Upcycling for Kids

Upcycling for Kids

In attempt to simplify your life and declutter your home, are you tossing away potential craft material? No one wants closets overflowing with cereal boxes and cardboard tubes, but it is nice to have a stash of supplies on hand for crafty upcycling with your children.

Instead of investing in expensive craft supplies purchased at the store, you can reuse objects you would otherwise discard such as cartons, boxes, plastic packaging, and remnants. Thrift stores and zero landfill sites also provide chances to stock your upcycling cabinet.

The bonus with upcycling “trash” is more creativity.

Prepackaged craft kits are fun in their own way. The problem is that a lot of them are little less than assembly kits. Because too much planning has been done already for the child, there is very little artistic license factored into a kit.

In contrast, upcycling with leftovers you spared from the dump allows for free reign crafting. Each bag and bottle top can be repurposed into dozens of different kid projects. And the child is the one to make those decisions.

Creative activities like upcycling develop divergent thinking and critical thinking, important life skills.

If the children make mistakes and “ruin” something, it’s not a big problem. The supplies were rescued from the garbage pile and didn’t cost any extra money. Upcycling is risk free crafting, exactly the kind of environment a child needs for unbridled creativity.

When upcycling with children, besides your supply of boxes, tubes, foam, fabric, and so on, keep the following supplies on hand:

  • low temp glue guns
  • paint and markers
  • quality adhesives such as glue and tape
  • a drop cloth to work on (if crafting indoors)

It takes a lot of glue and tape to connect the raw materials into a creation, so you will need to invest in those supplies for your upcycling activities. Paint is helpful to cover the writing and images that are printed on the packaging.

Plan a place to store your upcycling supplies – maybe somewhere near the garbage can and recycling bin. As you do upcycling projects with your children, they will begin to see “garbage” in a new light. Before tossing it into the recycling bin, they will imagine what that clear plastic fruit box could become. And instead of asking for expensive toys, they may just begin to create their own playthings from upcycled packaging.

Do your children like to upcycle? What kinds of creations do they make and what are their favorite materials to use?

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