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Here's a good idea from the Canadian site Home Envy: make hopscotch stepping stones. Detailed instructions are found at Home Envy, but this project basically involves decorating and numbering ten paving stones, then laying them out in the garden in a hopscotch fashion. It makes a fun little walkway in the garden that the kids (or the young at heart) can use for play.

To prepare the stones for painting, sand them smooth. Then there's the fun part: decorating them. Here you can give your creativity free reign. Flowers, bugs, and hand prints are all cute motifs. Mosaic designs are more difficult, but also a good suggestion. It's recommended that you use acrylic paint specifically designed for patio stones or concrete. Follow with a coat of acrylic sealer.

Once you've laid the stones out in the correct order, you'll need to carefully prepare the surface of the soil, using sand if necessary, to ensure the individual stones lay completely flat. Then pack soil or mulch around the stones to raise the whole area up to the same level. This will help prevent tripping and "ouchies." Let the whole thing dry and cure for a few days before trying it out.

I like these hopscotch stones because they involve both crafting and gardening. Plus, this project is something your kids can help to make and enjoy playing with later. Added bonus: it gets you and them out for some exercise in the fresh air. The down side: while unfinished paving stones are themselves very cheap, buying the requisite paints and other stuff could easily bump this project up into the $30-$40 zone (or higher!). Still, this idea sounds like hopping-good fun!



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