Craft Projects Straight from your Recycling Bin

by eco18

If there is one thing that my 3 ½ year old has always loved, it’s doing arts and crafts projects. An entire wall of our playroom is dedicated to his artwork. Lately, I’ve been looking for ways to reuse items we might ordinarily throw away and turn them into fun crafts for us to make together.

There are television stations dedicated to children and some have websites with sections dedicated to craft projects. My children love anything to do with music, so we made a guitar for my daughter and a DJ mix table for my son based on a Nick Jr. show, The Fresh Beat Band. For the guitar, we used an empty cereal box, a paper towel roll and some rubber bands. And, for the DJ turntables we used another cereal box, and some left over cardboard from a box of snacks. Nickelodeon offers an array of crafts for most of their shows and nearly all of the craft projects rely on reusing materials found around the house.  I really like the variety of crafts they offer—from musical instrument and school supplies to holiday decorations and puppets with puppet theatres.

The Disney Channel also has a wonderful section filled with craft ideas on their website.  There is one in particular that I’m really looking forward to doing with my children—a Mickey Tote Bag. As someone who makes quilts and does other sewing projects, I have plenty of fabric scraps that I will finally put to good use with this project, and my son will get the opportunity to practice his cutting and gluing skills. As a bonus, we’ll have a unique, reusable tote bag to take on our trip to Disney World this fall. Disney’s site has their craft projects broken down quite nicely—you can search by crafter’s age, character and holiday. Some of their projects use more than what you have around the house, but it’s pretty easy to improvise. If I don’t already have cardstock sitting around for a project, I simply use regular paper and glue it to a thin piece of cardboard (from some type of food box) and then cut it out. It adds a step, but my son doesn’t mind—in fact, he likes the opportunity to use more glue!

While looking for more craft ideas, I found one that puts to use the small broken pieces of crayons that are left over from hours spent coloring. Rather than simply tossing out those small crayon pieces you can transform them into an abstract art project. All you need are the crayons, a couple pieces of wax paper, a frame, a towel and an iron. When I do this project, I plan to give my children the task of finding the crayons and arranging them.

Here are some links to more ideas of what you can do with items that often find their way to the recycle bin (or trash depending on where you live):

–        Cereal Boxes

–        Milk Jugs

–        Laundry Detergent Containers

–        Paper Towel Rolls & Toilet Paper Rolls

–        Egg Cartons

–        Tissue Box

I hope you’ve gotten some good ideas for fun recycled crafts to do with your children. My recommendation is to start stocking up on materials now, and get your kids involved. We have a box in our basement that my kids have helped decorate where we keep our supplies. Whenever we finish a cereal box, roll of paper towels or toilet paper, my son takes them to the craft box for our next rainy (craft) day. Based on other projects we’ve done, we also keep scrap paper, fabric, rubber bands and lots of glue sticks in our box.

Happy crafting, and please be sure to share pictures of the crafts you do with your children. I would love to see them!

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