In my family, a week’s supply of groceries will frequently yield several used cardboard boxes. All of our family’s cereal, crackers, graham snacks and pasta are packaged in this un-renewable material. Because my area does not offer cardboard recycling, I try to find creative ways to integrate cardboard packaging into preschool crafts for my daughter. Consider making these homemade preschool crafts to reuse and up-cycle your cardboard boxes.
Use your cardboard packaging to make animal crafts with your toddler or preschooler. To do this, have your child cut out a head, legs, ears and a tail from the re-used cardboard package. Then use glue– or, better, brackets allowing flexible movement– to piece the animal together. Use paints or markers to color it.Over time, you and your child can have an entire menagerie of cardboard critters. Here are some ideas for creatures you can make.
-A horse (add stripes for a zebra)
-A deer (don’t forget antlers)
Re-use a cardboard package or shoebox to make a home, such as a barn or a zoo, to house all of your animals. Want even more excitement? Glue them onto re-used popsicle sticks to make earth-friendly puppet crafts.
Is your child a bookworm? Does she like writing her own stories? Re-use cardboard packaging to make a homemade book for your toddler. Using the cardboard package as a book-cover, write the title of the story in decorative text. You can also have your child decorate the cover with illustrations, shapes or magazine cut-outs.
Next, staple salvaged scrap paper, such as junk mail, between the two covers. Help your child author a story between the two covers, decorating each page as you go along. You can use this as a great opportunity to up-cycle your old magazines; use the cut-out photos to illustrate the story-book. Be sure to read the story a few times after it is complete!
Unoriginal as it is, an easy way to re-use cardboard packaging is to encourage your child to use it as a coloring page. Cut the cardboard package into square sheets and let your kid’s imagination run wild. Draw a dragon, a fairy, a house… the possibilities are limitless! You can also use it as a base material for making a collage. Use magazine cut-outs, stickers, construction paper and family photos to create a collage with any theme you desire.
There are dozens of ways to re-use cardboard packages in children’s crafts. Your child will soon be hurrying through his cereal boxes so that he’ll have a new art supply when the box is empty. Best of all, your kids’ crafts will help to salvage a waste material, helping to keep our planet green and clean.