How to Build a Sunflower House

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Our girls love having a secret spot. Sometimes that means making the kitchen table into a fort or turning the bunk beds into a make-shift tent. This past May our family studied plants.  We put together two raised gardens, created a window garden and, of course, we had to plant a sunflower house. Jennifer over at Let the Children Play posted a directional video for a sunflower house and wrote “Watch it and I dare you not to add it to your list.” I couldn’t resist it; now I double dog dare you to read this post and not add it to YOUR list.

The girls immediate took to their private space by adding a gate even before the flowers came in.  They would read in the fort, play dolls or sometimes just chit chat.  Despite the plants being only a foot tall they seemed to feel as if they were separated from the rest of the world.

The directions are quite simple:

  • Find a place which gets lots of sunshine.
  • Dig out the shape of your fort. We used a swimming pool as a guide. I happen to think circles are more fun than squares! Be sure to leave a small gap for an entrance.
  • Get a variety of sunflower seeds ranging in size and colors. The giant sunflowers are awesome, but it is really neat to have smaller sunflowers coming in to create a sense of privacy.
  • Plant & water as directed. We enjoyed documenting its progress with photos.
  • Watch it grow all summer, enjoy the variety of birds who feast on the seeds in the fall.
  • Let the kids safely sneak away into their own private world.

The project has been a source of joy the entire summer. Working in the dirt in the spring was therapeutic. I did get a lot of random looks from my neighbors though when we dug a circle in our front yard. Cest la vie. In the end, everyone came around with genuinely nice comments about the beauty of the sunflowers.

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 Sunflower House

It was a wonderful reason to slow down in the morning before heading off to summer school.  We’d check the height of the plants, take a photo, or just dance for a minute.

The girls dragged their slide over to the entrance to make the house a “kids only” zone.

The flowers are beautiful and I love to watch them shift in the sun.  I cannot wait for the birds to start coming for the seeds.  It will also be a blast to have the stalks start to fall in on each other this fall.  We did have a few bees this summer, but most of the time they were so high up in the 7 foot flowers that the girls didn’t mind.  We studied insects in July so it was a perfect tie in!

You and the kids will have a wonderful time.  Smiles guaranteed.  Click here for additional written directions.

Watch the video of our sunflower adventure here. I know it is long, but sometimes as a mom I just cannot edit out the excess. Each photo, each twirl, each phase is just precious to me. {winks} I know you understand!

*Let’s Lasso the Moon Tip: Did you like the cello music in the video? I instantly fell in love with Zoe Keating while listening to an interview on the podcast RadioLab. This song is the music of one cello that is looped and layered. Keep your own curiosity alive by subscribing to the podcast RadioLab. You won’t regret it. Once you subscribe let me know which specific episodes floor you!

NOTE: I do not recommend this activity if anyone in your family has an allergy to bees. However, just a quick FYI. We played in our fort all summer without any stings or issues!

{Photo Credit: Thank you to Marc Falardeau for making the beautiful sunflower in my letter a creative commons photo! Beautiful!}

 

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  • http://www.peanutblossom.com Tiffany | Peanut Blossom

    This project turned out so amazing. Your girls are so sweet with the sunflowers towering over them. I wonder if we could get away with growing something like this in our sterile corner of suburbia. Your video makes me want to try.

  • Zina

    Last summer we grew sunflowers in one of our raised gardens vs. the house format. It was equally as fun. There are so many different varieties you can plant. We had fun cutting them down and giving HUMONGOUS bouquets to neighbors, teachers, friends, etc.

    If you don’t have room for a full sunflower house I would recommend planting some near the side of your house where there is sun. You will notice in the last photo here a few “smaller” sunflowers that are still as tall as the girls. Still the giant sunflowers are the best to watch grow!

  • http://www.smallforbig.com Mari, Small for Big

    Hi there!
    I just found your blog, and since I’m also new to Montessori – I’m excited to see what you post next!
    I’m linking up to this lovely Sunflower house in my Friday round up, you can see the link here:
    http://smallforbig.com/2011/09/mini_toys_montessori_diy_sunflowers_playhouses_kids_books.html

    • Zina

      Mari, thank you for the nice compliments. I love how bloggers work together to spread interesting ideas. It is so empowering! Our family “fell into” Montessori on accident, but it has changed our lives. My mindset is different now with the way we run our house, the way we interact with our girls, the activities we chose to participate in… I am excited to continue to read your blog and see how your ideas can work with our family too!

