Mommy on a Shoestring: Reuse, recycle, reinvent to celebrate Earth Day

Freecycle.org The phrase one man’s trash is another man’s treasure has been put to good use with Freecycle.org. This free website connects people who want to give away unwanted items with those people who want them (for free). It’s a great way to get rid of things you don’t want while also being an excellent resource for upcyclers who are always on the lookout for random items such as bottle caps, picture frames and wine bottle corks.

Get out your glue guns; it’s time to turn everyday trash into modern day treasures.

Mr. Magnetic Head

This hard working craft does double duty. It’s a fun activity for the kids, and it gives you a reason to clean out your junk drawer.

You need:

Recycled can

Electrical tape

Magnetic disks (available at hardware stores) Note: Magnetic disks are dangerous if swallowed so this activity is not recommended for children under 4.

Junk drawer items (look for things that can be used as facial features such as nuts, bolts, buttons, rocks, etc.)

Glue gun (strong adhesive such as Tacky Glue would work equally well)

Directions:

Prepare can by removing all labels, washing and drying it.

If the top of the can has sharp edges, cover the edges with electrical tape to make the can child-safe.

Use a glue gun or strong adhesive to affix magnetic disks to the back of your junk drawer items/facial features. Allow time to dry

To play: Much like the classic toy “Mr. Potato Head,” this activity let’s your children get creative by adding magnetic eyes, noses, mouths, etc. to the recycled “can-head.” Best of all, when your kids are done playing, they can store all the pieces inside the can making this toy a true treasure.

Thank you to Spoonful.com for inspiring this idea

Tic Tac Toe Rocks

This project is fun to make, play and share. I chose the bumblebee/ladybug motif but any two distinct designs would work well.

You need:

Non-toxic acrylic paint (available at craft stores)

Weatherproof sealer (such Mod Podge, available at craft stores and some hardware stores)

Sidewalk chalk

Directions:

Go on a rock hunt until you find between 8-10 rocks.

Wash and dry the rocks.

Paint half the rocks red and half the rocks yellow. Set aside to dry.

Add ladybug dots on the red rocks and bumblebee stripes on the yellow rocks. Set aside to dry.

Seal paint with weatherproof sealer and once again set aside to dry.

Go outside and make a Tic-Tac-Toe board with sidewalk chalk and you’re all set for a season full of play. Because the rocks have been weatherproofed, you can keep them outside or simply store them in your garage. This game also makes a great (and inexpensive) gift for neighbors, friends and grandparents.

Thank you to chickenscratchny.com for inspiring this idea.

Picture Frame Message Center

This project adds new life to old picture frames and wine corks. Who knew drinking wine could be so crafty?

You need:

Old picture frame

Corks (such as those found in wine bottles)

Chalkboard contact paper (self-adhesive)

Glue gun

Directions:

Prepare frame by separating the frame from the glass and back cover. Set aside the glass, as you will not need it.

Lay the back cover of the picture frame on a flat surface and remove any dust or grime. Slowly cover it with chalkboard contact paper, being sure to keep the paper smooth and straight.

Use a glue gun to affix cork pieces to the bottom third of the back cover. Cork can be glued vertically or horizontally but keep in mind repeating patterns always look best. Be sure to leave a small border around the back cover so the front of the frame can lay flush once the frame is put back together. Add pushpins and chalk and your message board is complete.

Freecycle.org The phrase one man’s trash is another man’s treasure has been put to good use with Freecycle.org. This free website connects people who want to give away unwanted items with those people who want them (for free). It’s a great way to get rid of things you don’t want while also being an excellent resource for upcyclers who are always on the lookout for random items such as bottle caps, picture frames and wine bottle corks.

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