Children are fantastic when it comes to using their imagination. They’re also pretty great about the three Rs, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Put those two ideas together and your children will have a ton of fun. Here’s how to get them started.
Plastic Pop Bottles:
Butterflies- Grab a butterfly stencil, about four inches square for a large 2 liter bottle and 2 inches square for standard 12 oz bottles. Trace the butterfly onto the plastic and cut them out. Butterflies can be strung by piercing the center with a needle. Hang them outside for extra fun.
Ocean in a Bottle – This project works best with smaller 12 oz bottles. Fill half the bottle with clear non-toxic oil – like a light canola oil. Fill the remaining half with water. Add food coloring, glitter, small lightweight plastic items and confetti shaped like your child’s favorite animal or shape and recap tightly. Let your child play with them to their heart’s content.
Rainsticks are a fantastic and fun way to spend rainy afternoons indoors. Not that you’d want to conjure up more rain! Supplies include:
o Masking tape
o Paper towel tubes
o Tempera paint
o Elmer’s glue or other white craft glue
o Rice, lentils, or small beans
Paint the tubes first and allow to dry. Poke several very small holes, toothpick sized, into the tube. Cover one end of the tube with tape and place a small handful of rice or beans into the tube. Cover other end of the tube with tape and let them at it. Different materials, rice, beans, or lentils make different sounds. Encourage your children to make several and experiment with sounds.
There are a huge number of items around the house, items that normally end up in the garbage or the recycle bin that can be used to create an artistic masterpiece and hours of fun. Old egg cartons can be used to make tulips or bells. Tin foil can be washed and used to make picture frames. Old newspaper makes great paper mache, baby food jars are excellent containers for luminaries and snow globes. Tin cans make great planters for starting seeds just be sure to remove any sharp edges with a file.
Give your children the challenge to come up with ideas of their own. A paper grocery bag could become a suit of armor, a plastic bottle can become a wind sock or a piggy bank. They have amazing imaginations, creative thinking skills, and they’re truly the experts at recycling and reusing materials around them.