I love preassembled art crafting kits for kids.  Recent budget-tightening and an increased interest in recycling, however, have led to some new opportunities to get especially creative with our homeschool craft routine.  Check out the four top picks from our dining room table, and see how they can be adapted to fit your creative time!

 

Robots

 

I don’t remember my daughter having an interest in robots, but for my three sons (ages 5, 4, and 2), they rule over dinosaurs every time. (My youngest son’s first phrase was “I am a robot” spoken in monotone.)  Since my freelance/consulting business includes getting many deliveries a day, there is never a shortage of cardboard boxes in my home.  I am careful to nest the boxes inside one another, giving my kids 5-7 at a time to play with (the smaller, the better).  These are boxes I’m not going to get back, so I don’t give them anything too unique (foam-insulated cooler boxes, for example.)

Then I turn them loose with some markers, toilet paper tubes, and a whole slew of kitchen utensils and blunt workshop tools.  They use everything from rubber spatulas to cloth tape measures to create the perfect robot, and they work together for hours at a time.  When they are finished, they have usually produced a crazy mess of boxes and clutter, but they did have fun! (We then use the decimated boxes for wood stove starter or let them break down in the compost heap.)

 

Bubble Wrap Mosaic

 

This idea came to me after I received a rather brilliantly blue-colored bubble wrap envelope in the mail.  It looked too good to throw away, but was impractical for my own mailing needs.  I saved it for a rainy day, and when that day came, I cut it up into varying sizes of geometric shapes and covered the back of each with a thin layer of Elmer’s Glue.  I set them in front of my kids, along with a piece of construction paper, and let them get to work!  Here is what we came up with:

Beautiful!  Unique! Totally recycled!

 

Newspaper “Fireworks”

 

These are an easy way to recycle your Sunday paper (especially the color pages.)  We take several sheets of the paper, and run them through the paper shredder or use a paper cutter to make thin strips.  Each child is then given a handful or two of the shreds and a sheet of colored paper.  I allow them to each have a glue stick, and they can make designs on the colored paper with the stick, before affixing the newspaper shreds to the sticky surface.  It looks like fireworks!

 

Juice Carton Houses

My kids love playing with boxes, but when I want to keep things to a smaller scale (and limit the mess to one table), I opt for orange juice or lemonade cartons.  After rinsing the cartons and allowing them to dry overnight, I cut the bottom from the carton and let the kids use safety scissors to do their thing!  They make windows, doors, add decorations, and paint the sides.  They can use their imaginations to make the house of their dreams, and then they march action figures or little play people through the doors.  They love it!

What cool DIY recycling art projects do you enjoy with your kids?