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Fun Ways to "Upcycle" Trash

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.
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  • 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!
dreamcatcher

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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