a park — or your own block or backyard — with your kids on a windy day or after a rainstorm, and collect the sticks and twigs you find here and there on the ground. You might think of this activity as nature’s game of “pick-up sticks.”

When you get home with your preschoolers and school-age kids, sort through the collection, and turn the straightest sticks that are a quarter-inch or so wide into a lovely, earthy basket that will hold an indoor plant or succulent in a 4-inch pot. The attractive natural container also might be handy to hold fresh fruit on your kitchen counter or table.

Here’s the stuff you need for a twig basket:

— 33 sticks, 7 inches long, about 1/4 inch thick (to cut sticks into equal lengths, score with scissors, then snap off excess. Trim any pointy ends with pruning shears)
— 1 18-inch-long thin, pliable stick for the handle
— Twine
— Nontoxic wood glue or a low-temp glue gun

Here’s the fun:
1) Construct the base
Arrange four sticks into a square on a newspaper-covered table or counter, with a 1-inch overlap at each corner. Dab nontoxic wood glue or glue from a glue gun at each corner.
Tie each corner with a 4-foot piece of twine. Knot it in the middle and let the long ends dangle.
To make the bottom of the basket, glue three twigs in a row 1 inch apart to the square base. Secure each twig to the base with a 1-foot twine piece. Trim excess.
2) Make the sides
Dab glue on the twine at each corner. Lay four sticks in a square, log-cabin style, then tie corners as before. Continue layering and tying until you’ve used all of the 7-inch sticks.
3) Make the handle
Bend the 18-inch stick to make a handle. Secure at opposite corners with glue and twine. Tie excess twine into a small bow.
Set your favorite growing plant inside.

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”


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