Recycle Sports Balls in the Garden

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You know those old sports balls in your shed, garage or at Goodwill? Well, start digging them out because they could have a second life in the garden!  Here are three ideas for upcyling some of those balls. All of these kid-friendly ideas are in my month-by-month gardening and activity book, Project Garden, so look in there for full instructions and more recycling projects.

Soccer Ball Birdhouse. First off, figure out how big you need to make the entrance hole. Then slowly use your tool of choice to cut a small hole into the middle of the soccer ball. Use a piece of wire (or even an old wire hanger) to loop through the top of the soccer ball. Hang and wait for visitors! (Keep in mind that you’ll need to clean out the house after nesting season. Or it might be good for just a single season.)

Golf ball Caterpillars. Take a few old golf balls and paint your favorite color. After they dry, glue together, gently curving the body around like a caterpillar would do. I like to glue my caterpillars onto a cork mat, which you can find at a craft or garden store. For the caterpillar antennas, I curled paperclips around a pencil. Then for the final step and to add a little personality, attach googly eyes or draw on your own with a permanent marker.

Basketball Planter. It seems like basketballs are always going flat or leaking, and then it’s difficult to patch and fix them. Here’s a way to give them a new life instead of throwing them out. Outline where you want the opening of your basketball to be. Then cut with scissors (it’s easier to make the shape along the ridges of the ball). Add drainage holes to the bottom of the basketball, and then fill with soil and plants.


Stacy is a gardener, birder, and naturalist, and the author of nearly 10 books, including The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book, The Secret Lives of Animals, Project Garden, and 101 Plants You Can't Kill.

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