Imagination is a gift that every child receives at birth. Some children connect with it more easily than others, but every child has it.
It is the inspiration that may one day create a great work of art, an award winning design or a best selling novel.
As parents, it is up to us to germinate that seed of creativity and provide direction. When it is a rainy day, and kids are stuck indoors, an opportunity is provided for them create, while learning the value of reusing, recycling and repurposing.
Here are a few ideas for kids to have fun and be creative while learning the value of green living:
Collect any round glass bottles used for sauces, beverages or any other product. Provide the kids with rainbow colored string and some craft glue. Have them cover the first inch from the bottom with glue.
As they tightly wrap the string to the bottle, have them continue to add glue until the string reaches the top. Finish off the neck with a piece of felt, cut to fit around the neck. You now have a beautiful and useful object from a repurposed bottle. My kids used the bottles for flowers or to hold pens and coins.
Markers, ink pens, brushes and scissors become distributed in drawers, cups and other containers. Try having the kids take a shoebox bottom and covering it with old wallpaper, gift wrap or painting it.
Then simply take bathroom tissue tubes, which you have saved, and simply stand them inside as tightly together as possible.
This makes an excellent caddy for consolidation. Aunt Peaches has many wonderful, organizational crafts such as this example.
This is an idea for the older children that have iPhones, thought it can work with younger children too, who need a gift for a parent or grandparent.
If the weather is nice take the kids out to a park or zoo. Have them take as many pictures with their iPhones as possible. Then, when you return home, let them pick their favorite. Tiny Prints, an online printing company, will put their favorite photo right on a custom iPhone case. They can even include their names and a fun design.
Because it is digital, there is no paper wasted or toxic chemicals used. Even the cases are made of recyclable materials.
Those jugs with the handles can be cut to form lightweight carriers to hold all those little plastic toys that get everywhere. They can be painted, decorated with markers, cut out appliqués or even glitter. They can also be used for scoops for pet food, potting soil or charcoal.
Save old tooth brushes of every color. Remove the bristles with pliers. Supervision is necessary with the next step. Place the brushes in boiling water for a few minutes. When barely cool enough to handle bend into bracelets. My daughter absolutely loves these bracelets and had even more fun making them.
When raising my children, I always put an emphasis on the environment. I prepare my meals to incorporate local foods, use all natural cleaners in my home, drive an environmentally friendly car – heck – I even use energy efficient light bulbs! Doing eco-friendly crafts with your children is a perfect way to incorporate an eco-friendly lifestyle and teach your children that with a little creativity, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!
J. Lopez is a freelance writer and mother of two with a particular interest in living sustainably. She received a bachelor of science in journalism and public relations from West Virginia University and hopes to publish a book on parenting.