Tomorrow I officially withdraw my son from public school and our homeschool journey begins…sort of. I have many activities and fun things planned for the summer that will be highly educational but we aren’t calling it “school”. One important facet of this will be crafting and creating but I admit we can get carried away consuming supplies so I want to emphasize recycled crafts and projects.
Many times parents marvel at the items children will choose to play with for amusement. From pots and pans to empty boxes children have been known to select these creative toy choices over the slicker mass produced and marketed toys costing many times more. I almost never have to recycle boxes because my son scoops them up and uses them in his art projects before I can blink. ;)
In this age of eco-friendly living, it’s perhaps time for more parents to engage children in the joy and spontaneity of crafting and playing with eco-friendly toys. Eco-friendly toys are ideally made of recyclable or reusable material and should not contain any toxic substances.
Here are some ideas for eco-friendly toys/projects you can create.
Small children love their little match box cars and other similar sized mini vehicles that they can push around the house. So why not recycle the available boxes at home and turn it into a racing track!
First start collecting those boxes. The next time you purchase a big item that comes encased in a big box – hold onto it! When the creative mood strikes you, unfold the carton box and pull out your markers. You and your child can then decorate the sides of the box with roadway lines and even other cars for more interest and fun. Then flatten your artwork out on the floor and rev up your engines!
Smaller boxes can be used to make small houses and decorated with paint, scrap paper, and popcycle sticks. Toilet paper rolls can be used to make turrets on a castle. When you have enough houses you can have a small town.
Organizing Can be Fun
It doesn’t take long to have an empty cereal box in a house with kids. Take that empty cereal box and ask your kids to turn them into magazine organizers. Tell your kids this is their opportunity to design some neat pieces for their room. They can then store their favorite books or magazines in a box that reflects their personality. Use wrapping paper or recycled homework to cover your cereal boxes.
Old Objects Can Make New Treasures
Do you have any old hardback books you plan to donate? Why not cut a section out of the middle to house secret treasures? It is something kids will cherish for a long time.
Old clothespins can be made into dolls with a bit of scrap fabric for clothes, some yarn for hair, a marker for the face, and some glue.
Make a kite with sticks, string, paper, and streamer.
A book I highly recommend is D.I.Y Kids. It encourages the design it yourself spirit of homemade arts and crafts. This important for instilling creativity and discouraging consumerism. The book is FULL of design concepts and artwork created by real children. It teaches them about binding their own books, sewing their own clothes, making dolls and toys, and many other cool projects. Each project has step by step instructions. Each project is also rated by difficulty, time, mess, and cost. Most of the projects are aimed at children ages 7-12. This book was a big inspiration to my two oldest kids.