Fun cane toppers

Activity

Use recycled materials or clay to make these fun bamboo cane toppers - perfect for preventing injuries while also adding some fun to the garden.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): PSHE, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Create and design objects using a variety of materials
  • Find uses for recycled materials in the garden
  • Understand the importance of safety in the garden

Preparation

Discuss with your group or children why cane toppers might be needed in the garden and what other uses the could have e.g. safety, decoration, holding up netting, acting as mini scarecrows.

Wash and dry any yoghurt pots, tin cans or drink bottles before you begin.

Equipment

  • Yogurt pots, small plastic bottles, tin cans or air drying clay
  • Permanent pens or paints
  • PVA glue (as a glaze if using paint)
  • Paint brushes
  • Decorations such as pipe cleaners, googly eyes, ribbons
  • Natural materials e.g. seeds and twigs
  • Scissors or sharp pencil

Step by step

Cane toppers have a very practical function but no one said they can't look fun too! 

This is a great all year round activity and a chance for young people to get creative. Let them come up with their own suggestions for materials to use or for the designs of their toppers. They'll really help to brighten up the garden.

Here are some suggestions for different types of topper but feel free to use your own!

Clay toppers:

  1. Take a golf ball sized amount of air drying clay and roll into a ball. Press onto the top of the cane to make a hole at the bottom of your clay ball - careful not to push it all the way through.
  2. Remove the cane for now and set aside.
  3. Sculpt the clay into any shape such as a vegetable, fruit or insect, adding in natural materials for antennae or spots. Leave to dry.
  4. Once dry, paint your design onto the topper.
  5. To weatherproof your topper, you could add a coat of PVA glue or other varnish over the top to seal.

Yogurt pot and bottle toppers:

  1. Decide on the theme for the topper - it could be a bee, a butterfly, an alien or an imaginary creature.
  2. Colour the topper with permanent pens or paint. If using paint, a mixture of poster paint and PVA glue (ratio 1:1) will help to make it waterproof.  
  3. Add on any decorations such as googly eyes, pipe cleaner antennae or any other recycled or natural materials. You may need scissors or a sharp pencil to make holes for adding things like pipe cleaners - make sure an adult does this part.
  4. Smaller pots may get blown off in the wind so you could stuff with newspaper or tin foil to help hold it on the cane.


Hints & tips

  • Cane toppers can be made from any recycled materials as long as they cover the tip of a cane to keep pupils safe. Other materials could include old tennis balls, ping pong balls or tin cans
  • You could use your toppers as labels to show which crops are growing below
  • Use this activity as part of Focus on Fruit class growing topic

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