Recycle your paper bags into wrapping paper you won't want to give up. It's easy and fun. Just open up brown paper bags into large flat sheets. Trim uneven edges. Then try these techniques for creating colorful prints on your paper:

  • Gently dip a leaf into tempera or finger paint or brush with water colors. Press firmly on paper. Repeat to cover paper with prints. Use several leaves for more than one color.
  • Scatter small amounts of paint around the paper. Use drinking straws to blow the paint in different directions for bursts of color.

Turn junk mail into math with meaning. First, start saving your junk mail. (You might designate a basket or box just for junk mail.) Keep a count of the number of pieces you receive each day. (You could graph this.) Weigh a week's worth. Which do you think weighs more: junk mail or other mail? How could you find out? Sort junk mail by catalogs, store sale fliers, and other types  

Encourage the wildlife in your backyard. Build a simple birdfeeder. Cut windows in a milk carton. Make a bird-perch by poking a small stick into the carton just below each window. Thread twine through a hole at the top, fill with bird seed and hang from a tree branch. Keep a journal for describing birds who visit.