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Showing posts with label recycled trash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recycled trash. Show all posts

Recycled trash crafts for kids: Garden tools and sand toys from milk jugs


Hey teachers and homeschoolers, looking for some earth science lesson plans to teach environmental sustainability? How about making recycled trash crafts for kids with plastic milk jugs? Repurpose and reuse milk jugs into sand toys for the beach and garden tools. These crafts for kids work great in preschool science learning center, schools, scout troops, 4H groups, camp and day care and can be made with the youngest learners! 

To make a set of eight recycled trash beach toys or gardening tools, you'll need

-two clean plastic milk jugs per child

-permanent dry-erase marker 

-scissors (children's Fiskars scissors work great)

Draw a line around the base of milk jugs, about three inches from the bottom. Poke a hole anywhere in the line with scissors. Cut along the line to remove the top half (set aside for later). Now you have a sand pail, gardening bucket or plant starter. 

Next make sifter or strainer sand toys or garden tools by poking holes in the bottom of the milk jugs. Recycled trash beach toys are great money-savers. If they get broken, just re-recycle! 

Repurpose and reuse the top of milk jugs to make funnels and sand castle mold beach toys.  Draw a circle around the top, about two inches down from the mouth. Poke a hole and cut around the circle. Use funnels for preschool math learning center or sand and water table, too. 

With the leftover handle piece, make trowel garden tools. Draw along the indentation on the jug where the handle is. Snip the lower end of the handle to separate it form the jug. Poke a hole on the line and cut along the line. Trim the top part above the upper end of the handle to a v-shaped point. You will have a flat surface with a handle to smooth out surfaces and a corner surface for edging. 

Make a small rake and hoe cutting the trowel with a flat edge (for a hoe). Cut it with a zigzag edge to make a a garden rake. These trash crafts provide excellent scissors skills practice.

Make a shovel by drawing a circle around the part where the lower end of the handle attaches to the jug, about an inch or so from the handle. Snip the top end off from the jug. Cut along the circle you've drawn. Now you have handled shovels to use for sand toys or garden tools.

Use garden tools in earth science lesson plans and experiments. Use beach toys in preschool sand and water table learning center. Make a classroom garden or individual student bucket gardens for nature study! 

My favorite way to make crafts for kids is in an intergenerational setting. Visit nursing homes and senior centers to do activities with seniors. Teach students about volunteering, empathy and awareness, with activities that connect kids and elders! Make it part of an Earth Day party! Invite grandparents! This grandma treasures her time spent making craft projects with her beloved grandkiddies! 

Earth Day recycled trash bird feeders: science lesson plans, printables and trash crafts!


Just in time for Earth Day, here are recycled trash crafts for kids, to repurpose and reuse recycled milk jugs as homemade bird feeders. These bird feeders are great for National Bird Day (March 14) also. Make bird feeders in your preschool science learning centers or as part of ecology lesson plans. These recycled trash crafts are cheap, easy to make and fun for all ages.

First, if you're doing these lesson plans as part of homeschool, and you've got some little ones who are bit too young to be interested (grandsons Milo, Lucian and Ezra, Omi is smiling at you here!) you'll want activities to keep them involved. So how about assigning them the task of chief bird researcher (be sure to use the word "chief." The youngest ones love to be the boss sometimes!) Here are free printable bird coloring pages to for them to explore. As much as possible, find ways for youngers to be part of lesson plans. 

Next, teach children that reusing recycled milk jugs help the environment in three ways: when you repurpose and reuse recycled milk jugs you reduce the number that go into landfills. Homemade bird feeders support wildlife and the ecosystem. Making bird seed recipes from recycled kitchen scraps cuts waste. 

To make homemade bird feeders, wash, rinse and dry recycled milk jugs. Next, draw a window on the front of the milk jug on the opposite side from the handle. The window should be about two and one half inches from the bottom and about four inches on all sides. Using everyday scissors cut out the window. The plastic cuts pretty easily, but can be scratchy. You can assist those with physical limitations. After cutting the window, poke 5 small holes in the bottom to drain and air the birdseed and keep it dry. Decorate Earth Day crafts with permanent markers, stickers or fabric paint. Make festive nature patterns.

