I have been making and teaching crafts to my kids for many years and love reusing and recycling stuff into new supplies or projects. It is a great way to teach our little ones that not everything needs to be brand new, just new to them. Adding stickers, paints or even just a new use for an old cup will make it new again. Try these simple ideas to make new craft supplies out of things that would end up in your recycle bins. (When you are done using your ‘new’ supplies, they can still be recycled later.)
Pencil, Crayon and Paintbrush Cup
Does your toddler love Gerber Graduates ‘Lil Crunchies? I know my toddler does and we always have an extra empty can on the counter. Here is a great way to reuse that can into a fun craft project your toddler can make with you. Take a sheet of 12×12 scrapbooking paper and measure around the can. For my can, the Target Brand version, (same size as the Gerber), I needed a 12″x 3 ¾” strip to wrap around the can. This was an inch too short, so I had to cut another strip 12″x1″ to cover the gap. Take your large strip and have your child use their glue stick on the perimeter of the cut out. Help them to adhere it to the can so it is nice and even. Press any air bubbles out and repeat with the smaller strip to cover the small gap. I used a busy design of scrapbooking paper to better hide any blemishes or inconsistencies.
Now it is time to decorate. Take out the glitter glue pens, the foam stickers and anything else your child really loves to create with (markers or crayons, etc) and have them design their own masterpiece. When it is complete, set it aside to dry. Have your child gather up all his or her paint brushes, crayons or markers, and place them in the can. Now they have their very cup to hold their own craft tools! If they get tired of their design, they can either make a new one, or just peel off the paper and start again.
If your child wants to make it a ‘treasure box’ instead of a cup, it is very simple. Just take the same scrapbook paper and cut a 3″ wide circle. Have your child glue it to the lid. Now you have a matching lid for their new treasure box.
Easy Paint Cups
Does your child like yogurt? Does he or she leave the tiny cups of Yoplait Kids or Yoplait Trix yogurt cups all over the kitchen because they cannot part with the cute characters on the cups? If so, then this next idea is perfect for you. Take all of those cups and assign them craft colors. The next time your child wants to paint, either finger paint or craft paint, they will have their very own reusable cups for each color. To get acrylic craft paint off of the cups, I suggest soaking them in warm soapy water. These cups are also great because they are small enough for little hands and small amounts of paint. Less mess and less waste make a happy Mommy or Daddy.
Easy Trinket Savers
Do you have a toddler that loves their little plastic containers of stage 2 foods? These containers are usually rectangular for Gerber, or round for generics from Target or Wal-Mart. (Click here for an example). These little containers are great for crafty Moms who use small supplies like sequins, glitter, buttons or even beads because these containers have plastic lids that come with it. It is like getting a free set of craft containers every time you feed your toddler!