3 Recycled Creations to Keep Little Hands Busy

We’ve been stuck in the house most of the week because H has a bad virus. There are many reasons you may be cooped up in the house, from kids getting treatments, to kids with viruses, or maybe the weather is just not optimal to take your child outdoors. Whatever your reason is for staying indoors, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and stir crazy. Our kids, especially when they aren’t feeling well, benefit from creating and staying busy, even if it’s for small increments of time throughout the day.

Collaborative creation nourishes our bodies and souls!

Check out these 3 recycled creations to keep your littles (and you) busy and happy when you are stuck inside:

Estéfi Machado’s Recycled Microscope

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I came upon this magical artist’s page by happenstance. I was immediately enthralled and engaged! What brilliance! And what’s even better is that we randomly had this laundry detergent bottle leftover from traveling to Port Aransas. It looks like Estéfi Machado has an amazing book to support families in creating wonderful items like the one above, you can check that out O Livro da Estéfi. Crafts Para Fazer em Família (Em Portuguese do Brasil).

What you need: old detergent bottle, sharp knife (for parent handling), paper towel roll, cardboard to place inside detergent bottle to place objects for viewing on, tape, objects such as leaves, shells, bugs, etc., to observe, and a sharpie marker

What you do: 

  1. Place tape around the center of the detergent bottle. Use this to guide your hand as you cut out the center of the detergent bottle (this doesn’t need to be perfect).
  2. Place the paper towel roll on top of the detergent bottle cap and use a sharpie to measure around the paper towel roll. Use a knife to cut out the circle in the detergent lid.
  3. Measure the inside of the detergent bottle and cut a piece of cardboard to fit. Place the cardboard inside the detergent bottle. This will act as a surface to place the objects your child wishes to look at.
  4. Place the cap back on the detergent bottle and put the paper towel roll inside the cap. We taped the paper towel roll and cap together for sturdiness.
  5. Cut the paper towel roll so your child can place the microscope on a flat surface and place their eye over the roll. We had to cut the roll quite a bit so H would be comfortable.
  6. Create a science table with books, coloring materials, natural items (e.g. shells, feathers, bugs, and flowers) paper, and a magnifying glass to inspire your child to be the little scientist they are!

Make Your Own Easel

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If you’re anything like my family, pizza makes everything better. After enjoying some delicious pizza, I decided that we were going to reuse this beautiful piece of cardboard! I’ve seen cardboard easels on craft websites before, and I’ve always wanted to try this with H.

What you need: newspaper (for covering the surface) pizza box, acrylic or tempera paint (I used black for the background), creative materials such as beads, glue, feathers, glitter, construction paper, tissue paper, and bubble wrap, duct tape

What you do: 

  1. Prep the pizza box by getting rid of crumbs. Take out the black acrylic paint and give the box a nice coat of paint. Let it dry.
  2. Shape the pizza box like an easel and place it on the flat surface where your child will work. Tape the pizza box down with duct tape for sturdiness.
  3. Provide your child with the creative materials and support them as needed!
  4. Once the project is dry, use the other side of the pizza box.

Another idea would be to tape construction paper on the easel. This would allow you to reuse the easel over and over again for many art projects!

Milk Carton Crocodiles/Alligators

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This morning I drank the last pour from the almond milk container. And suddenly I was inspired! I cut the container in half with scissors, and H grabbed the bottom portion.

“I want to make a crocodile!” she said

So, although the language card that was on the table was an alligator, we used it as inspiration and proceeded to create a crocodile creation.

What you need: half a milk carton, toilet paper roll, green paper, newspaper (for covering the table), glue, scissors, black and white paint, small paint brush, duct tape

What you do: 

  1. Cut the milk carton in half. Bring the milk carton to the table (covered with newspaper).
  2. Place the toilet paper roll on one of the milk carton’s sides, and draw a circle. Cut out the circle.
  3. Place the toilet paper roll inside carton and tape the toilet paper roll in for sturdiness.
  4. Assist your child in placing glue all over the carton and toilet paper roll. Get out the green paper and help your child tear the paper to make various sized construction paper pieces. Have your child place the paper on the carton and toilet paper roll.
  5. Once completely covered, all time for the crocodile to dry.
  6. After the crocodile is dry, assist your child in creating eyes, a mouth, and teeth using the black and white paint.

I hope these projects inspire you to reuse materials you have lying around your house! Have ideas to share? Message me or leave a comment below.

Much heart,

April