Are you looking for a fun kids activity to do in the school holidays?
My girls love making stepping stones for our garden. We’ve made them a few times over the years, mostly when other kids come to stay. I used to do lead lighting (stained glass) and glass mosaics, so I have a lot of left over pieces of coloured glass. I also buy glass and plastic beads from the cheap shops or the major hardware houses. You could use tiles or even broken crockery to decorate yours. You can even use things like leaves to create unique patterns in the concrete after the leaf has disintegrated.
Step 1 – Create your fun design
I start out by lining the base of the mould with clear contact. I use the saucers from pot plants as my moulds, but you need to get ones that are fairly flat without raised bits as these will end up showing in the finished stepping stone. Put the mould onto the contact to trace around it before cutting it out. The kids can help with this.
I peel the backing off the contact and sit the clear contact in the mould with the sticky side facing up. I then choose bits of glass, beads or other objects to decorate my stepping stone with. The coloured glass beads work well, but they need to be fairly flat otherwise they won’t stick well to the concrete. I’ve tried using plastic animals, but these don’t work well. If they don’t have lots of surface area to actually stick to the clear contact, they end up coming loose when you pour in the concrete. The flatter the objects the better, as you’ll see them more easily on the finished product.
Don’t let the kids put the objects too close together and they shouldn’t overlap. Make sure that the side you want to see on your finished stepping stone is facing the bottom of the mould. Remember – the side that you can see in the bottom facing you will be covered in concrete by the time it is finished.
If you can cut glass you can even cut shapes from the glass to make a picture. I previously cut out frangipanis and even a green tree frog. They made beautiful gifts.
Step 2 – Reinforce your stepping stone
After your kids have had fun decorating their stepping stone and all of the objects are stuck to the contact it’s time to make it tough enough to step on. You need to cut some ‘reo’ (reinforced meshing) to go into the stepping stone to make it stronger. The size of your stepping stone will determine how much reo you need for this. I tend to do two bits in a cross in the smaller plant saucer moulds and 3-4 bits in each direction to form a crisscross pattern for the bigger plant saucers.
Step 3 – Pour the concrete
Now it’s time to mix up some quick set concrete. (Not sure how to mix concrete? Here’s how.) I usually make the stepping stones with other people around. It’s easier if you have two adults to do the mixing, pouring and putting the reo into the stepping stone, all while making sure the decorative glass, beads or tiles have not moved. Pour the concrete in carefully so the decorations don’t lift off the contact and begin to float. I pour a little bit and then put in the reo before filling the mould to the top.
Make sure you remove any air bubbles by shaking the mould gently. You may wish to smooth the top so it lays flat on the ground when the stepping stone is finished.
Step 4 – Finish and dry
You need to let the concrete dry a bit before removing it from the mould. This will depend on the type of concrete you used, so read the instructions on the bag. Tip the concrete out of the mould once it’s set enough. Peel back the clear contact and then use an old cloth to clean any residual concrete off the glass, beads or tiles before it is totally set. Finally, leave the stepping stone to fully set.
These stepping stones make great additions to your garden. You can even get the kids to put their initials into the back of them so they know who’s is who’s. This is particularly helpful in a few years’ time when no one can remember which one they did.
Now it’s your turn
This is such a fun kids activity. I hope you and your kids enjoy making stepping stones as much as we do. Please feel free to tag me in social media posts so that we can see your finished product. If you’re looking for another easy and fun kids activity, make sure you check out my post on tie dyeing.