How to make a soda bottle garden:
You will need plastic bottles from your recycling bin, scissors, two rocks big enough to stop up the bottle opening, potting soil, plants, water, and four pipe cleaners or twine.
Kid task: remove the cap and rinse out the bottle.
Parent task: cut the bottle in half just below the label. The top of the bottle should be flipped upside down and nest in the bottom half. If you cut too far below the label, the top may be tippy.
Kid task: Place a stone in the bottle to block the opening and fill the bottle with potting soil leaving about two inches from the rim.
Parent task: Make a little divot in the soil and help the kid place the plant in, adding more soil around the base and gently pressing the soil.
Kid task: Water!
I found that the bottom of the deck railing was a great place to attach the bottles to with pipe cleaners because they gave him easy access for observation and watering. Notice that I bribed him with an Oreo to pose for this picture.
I brought them back inside because our nights are too cold for basil, and I discovered they were a little top heavy. A couple more rocks in the bottom did the trick!
This was a fun project for preschoolers, and although he was distracted by his life jacket buckles, he gave it his full attention once the plants became part of the fun. He told me his favorite part was the plants and the part he didn't like was when I told him he couldn't put his jade in one of these. Older kids could do more complex projects by involving various types of containers and building a frame to attach them too.