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Make an Easy Mini Rain Barrel – an activity for children of all ages. Using a rain barrel is a great way to take advantage of free water, especially if you live in an area where you experience droughts. It’s been found that one inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot of roof space can produce about 600 gallons of water! You can watch this video from PBS about why a rain barrel is important. Note: there are many places to show you how to make a large rain barrel, but these require a drill, spigots, washers, plumbing tape, etc. So, to make it easy for kids to make, we have adapted an activity from Reader’s Digest. It doesn’t hold as much water, but it is much more simple, making it more doable. If you have older children and would like to make a large rain barrel, check out this rain barrel DIY from Better Homes and Gardens. *Please be aware that in some cities, saving water in a rain barrel is prohibited, so we encourage you to check out your city’s regulations.
- food safe large container (such as an extra-large laundry soap dispenser, rinsed very well)
- sharp knife (adult supervision is highly recommended)
- landscape fabric
- scissors or razor blade to cut the landscape fabric
- duck tape
- cinder blocks, bricks, or other platform
- paint or other art supplies (optional)
- Paint or decorate your container as desired (optional).
- Sit the container on top of a cinder block, bricks, or other platform of your choice and place it directly under the rain gutter/downspout.
- Use a sharpie to draw a hole where the rain gutter will empty into your container.
- Cut a hole in the top the size and shape of your rain gutter.
- Cut a piece of landscaping fabric, place it over the hole, and secure it with duck tape. This will keep any mosquitoes and other insects or pests from getting into your water.
- Position the container on top of a platform directly under the downspout.
- Place the gutter end of the spout into the hole.
- Now, just wait for the rain to come and fill your rain barrel.
- Take pictures and tag #theabundantgarden on Instagram to share your fun and for an opportunity to be featured @theabundantgarden.
If you live in a colder climate, make sure to empty your barrel before it freezes and give it a good cleaning before storing it away from the winter, or throw it away and make a new one in time for spring.