Now for the bird feeder fodder: here's a great time to explore bird species, habitats and nutritional requirements in your science lesson plans. To attract a variety of critters, fill the feeder up to about 1 and 1/2 inches with various bird seed recipes. You can buy generic bird seed in bulk inexpensively. This will attract chickadees, cardinals, house finch, dark-eyed juncos, sparrows, starlings, blue jays and lots of hungry squirrels. For special bird seed treats, save citrus rinds, apple peelings, fruit seeds, stale popcorn, bread, crackers and nuts. Blend with peanut butter and bird seed and place homemade bird feeder. If you carve a pumpkin, save the seeds. Squirrels will canvas the back yard at Halloween after pumpkin carving to get prized seeds.

Hang the bird feeder crafts in a tree, from poles or just about anything except utility wires. Hang with bird feeders with bright red yarn or ribbon. Many birds love bright red. You can place the feeder on a porch rail if necessary. Put a nail through the bottom to hold it in place. The youngest can be in charge of monitoring bird feeders and helping to refill them. 

Stay tuned for more Earth Day lesson plans, printables and activities! 


Homemade hats for kids: Earth Day recycled trash crafts with free printable paper hat patterns


Got kids Covid quarantined kids with stuck-at-home-itis? Got rainy-day, can't go out to play bored kids? Or, maybe you're looking for recycled trash crafts for Earth Day on April 22? If so, here's my teacher-mama first aid kit. Homeschool parents and teachers, your recycle bin is your best bud for hands-on eco-friendly, eco-nomical lesson plans. Repurpose and reuse household stuff in nifty, thrifty crafts, games and activities. Today's recycled trash crafts feature homemade hats for kids with hours of preschool dress up fun! Here's a guide plus links to free printable paper hats (this link goes to Enchanted Learning, another bestie for homeschool teacher-mamas and papas!)

The first prototype for these homemade hats was developed by our oldest daughter at 20 months old. We kept her blocks and toys sorted in recycled 5 pound peanut butter pails. One day, Little Miss emptied one, plopped it on her head, tucked handle under chin and voila—an instant helmet. Then she proceeded to saddle up and ride baby brother like her noble steed! After I removed the bucket handle for her safety and her from brother for his, I realized what really cool hats for kids can be made with a little repurpose and reuse ingenuity! 

Weed through your recycle bin for plastic ice cream buckets, butter tubs, coffee canisters you can repurpose and reuse. Size them so they fit child's head without any leftover. You don't want hats to completely envelop the child's face. You can repurpose and reuse milk jugs as awesome knight's helmets. Remove handle and use hole from the handle as a helmet visor. Cut a piece of plastic and attach with brads to make a visor flap.

Let children paint color, cover and decorate homemade hats however they wish. Wrap in aluminum foil for an armored helmet. Or have young inventors make hats, helmets and headpieces for robots, soldiers, aliens, animals, astronauts. Make homemade crowns for kings and queens and princesses (cut both ends out to make cylinder shape and decorate. Make cone-shaped medieval lady hats by rolling a square of paper in a funnel shape. Trim edge even. Staple recycled crepe paper streamers to hat. Cut decorations from recycle bin stuff. Repurpose and reuse old headgear in cute homemade hats for kids costumes. Repurpose and reuse silk flowers, fabric scraps, ribbons, yarn, buttons, appliques, and faux gems as decorations for your recycled crafts. Kids might wear their hats in an Earth Day parade! 

SS42 has lots of free printable paper hats for kids in several styles--baseball hats, hats with monster heads (zombies, vampire, spider web and pumpkin). There are free printable paper animal hats with noses and bills to go with animal costumes and a paper bucket hat to design and color yourself for Hat Day. Here are free printable paper hat patterns like the pointy party paper hats that attaches with a rubber band. 

My grampa was a newspaper printer. He always made newspaper hats for me and my kids (probably where my little hat maker got her inspiration).  In "Curious George Rides a Bike" George shows an easy way to make paper hat patterns or paper boats from newspaper. Here's his free printable paper hat pattern you can incorporate into reading lesson plans or activities for Earth Day. I think I'll make one in Grampa's memory! 


Earth Day recycled trash crafts, collage art, preschool lesson plans from the Barney Bag


Here's a blast from the past, just in time for Earth Day, April 22. Bust out the Barney Bag and whip a bunch of recycled trash crafts for kids! Wait, you don't what a Barney Bag is? PBS's Barney the dinosaur had a magic bag that the kids on his show Barney & Friends used to make crafts. These activities work great for earth science lesson plans on ecology and environment. 

