With the push to "go green" on everyone's minds it's important that parents help their children understand what it means to recycle. There is no better way to that than by using recycled materials in crafts. Remember when you were young and used empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make things with? There is no reason why you can't pass those creative ideas onto your children while being "green" at the same time.
There are a variety of other materials that could be added to your recycled material list. Consider keeping fabric and carpet scraps that could be used to create costumes or even curtains in a cardboard box playhouse. Magazines and aluminum foil make great decorations for a cardboard house and even old CDs that no longer work can be used to make wind chimes. There are plenty of crafts that can be done with recycled materials and they make great presents for family members.
If your children love to play outdoors and help around the garden, then you can help them create their own watering can. Save a milk jug with the cap and make sure it is very clean. Punch holes around the top of the jug with a nail and then let your child decorate the rest of the jug any way they want to. Then, once they have finished decorating it, fill the jug with water (but not so full that your child cannot carry it), put the lid on, and then let them water the garden to their little heart's content.
Do you have a child who is into sports? Then save up your water bottles and caps and create a miniature bowling lane for them. Fill the bottles about halfway with colored water and close the tops as tightly as possible. Set them up the way you would set up pins at a bowling alley in the hallway, on the sidewalk or your driveway, and have your child knock them down using a tennis ball or other type of playground ball. Keep score and watch them improve their hand and eye coordination at the same time. There are so many ways to use recycled materials for outdoor toys.
Children who want to give a family member a gift but have no way to do so can easily make something out of recycled material that will be cherished forever. A great gift is a vase that is made from a baby food jar or water bottle. If you are using a water bottle, you only need the bottom half of the bottle. Make sure you take the labels off of the bottle or jar before starting. Mix a Â¼ cup of white glue with 2 tablespoons of water and paint it onto a small area of the bottom of the bottle or jar. Attach a strip of color paper and repeat until it is completely covered.
Let your child experiment with the recyclable material you have hanging around the house. You may be surprised what their imagination can do with an old coffee can, egg carton, and fabric scraps when they add some colored markers and glue to it.
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