School or Teacher Year End Gift ~ Rain Barrel

Wow did I ever stumble onto some magic yesterday.  Our preschool decided to give the school a rain barrel as the year end gift for the school.  Well – it’s turned out to be the best project ever and this idea could easily double as a gift for grandparents, father’s day, gift for a school or teacher because it has nothing but positive elements.  I love giving practical, Eco-friendly, educational, affordable, and naturally beautiful presents and this project was all of these as the finished product is amazing. 

Did you know that many city municipalities in North America subsidize composters or rain barrels?  I contacted the Parks and Environment Division at the local city office and purchased a huge rain barrel with the down spout converter and tap kit for $40.  The city pays $50 for them and then subsidizes a percentage of the cost to make them so affordable.  Best of all, the material our rain barrel was made from is recycled food containers. 

So being the outgoing, graduating class from our preschool the gift was this rain barrel but the magic started happening when the painting and personalization of the barrel started.  I could hear Jackie, our very patient coordinator for this project, telling the children that the barrel would collect rain water for everyone to water the garden at preschool ~ all while helping each child paint their hands and fingerprints to personalize the barrel with the garden/flower/bug theme. This turned into a perfect eco-activity to educate children on the importance of water conservation, reusing, and helping the environment.

I’m so glad we took before and after pictures of the barrel.  To personalize, the children painted their hands and fingers to leave prints that Jackie turned into magical butterflies, flowers, bugs and the end product is gorgeous!  It started out as a very plain blue barrel and now it’s something decorative and functional for a school to water their garden.  Even if you just purchased the barrel and just put hand prints of all your children it would make a wonderful Father’s Day gift ~ all for under $50.  Use paints that will stand up against wet weather and you are good to go!

Here are the before and after pictures of our barrel.  I hope they inspire you.

Before:

During:

Note: Jackie gasping in awe of perfect handprints!

After:

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One Response to School or Teacher Year End Gift ~ Rain Barrel

  1. Calley June 12, 2009 at 4:46 am #

    What an awesome idea! I actually tried to get my sons school a rain barrel for their garden this year, I wasn’t successful. But the story ended well though, they were given one by a State grant and her class got to use it. BUT I LOVE HOW YOUR KIDS PAINTED THIS ONE! What a great thing for them to do!

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