Is your kids’ room so overflowing with toys and gadgets that you worry they have more things than they can possibly use . . . and nothing that encourages them to play with other people?
As parents, grandparents, and other adults involved in kids’ lives, we may yearn for “the good old days,” when kids could — and did — entertain themselves with simple pleasures. If that describes you, then it’s time to get creative! It’s possible to capture the interest of even the most digitally-connected kid with household items — like avocados! — that can be turned into fun-for-the-whole-family diversions.
Grow an Avocado Tree
Once you’ve whipped up a big batch of kid-friendly guac, take the seeds and gather a few supplies: toothpicks, glass jars, and water. Watch our video and build your own avocado seed sprouting system! With a bit of indirect sunlight, patience, and time, you will soon have your very own avocado sprout to plant! While you’re working on this project, tell your kids where and how Avocados from Mexico are grown. Learning where their food comes from and how it’s produced will likely make them more aware and grateful for all the food they eat.
AVO TIP: Want to whip up a guacamole that your kids are sure to love? Chef Pati Jinich shares her kids’ favorite guac.
There are so many craft creations that can come from playing around with avocado pits. Pull out the paint and other supplies! If you want the kids to try their hand at carving avocado pits, make sure they’re fresh. The longer the pit is allowed to dry, the harder it will become, and the sharper the tools you use will need to be. Just remove the skin, maybe split the seed in half, and start creating designs.
Games Day and Night
You can use your decorating skills to fancy up avocado pits before using them to play any number of games. You can keep it simple with a game of checkers, or go all out to make your own chessboard. If you’re excited about getting the kids outside, break out the drill and make an avocado version of the ladder game! And if you’re lacking in the power tools department, you can put together just about any kind of ball toss with points and prizes for the winners.
Tie Dye T-shirts
One of the most interesting things you can do with avocado pits (and skins) is to use it as a natural dye. Surprisingly, rather than green, the color ranges somewhere from light pink to dark coral. The paler colors are fairly easy to achieve, just by boiling the skins and chopped seeds in water, then soaking your fabric for a few hours to a few days. Both the length of the soak,and the type of fabric you use will impact the final color.
If you want to get the very dark colors, the dye needs to be treated (with ammonia, so probably best for the grown-ups to handle this part) and then fermented for several days. If you want to play with color, there are several natural dyes you can whip up in the kitchen. What else do you have in your kitchen? Try yellow onion skins (rusty orange, or try mixing it with the avocado) or walnut shells (brown or black). While roots like turmeric and beets give off a beautiful color initially, they aren’t colorfast – use them for Easter eggs, but not t-shirts. Anything with a lot of tannins (think black tea) is ideal.
The Ornamental Avocado
If you have a lot of sparkly and festive craft supplies or household goods to play with, why not get the family in on making some holiday gifts? You can string painted avocado pits along with other dry flowers, seeds, pods, grains, fruits, and more, to make garlands (popcorn and rose hips are also good items to use) or decorative wind chimes. Look for some large bells to make this one perfect for the holiday.
If the kids would rather literally DIY and avoid family teamwork, they can each create their own unique ornament to hang on the family’s Christmas tree. Older kids can carve the pit, while younger kids should stick to string, stickers, glitter, or other small objects that can be stuck to the surface. If the pits are still moist, bake carved pits to dry them before finishing them off. You can varnish the pits to keep them looking natural, or rub on gold or silver leaf for a brilliant finish.
AVO TIP: Only had enough room in your stomach for half an avocado? Find out how to keep the other half fresh and delicious.