Generally we think of recyclables as last week's newspapers and empty plastic bottles. But these simple everyday objects, and others, can be remade into new, useful crafts that can save you money and get your child thinking. The suggestions here will inspire you and your child to look around your home and find ordinary objects you can reinvent. Just let your imaginations run free as you tap into your creativity together — and do your part for the environment.
- Magnet Messages
Sets of magnetic words and letters are for sale in stores everywhere. But why buy a set when you can use some materials you already have to make your own?
Invite your child to cut out letters of various sizes from newspaper headlines or magazines. She can even cut out some full words or names if she likes. Using a glue stick, show your child how to adhere as many letters and words as possible to a magnet page. (Magnet sheets are available at office supply stores in multi-packs.) Next, carefully cut around each of the letters to create the individual magnets. Stick the magnets to the fridge and use them to playfully write messages to each other!
- Button Bands
Create custom ponytail holders using spare buttons and hair elastics. First, snip the hair elastic so that it is one long piece. Thread the elastic through the buttonholes and tie the ends in a secure knot. Get creative and tie a few buttons to one elastic, or use just one large button depending on what will fit around your child's ponytail. You can also purchase elastic thread from a craft store to create ponytail holders of different sizes.
- Re-created Crayons
Don't throw out those broken bits of crayon; use them to make new ones! Thoroughly coat an old muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Invite your child to distribute the broken crayon bits of various colors into the muffin cups. Place the tray out in the sun or in a low temperature oven and watch what happens. After the crayons cool completely, turn the pan upside down to remove the rejuvenated, multi-colored crayons.
- Funky Flower Vase
Science discovery, art, and fun combine when food coloring is used to add color to white flowers. Use a clear glass soda bottle or jelly jar for a vase, fill it with water, and add a few drops of food coloring. Insert the white flowers as you would normally (stems down).
Carnations work very well, but most any white flower will work. The color in the water will draw up into the petals, creating an interesting pattern. Invite your child to try out various food-coloring combinations to create custom-colored flowers.
- Inventive Envelope
Carefully open the sealed edges of an envelope and lay it flat on a page from an old magazine. Help your child hold the envelope in place as she traces its outline. Next, cut out the shape and fold it according to the original envelope's fold lines. Use tape to hold the edges in place, and you're ready to address your new, colorful envelope. If the magazine page is too dark for pen to show up, cut out a small piece of lighter colored paper and affix it to the front.