Even though it’s March and Spring has begun showing her lovely colors (don’t you just love the cherry blossoms in Vancouver at this time of year?), I think that most of us Vancouverites still remember exactly what we were doing when that earthquake hit on December 29th. And since it happened late at night, it roused me out of a deep sleep and left me awake and wondering for several hours, and now several months, afterwards.
It made me think about Christmas, my family, and how we really have no control over Mother Nature and the Earth that we inhabit. We are at the mercy of the unpredictability of the world around us. So, thus, it is so important to harness the moment and live for RIGHT NOW, as it is truly all we have! Not trying to get too deep here, but hey! It was deep thoughts for a midnight brain. I also was guiltily obsessing over the huge pile of plastic and cardboard garbage that was waiting for me in my basement; remnants of the packaging that contained my children’s plethora of Christmas presents. I’m honest enough to admit that they didn’t get overly spoiled, but they certainly got their fair share of goodies. And now I feel the guilt of the massive amount of garbage that we’ve created, and how important it is to teach them about garbage and waste’s impact on the environment.
So, my brain launched a plan – time to teach them how to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE. After all, what better time than Spring – the time of rebirth, and of the upcoming Earth Day on April 22, to instil some environmental values into them while creating a project that shows them creativity and reusing items.
So, off I went onto Pinterest and found a few fun and fantastic crafts and activities that can be made with basic items that would otherwise be sent into the recycling. Since I have two daughters, any kind of activity HAS to include glitter – so here is the first one, sparkles and all!
DIY Wind chimes
What you’ll need:
4 or 5 various sizes of clean tin cans (could be soup, tuna, tomatoes)
Paint and glitter
4 or 5 washers
A hammer and a nail
Get your littles to paint and glitter up the tin cans. Once they’re dry, get an adult to punch a hole in the top, and use a piece of yarn to thread through. Tie the washer to the bottom and leave enough yarn to string it up to the top.
Stagger the cans so that they clang together when you hang them up outside. The painting of the activity is fun for creativity, the threading of the yarn is excellent for fine motor skills, and digging through the recycling bin is the most fun of all!
photo credit from http://www.funfamilycrafts.com
The next DIY activity combines two of my kids’ other favorite activities – bath time and outdoor play – and can be created using a basic 4L milk jug. In fact, there are SO MANY cool things you can do with empty 4L milk jugs, so hang onto those puppies for a rainy day activity that will be sure to please!
Milk Jug Bird Feeder
This fun and easy activity offers creative, hands on learning while making it, and also connects children to nature when they observe the neighborhood birds landing in the feeder to have a snack! Add more fun and education by having a local bird guide on-hand so you can investigate the different types of birds that are using the feeder!
What you’ll need:
A 4L milk jug with cap
Various decorations: stickers, bottle caps, milk jug caps, Sharpies or other permanent markers, outdoor acrylic paint
Scissors, wire cutters, pliers, paintbrushes
Perch or roof materials: sticks cut to desired length
Possible adhesives or sealant: non-toxic outdoor white glue or outdoor ModPodge
Bendable thick wire or twine to hang the feeder
Wash out the milk jug well with soap and water. Once dry, cut 4 windows on each side of the jug. If you want to use a stick to add a perch to each side of the window, you can do so by threading the stick through the jug (see photo).
You can now allow your child to decorate their feeder however they want. You can use sticks, buttons, paint or more. Finally, thread the twine or wire through the top of the jug by cutting two small holes in the top of the jug, and create a hanging loop. Viola! Fill it with birdseed and wait to see which birds come to visit!
photo credit from http://www.grainsofearth.com
Milk Jug Whale
This activity is so much fun and super easy.
What you’ll need:
4L milk jug
All you have to do for a bath time buddy is clean out a milk jug, draw a mouth and face on it with a sharpie, and cut the mouth out! I also drew fins and a blow-hole. There you have a fun and easy bath time toy that can really hold a lot of water! Endless hours of fun with this simple and inexpensive toy!
photo credit Melissa Collins
Happy crafting with your little ones!!