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Once a week we will be featuring a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. This week we found a fun and environmentally friendly activity that makes a great Mother's Day gift or activity to enjoy with your kids.

Upcycled shoe planter

Do you have some old shoes laying around that you don't wear anymore but just can't bear to throw away? Here's an idea that will help the environment and can be a gift your mom will cherish on Mother's Day–make sure you ask a parent first BEFORE you fill it with dirt! If you're a mom reading this, share this activity with your kids, or even try it together.


  • Old shoe or boot
  • Plastic bag
  • Hole puncher and/or screwdriver
  • Potting soil
  • Clothes pin or binder clip
  • Seeds
  • Water

Alamo Square Shoe Garden

Take the plastic bag and line the inside of the shoe or boot, cutting it so it is entirely inside the shoe. To prevent the bag from moving around, clip it on with clothes pins or binder clips. Poke holes in the sides and bottom of the shoes, through the plastic bag with a hole puncher and/or screwdriver (make sure you have a parent around to help or supervise poking the holes.) Overwatering can be a big problem, so remember to keep it well-drained. Fill the shoe with potting soil, all the way to the toe, leaving it about an inch from the top. (If your shoe has laces make sure they are tied, to hold in the soil.) Plant your seeds or seedlings and water.

For more information on this and other upcycling activities, go to Or, read about Alamo Square Foot Garden, pictured above to the right.

You can also check out Heifer’s lesson plans and classroom activities related to sustainability, recycling, etc., in the Classroom Resources section of our website.


Linda Meyers

Linda Meyers, an Arkansas transplant originally from St. Louis, Mo., started working at Heifer International in 2011. She enjoys dragging her three children on nature hikes and snapping photos of them and everything around her. She has a bachelor’s degree in English has been “in the process” of writing the great American novel for 24 years.