Fun Ways to "Upcycle" Trash

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My son comes home from school every day with all types of "treasures." Sometimes it's a homemade slingshot (insert eye-roll), other time, it's a totally new invention. You see, his favorite free-time activity in his Kindergarten classroom is "make and create." Basically, he's upcycling trash into clever usable items or artistic masterpieces. It's pretty awesome, and I love that his teacher is encouraging the children's creative sides and fostering out-of-the-box thinking.

In the spirit of Earth Day, I'm taking a cue from my little guy rethinking "garbage?" Why toss everyday objects when you can turn them into useful, kid-friendly crafts?

Here a few few fun ideas to get you started.

Upcycle Trash Into Crafty Treasures

Paper Towel/Toilet Paper Tubes

  • Birdfeeder: Spread peanut butter on the outside of the tube using a butter knife. Roll the tube in loose birdseed, covering it completely. Slip your birdfeeder onto a tree branch, then compost tube once birds are finished snacking.
  • Wrapping Paper Cuffs: Prevent rolls of wrapping paper from unraveling with paper tube "cuffs." Simply slit tubes lengthwise with a pair of scissors and slip over either end of your wrapping paper roll to keep it contained.
  • Cord Corral: Roll up power cords and stuff them inside decorated tubes for a cute storage option that will prevent cords from tangling.

Coffee Cans

  • Pencil holder: Remove the lid and label from an empty coffee can. Cover the entire outside with colorful duct tape in a fun pattern. Fill with pens, pencils and highlighters for an instant desktop accessory.
  • Bank: Remove the label from an empty coffee can and paint the outside a bright color. Add a dollar sign with stick-on gems. Cut an opening in the lid to use as a coin slot.
  • Planter: To make a rustic-looking planter, wrap the outside of an empty coffee can with a sheet of burlap and glue in place. Tie a simple raffia ribbon around the center and fill with dried flowers.

Plastic Water Bottle

  • Sensory Bottle: Calm rowdy kiddos with a mixture of water, glitter glue and loose glitter inside a plastic water bottle. Just add the ingredients, put on the cap, and let kids shake the bottle like a snow globe for an instant dose of zen.
  • Bowling Pins: Fill 10 plastic water bottles with two inches of water or a bit of sand at the bottom, then put the caps back on. Arrange your "pins" on the floor and let kids roll a ball to knock 'em down.
  • Penguin Pal: Fill an empty clear water bottle with cotton balls, then use foam sheets or sturdy construction paper to add the wings, head and feet. Don't forget the googly eyes!

Want a super clever DIY craft? Check out this fantastic DIY dreamcatcher, using an old tee-shirt. (And thank you to Go Organically Fruit Snacks for these awesome ideas!) 

This is not a sponsored post.

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