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EnviroMom Green Birthday: DIY toy boats from corks and plastic lids

Cork-boat Where does the time go? My 'baby' is now five. We celebrated with five of her preschool buddies at a green birthday home party this weekend. We've been somewhat stingy in hosting parties for this child. Not that we don't love her. It's just that I really don't like entertaining, and um, well, she's the second child, and we treat her like a prisoner of war. There. I've said it. In our defense, we follow the Geneva Conventions. This year, we threw caution to the wind and let her have a real party.

It was our first summer birthday party (my other daughter was born in January). Being able to have it all outdoors was a blessing and curse. Darn this heat! While not nearly as insufferable as it was last week, where temps got into the 100s daily, we have edged down to the 90s, and while an improvement, it's still too darned hot. Sorry. I cannot stop complaining. I've tried. It just doesn't work.

We set up our teensy-weensy baby wading pool that we've had for 7 years, and made toy sailboats out of wine bottle corks, yogurt tub lids, and bamboo skewers. It was a fun and easy project, made with materials we easily had on hand. It allowed us to keep the kids in the cool shade of the wading pool, let them get wet, but not soaked. Having spent time at our local science museum last week beating the heat, it also made for some fun hands-on learning: what happens if you turn your sail? what happens if you pile some rocks on the boat? what happens if one little boy keeps crashing into everyone's boat and splashing too much? Hmmm. That puts us at about 5 minutes 'til crying time or beer o'clock. Take your pick. Since all these kids were preschool friends, I took the role of the parent helper and supervised the boat making project. Each child got to pick three wine corks, and write their name on one with an ink pen. They got to pick which yogurt tub lid to made into a sail. I glued the corks together with hot glue, cut the plastic lid into a triangular shape, and put in three slits for the bamboo skewer. If the kids wanted, they could help me thread the skewer through the plastic sail and poke it into the cork base. Then all they had to do was get their hands wet and float (or not) the boats!

Otherwise, it was business as usual following our green birthday protocol. No gifts. Lots of darling hand-made cards. Ice-cream pie. And a good time was (mostly) had by all. One minor head-clunk while dancing to Schoolhouse Rock on the back patio. Each child took home their cork boat.

How do you celebrate summertime green birthdays?

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