How to: recycled planters

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Step 1: Discuss the options before creating with your kids -- a cat planter? A planter shaped and painted like an alligator? Once you have all decided what your planter will become, you can plan in what ways you'll have to cut the bottle, and they can plan on how to paint it!

STEP 2: Clean and cut the plastic bottle. It's usually best to cut right below where the bottle label would have been. We advise adult supervision in the cutting process. Even with kid's safe scissors, the edges of the plastic can be sharp, and cutting with dull scissors can be difficult.

Step 3: Paint! Acrylic, washable paint is best for the kiddos. Encourage them to make something come to life on their planter -- whether it be an animal or a vision from their dreams.

Step 4: Before planting or continuing to decorate the planter, it is important to let the existing paint dry. In Yaxhachen, we used the hot Yucatán sun, but I'm positive that a blow dryer would come in handy as well.

Step 5: The kids really enjoyed adding extras like glitter and gluing on puff balls after their paint had dried. Perhaps your group will want to add googly eyes for their alligator or cat planter. We used super glue for the extras, and again this would be a good time to use adult supervision. Another option would be to use hot glue.

Step 6: After your planters are painted and dried, it's time to add the potting soil!

Step 7: In Yaxhachen, we planted seeds of chiles and other commonly used spices in Yucateco cooking. While planting whatever you decide, make sure to give them a quick little lesson on taking care of plants. Read them the care instructions on the back -- when to water, how much sun is needed, etc.

Step 8: Enjoy watching your plants grow in a crafty planter!