Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Water Garden at BBG, with rocks, and flowers on the banks of the flowing stream.
BBG’s Water Garden. Photo by Blanca Begert.
BBG Summer at Home
Dear Garden Friends, 

You’ve certainly noticed the summer heat lately and have surely cooled yourself off with a tall glass of water or a splash in a sprinkler! Today we are going to explore water. Water supports our health and growth and is also essential to the growth of our plants. A plant pulls water up through its xylem from the roots to the leaves. Water is essential to everything!
Let’s Cook: Muddled Fruit Popsicles
(All ages with adult supervision, 15 minutes + freeze time)
Ingredients for fruit popsicles: fruit, honey, limes, mint, and popsicle molds.
Raspberries, honey, and other ingredients in a blender.
Pouring the blended fruit into the popsicle molds.
Finished frozen fruit popsicles on a plate.
Photos by Ellen McCarthy.
2–3 cups fruit of choice (raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, etc.)
1½ cups water (or coconut water)
2–3 sprigs fresh mint
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
Popsicle molds or ice cube trays with popsicle sticks
Mixing bowl
Mortar and pestle or blender

Directions: Using a mortar and pestle or blender, squish all the fruit and mint together into a chunky paste. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the water, lime juice, and honey, whisking all ingredients together, then mix in the muddled fruit. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. If you don’t have popsicle molds, pour the mixture into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap or foil, then pierce with popsicle sticks or toothpicks so the sticks will stay in place while the popsicles freeze. Place the popsicles in the freezer for 6 hours or overnight. Enjoy on a hot day! 

Alternative: Place chunks of fruit in ice cube trays and fill the rest of the tray with water. Freeze the cubes overnight and add these colorful ice cubes to a glass of water or cold beverage. When they thaw, you’ll have a fruity treat to enjoy!
Let’s Craft: Nature Sailboats
(Ages 7–13, 20–30 minutes
Leaves, sticks, and pine needles on a table.
Sticks tied together with pine needles.
A leaf with a stick woven through the center.
Boat made of natural materials floating a pot filled with water.
Photos by Emily Carter.
The 2020 Summer Boat Regatta begins now! Using as many natural materials as possible, try to build a boat that not only stays afloat in water, but can traverse the natural elements of the body of water (pond, river, tub, or stream) that you race it in. Don’t forget to name your boat! 

Materials: Leaves, sticks, rocks, seedpods, flowers, stems, wood chips, twine, scissors

Directions: Take a walk in the park, around your neighborhood, on the beach, or wherever you might be able to access a bit of nature. Collect all the natural materials that you think could be transformed into a boat. Once you’ve gathered your materials, sketch out a plan for your boat design. Remember that the boat needs to stay afloat and be resilient enough to travel through unpredictable elements! When you have a design, start building. Try to use as few man-made items as possible. When you have a boat creation, test it in a body of water—does it float? Keep running trials until you think your boat is ready to race. 

When your boat is ready, take it to a nearby stream, brook, river, or puddle to race! If you do not have access to a body of water, fill a tub or large bucket with just a bit of water and set up an obstacle course within the tub.
Let’s Play: Drip, Drip, Drop!
(Ages 5 and up, 10–25 minutes) 
Children playing a water game with a sponge.
Photo by Emily Carter.
If you’ve ever spent a summer in the Children’s Garden, you’ve certainly played this game to cool off on a hot afternoon. Drip, Drip, Drop is very similar to Duck, Duck, Goose, but modified with water in order to escape the heat. 

Materials: Bowl or bucket of water, small cup or sponge, a few friends or family members (please refer to current social distancing recommendations when choosing to play with friends) 

Directions: Drip, Drip, Drop is very similar to Duck, Duck, Goose. This game is best played outdoors with a group of four or more people. All the players, except the first person who is It, sit in a circle. The It player fills a cup with water or soaks a sponge, then walks around the circle, dripping water on each player’s head and saying “drip” each time. It chooses one player to be the runner, and yells “drop!,” dramatically splashing the rest of the water onto the runner’s head. The soaked runner runs after the It player, trying to tag them before they can take their seat.
Water is precious, valuable, and essential to life. We try to remember this when we are watering the plants in the garden, taking a swim in the ocean, or making a cool pitcher of lemonade. Take some time to express gratitude for this ever-giving resource and to think about ways that you can be thoughtful with your water consumption. As always, share your projects and recipes with us.

Until next week! 

—BBG’s Children’s Education Team
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