Millions and millions of children’s toys end up in landfills every year and consumers buy millions more to replace them. Many people simply toss their children’s old toys when they become broken or are no longer wanted because they simply don’t know what to do with them. It’s estimated that 13 million pounds of unwanted toys end up in our landfills each year. To reduce this number parents can give toys in good condition to thrift shops such as the Goodwill or box them up to send to children in other countries who don’t have toys to play with. But what about all the broken toys? How can environmentally conscious parents and children recycle them? The answer is simple, reuse or upcycle old, broken toys by making them into something useful. There are many ways old toys can be given new life by using just a little creativity.To help you get started here are ten of my favorite toys and how you can reuse them.
How To Reuse or Upcycle Old Broken Toys
There are several ways you can reuse old blocks. For small blocks cut shapes out of foam and hot glue to the block to use in children’s art projects as an ink or paint stamp. Larger blocks can be glued together with wood glue and painted or left plain to make cute bookends or abstract art sculptures.
If your child has a bunch of Lego’s they no longer play with instead of tossing them out use them to make colorful containers to hold items such as pencils, bills, and small trinkets.Just put the Lego’s together in a square or rectangular shape and hot glue a piece of cardboard to the bottom if you don’t have a large enough Lego base plate.
3. Game Pieces
Have a lot of extra game pieces? Hot glue a small magnetic strip on the back to make colorful and funky magnets to stick on your refrigerator. Very small game pieces can be hot glued to the top of a push pin to jazz up a bulletin board
4. Small Doll Accessories
Small dolls such as Polly Pocket’s and their accessories can be used to create a cute three dimensional greeting card. Just pick out the doll’s and accessories you want, fold a piece of card stock, write a cute saying and hot glue the doll’s and accessories on to illustrate your card.
5. Old Books
Just because a book has missing pages, is scribbled in or has lost its cover that’s no reason to toss it in the trash. To give old books new life cut out the pictures, cover with clear contact paper and apply a magnet or felt to the back and reuse to tell the story in a different way or just allow your children to use the the pictures to make up their own stories. If your children are too old to want to play with the new and improved books pictures you could donate them to a local preschool teacher to use during story telling time in her classroom.
If your child no longer plays with their marbles upcycle them by using the marbles to decorate a homemade garden stepping stone.To make your own stepping stone line a circular container with plastic wrap, pour in quick set cement that you have already mixed and place the marbles in the cement. Allow to dry completely and remove the cement from the container. Place the stepping stone in your garden and enjoy for years to come.
7. Game Boards
Most game boards are made out of a heavy duty cardboard and when cut into small squares and backed with felt or cork make excellent drink coasters that look great in a game room or den.
8. Small Plastic Toys
Every kid seems to have an abundance of small plastic toys such as animals, action figures, and cars that they no longer play with. Upcycle them by hot gluing them to the outside of children’s picture frames to turn the frames from plain and boring into something that’s colorful and decorative.
9. Toy Trucks
If your child has medium or large sized metal or plastic trucks that they no longer play with instead of tossing them out you can give them new life by filling the pack with soil and using as a whimsical planter for a house or outdoor plant.
Does your child have a lot of broken crayons that are too small to use for coloring? Instead of throwing them out make new rainbow colored crayons out of them by melting them down in the oven. To make simply peel the papers off of all the crayon bits. Next spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and place the crayon bits inside the holes in the muffin tins. To melt place in an oven at 350 degrees. Once the crayon have melted remove the tray from the oven and place in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Once completely cooled pop out the rainbow colored circles and use to color with.
These are just ten toys and examples of ways they can be reused or upcycled into new items instead of tossed in the garbage.By thinking outside of the box and using just a little imagination I am sure you can come up eco-friendly ways to reuse other types of broken and discarded toys. By re-purposing old toys whenever possible we can all reduce the amount of toys that end up in our landfills every year and that’s definitely good for the environment.
Brain Pop Jr