After designing craft projects for both Rosh Hashanah and Shemini Atzeret using upcycled plastic bottles, it seemed somehow wrong to not also use a bottle for the upcoming holiday of Tu BiShvat—the birthday of the trees. This “Jewish Earth Day” celebrates the beginning of spring in Israel when the sap begins to flow, and it’s often celebrated by planting trees. Although it’s too cold to plant trees here in Boston, this Tu BiShvat project offers another way to plant with your children and is a fun way to keep your family smiling through the dark days of winter.


  • Wheat-grass seed (also called “hard winter wheat seed” or “wheat berries”) or plants available online or in grocery/health food stores (you can also use regular grass seed or herbs)
  • Mason jar or bowl
  • Clean plastic bottle (I used a 1-liter size but you can use any size you’d like) and/or baby-food jar
  • X-Acto knife
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive googly eyes
  • Peel-and-stick colored foam
  • Organic soil
  • Spray bottle


  • Prepare your seed.
    • If using wheat-grass seed: Rinse seeds and soak overnight (8-12 hours) in a mason jar
      or bowl with two to three times as much cool water.
    • Drain and rinse. Soak overnight again.
    • If not yet sprouted, leave in a jar without water but covered with wet paper towels until
      you see small sprouts. Once sprouted, it’s ready to be used in the planter.
    • If using grass or other seed, follow the directions for suggested planting accordingly.
  • Use an X-Acto knife to puncture and cut your bottle to the desired height of your planter. (I cut mine about one-third of the way from the bottom.) Once cut, use scissors to trim and even the edges, if needed. Note: This step should only be done by an adult.
  • Decorate the bottle with googly eyes and cut the foam sheets into various shapes to create other parts of the face/body. (Our testers experimented with eyebrows, arms, legs, ears, “shoulder bones” and a “ninja crown.”) Get creative!
  • Add soil almost to the top and moisten with a spray bottle or light watering.
  • Add seeds in even dispersion—then talk to your kids about patience! The nice thing about wheat grass is that you’ll see growth in a few days, so while it’s not quite immediate, it’s relatively quick.
  • Keep your “grass head” in indirect sunlight, and water twice a day with a spray bottle to dampen the soil at the roots of the seeds.
  • Feel free to cut/style the “hair” after a week. The seeds will continue to grow two to three times after the first cutting.
  • Share your project with us! Email your photos to and we’ll post them on our Facebook page.

Special thanks to my project testers, Ilan and Yaara Sperber, and Eli and Vivian Herrick.