DIY Watering Can

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Cover courtesy Roost Books
“The Garden Classroom” by Cathy James offers a whole year of outdoor play and learning ideas—however big or small your garden.

The Garden Classroom(Roost Books, 2015) by Cathy James is packed with garden-based activities that promote science, math, reading, writing, imaginative play, and arts and crafts. Every garden offers children a rich, sensory playground, full of interesting things to discover and learn about. This project will have you saving your milk container to create a kid-friendly waterer.

Children love to water plants. Generally this is good news, and watering is a helpful chore the children can take on in the garden. Sometimes, though, overenthusiastic watering can be bad news — plants can become waterlogged and seedlings can rot away. Sometimes seedlings can be damaged in a deluge, and sometimes, especially in a class garden, you simply don’t have enough watering cans to go around. This DIY watering can with a rose head could be the ideal solution. Made from a plastic milk bottle or similar carton, it’s free and a great way to upcycle your junk into something practical. It’s easy to make and holds just the right amount of water, so it’s not too heavy for young children, and everyone can take a turn at watering without causing a flood.


  • 1-quart plastic milk or juice bottle with a lid
  • Craft knife or scissors


  1. Start by washing out your milk bottle. We use a quart-size bottle, which gives enough room to fill with a good amount of water without the bottle’s being too heavy.
  2. Use a knife or a pair of scissors to make small holes in the bottle’s lid. Give the knife a little wiggle to create a hole rather than a slit, to allow the water to come out freely. Always consider safety: this might be a job for an adult.
  3. Remove the bottle top to fill your new watering can with water, pop the lid back on, and you’re ready to go. The handle on the bottle makes it comfortable to hold, and if necessary, a gentle squeeze can help the water come out.

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FromThe Garden Classroomby Cathy James, © 2015 by Cathy James. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.