I carried out the Barney Bag tradition with my children, who are now grown with children of their own. As a homeschool family, we didn't watch much TV, but they did love PBS in general and Barney & Friends in particular. (Here are free printable Barney coloring pages for a walk down memory lane!) We used the Barney Bag in preschool learning centers and arts and crafts lesson plans you can too. Upper elementary and middle schoolers will love making these recycled trash crafts for kids. Use them as hands-on ecology activities too! Here's a Q & A to get started. 

What is a Barney Bag? On Barney & Friends, it was a rainbow-colored satchel about the size of a small suitcase that contained all kinds of "gizmos and gadgets, odds and ends; even some old strings"--aka lots of cast-off stuff! Perfect for recycled trash crafts for kids or collage art learning centers. 

How do you make a Barney Bag? Keep a large recycled trash shopping bag near the recycle bin. Toss in unique packages, fabric scraps, odd-shaped containers, bits of yarn and fiber, foil and wrapping paper scraps, used ribbon and bows, decorative trim, mismatched buttons, gumball machine toys, assorted game pieces, old magazines, stickers, envelopes with stamps, playing cards, metal washers and springs, small broken utensils, packing peanuts and just about any discarded item imaginable. Repurposing these items teaches valuable real-life Earth Day lesson plans. 

When should I use it? You can weave the Barney Bag into collage art learning centers and lesson plans. But it works best to haul out Barney Bag spontaneously. If children are tired or grouchy, or it's too yucky to play outside, collage art perks them up.  Throwing a spontaneous craft party was a real sanity-saver for me when everyone came down with chicken pox at once!  

How do children use the Barney Bag? Assemble a tray of glue sticks (or plastic lids with glue and Q-tips), scissors (plain and decorative edged), glitter, crayons or markers, paints, shaped paper punches and stamps. Use up dried beans or pasta in collage art learning centers. Spread an old tablecloth or shower curtain on the floor to protect against spills. Make paint coveralls from dad's old T-shirts. Or recycled trash plastic grocery bags (handles are shoulder straps. Cut bottom off to slip over head. Cover the table with newspaper. Announce Barney Bag time by singing Barney's little ditty. 

"So we'll ask ourselves the question: what shall we make today? With imagination and a piece of string, we'll see what we can make today, yeah, we'll see what we can make today!" Make memories and the environment happy with these Earth Day trash crafts! 

Free printable spring science crafts, Earth Day recycled trash crafts, weather unit activities

Spring is here, "Weather" or not the temperature agrees (LOL, get it?) How about free printable spring science crafts and weather unit activities to spring into the new season? As always, this Montessori teacher mama--now teacher Omi (grandma)-- shares hands-on, cross-curricular learning activities.  To welcome Earth Day, we'll use recycled trash for weather crafts. The age level for this unit is preschool to first grade. 

First, visit DL-TK for a rainbow of printable weather science craft projects. Make windsocks, windchimes, suncatchers, picture frame crafts and more from recycled trash. Use recycled paper to make free printables. 

To welcome spring, Earth Day, Easter, a new baby, how about making a giant greeting card on front walk? Bust out the sidewalk chalk and get busy decorating! No sidewalks? Use the patio or unfurl a roll of paper outside! Here's an easy, super cheap recipe for sidewalk chalk

Next, make pet baby tornados! Here's a Montessori activity for practical life learning centers. Have children wash glass jars and lids, to teach life skills of dishwashing. Next, children will fill glass jars almost to top with water and add a drop of dish soap. To create the baby tornado, shake jar with swirling motion. A funnel shape or vortex will appear. Use these science activities to demonstrate a vortex, tornado, funnel and even the sink drain works. You could discuss clouds, precipitation, wind.

To extend these hands-on science activities to language arts and creative writing, have kids think up names and make up stories for their pet tornado. Next, extend into math lesson plans making books from cereal box cardboard. Teach geometry, measurement, scissor skills cutting recycled paper to cover books. Next alternate writing and blank paper. Have children write on the lined paper and illustrate on the blank pages. 

Sing weather songs in circle time. Enjoy spring themed snacks (stay tuned for recipes to follow). For quiet time, read weather and spring science books like "The Year at Maple Tree Farm" "The Little House", "Ox-Cart Man", "The Carrot Seed" "The Lorax" "The Tiny Seed" and "Frog and Toad are Friends."