  • Pingback: Mini Toys or Playhouses - Top Kids books - Montessori projects and DIY glue paint | Small for Big

  • amy (mamascout)

    beautiful! and thanks for the radio lab link!

  • Rainy Day Mum

    This is such a great idea – I’m having a growing green-fingered kids series on my blog and would love to link to this post in my one next week about planting sunflower seeds as something to do with them. I’ve also pinned to my gardening with kids board on pinterest and can’t wait till we have our garden sorted to try it out.

  • Roopa Shri

    We LOVE sunflowers…. What a great Idea and such lovely photos!! Love the video. Miss my huge garden back home in India. Hope to have our own gardening space when we move to a house from apartment:)

  • Sara Murray

    I feel just a slight pang that they have their backpacks on in the beginning and then again in the last scene. A season gone by. I don’t care how cliche’ it is; They really do grow up fast.

    • LetsLassotheMoon

      Sara, yes! A whole season from spring to fall. Oh thank you for pointing that out. Your comment made my heart smile and I don’t care how cliche that sounds either.

  • Growingajeweledrose

    WOW! I love this idea! How magical! I hope we can find a way to fit one of this in our small space.

  • http://www.pinsandprincesses.blogspot.com/ Taryn

    Hey there. I’ve been following your pins for a while, love your philosophy and ideas! I shared this sunflower fort on a post about our Spring Break plans, hope you don’t mind! http://pinsandprincesses.blogspot.com/2012/03/celebrating-spring-with-up.html

  • http://inspirationlaboratories.com/ Trisha

    I remember creating forts in the woods when I was a kid. I love the idea of creating one out of sunflowers!

    • LetsLassotheMoon

      We love building forts in the woods too. Although this summer one of my ladies got a deer tick in her hair and that freaked me out. Still, I let them Sally forth!

  • Anonymous

    What’s cuter? that the little blonde looks almost exactly like my own Megan, or that she is wearing the cutest 80′s shorts in one shot! Love the sunflower house, and will be planting our own this weekend!

    • LetsLassotheMoon

      I know summer to-do lists can get pushed aside. If you followed through I’d love to see images you have to share!

  • Donna

    I didn’t think the video was too long at all! I just loved the music and your baby girls twirling! What happy memories you are making! Thank you for sharing with us! :0)

    • LetsLassotheMoon

      Thanks Donna. I love Zoe Keating’s music too. Just lovely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.beviervian Linda Bevier-Vian

    I have one BIG problem, no real sunny areas in my fenced yars. adn I live in a trailer park. You don’t let am 19 to 24 month old play outside the fence. I sure wish I could do this.tho.

  • J.J.

    I would love to do this, as my daughter is always planting sunflowers in pots on the deck. But, if we did it in the yard I’m afraid the squirrels/bunnies would get them- any ideas on how to keep the critters away from the sunflowers??

    • LetsLassotheMoon

      Hmmmm. We didn’t have issues, but we do have two cats! So buy some cats. {winks} Perhaps starting the sunflowers in the house in a windowsill might help. :-)

  • Robyn Stewart Hansen

    I love your idea and your video! I am going to do this for my two granddaughters this spring! I have the perfect place for it too, where an old maple tree was removed in my backyard. Woohoo! Fun times ahead! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashley Moore

    How funny, I was just telling my husband the other day that we needed to make a sunflower tepee of some sort! I even picked up some seeds. Now for the rain to stop!

    • LetsLassotheMoon

      Ohhhhh. I love the tepee idea Ashley. {brilliant}

  • Sarah

    Beautiful! The music just melts my heart and your girls too. How amazing, feeling inspired to make a sunflower circle.

    • LetsLassotheMoon

      You’re too sweet Sarah.

  • Phil

    I did a nice maze/fort for my kids with sunflowers. First the seeds went in, then the plants came, then the flowers came, then the BEES came… hundreds and hundreds of bees. It was impressive – from a distance :)

    • LetsLassotheMoon

      Phil, we did have some bees. I definitely don’t recommend this project if your child has allergies! However, for us, the bees came really late in summer … when the sunflowers were very tall (5 feet). They sort of hovered up there in their world and the kids played below without incident. I suppose it might depend where you live as well.

      • Phil

        LOL I’m happy we have such a great bee population… maybe if I want the fort where we live, I’ll grow the single head giant ones and lop off the heads. (But of course put some great intact sunflowers somewhere else on the property :) )

      • Ren

        How do you cut the grass inside it??