Guest Author - Angelica Arroyo
Even though Earth Day has come and gone, in the spirit of keeping that excitement for preserving the beauty of our earth alive, try making these mini versions of rain barrels with the kids.
Rain Barrels are often large 50 gallon or more containers, used to collect rain water outside of the home. This water can later be used to water plants, fill swimming pools, or any number of household and garden uses. Utilizing rain barrels conserves water and reduces the amount of stormwater runoff that can erode dirt and carry pollutants into the storm drain system. Consider a rain barrel for the outside of your home- but in the mean time, make a mini version you can begin using today! You will need:
1 large plastic coffee, creamer, or sugar container with lid
Mesh screen or mesh fabric such as tulle- enough to cover the opening of your container well
Directions: Begin with the most creative part of this project by painting the outside of the plastic container any color and design you wish. Discuss with your child the importance of water conservation and reducing our use of the earth’s resources. Discussing how the collected water will be used can help generate ideas of how to paint the container.
Once the container has been painted and the paint has dried, replace the plastic lid. Using a sharp knife, an adult will cut the center of the lid out, leaving approximately a one inch border around the sides of the lid. Remove the lid and place the mesh screen or fabric over the opening of the container so it is stretched over the sides. Replace the lid and trim excess screen. Secure the edges of the lid with enough waterproof tape to ensure a tight seal.
Place your mini rain barrel in a location where rain water can accumulate easily inside of it. This could be at the bottom of a downspout for example. The screen serves to keep mosquitoes and other bugs that prefer standing water out of your mini rain barrel. The dark color of the container will help reduce the amount of algae that may be tempted to grow inside of your mini rain barrel, but with the screen top allowing sunlight in, be sure to use your collected water often. The size of the mini rain barrel should be manageable for your little earth warriors to carry on their own. Simply tip and pour when you’re ready to use your water!