We installed the bottle bush at school this week and what a great week for it! So often our summer mornings in Seattle are overcast (a result of what's called marine inversion), but this week they started bright and sunny and stayed that way, the sun reflecting joyfully off the glass.
I started it off with only a few bottles on the branches and the rest arranged at its concrete roots. I figured that would be enough to get them going.
Like with the introduction of the cookie tree a couple weeks back, the kids more or less played with it as I'd hoped which is quite gratifying. Sadly, I didn't get any photos of the kids in action, but even the 2-year-olds seemed to understand that they needed to use care when handling glass bottles. Nothing was broken, although I suspect this was a close call:
And some of the bottles wandered away to be employed for some other purpose in the sand pit.
B.J. did begin calling it the "beer tree," which is fine by me, and the brown bottles were clearly not the most popular.
I really need to beef up our bottle and bud vase collection with some more variety. I still think an all blue or all red bottle bush would be spectacular!
The kids had to stand on step stools and chairs to reach the top branches. It took a lot of concentration to get those bottles on those sticks and still not fall.
This is how they left it at the end of the day:
There were no smashed bottles or heads which had been my main concerns, which tells me they're up to the task. As you might recall, however, I'd made a couple dozen tree part balancers to use in place of the bottles in anticipation of the worst case scenarios. I put away the bottles and tried them out yesterday.
I'd been far more confident about the balancers than the bottles, but of course, we all know what cockiness leads to when it comes to planning for young children.
There was a lot of this at first:
The younger kids really struggled with it and gave up quickly in favor of the cookie tree, which was also out. With a little practice, however, the 4-5 year olds were able to balance them on their fingers, noses, heads, the backs of chairs . . . In fact, what we discovered was that the most difficult place to balance them was on the bush branches! Dennis was even able to balance one atop another, but I didn't see any of them successfully balance one on a branch. Go figure.
Now that's more like it! (And after months of neglect, that little bird house really got itself in the middle of the action this week, didn't it?)