I love to put on a recycled craft activity, and I’ve offered one for Earth Day for the last four years. It’s amazing what things you can do with junk. It’s also a great way to encourage children to make their own crafts at home with things they find around the house.
The difficulty with this program is getting enough QUANTITY of your junk that can be turned into treasure. Yes, finding a few toilet paper rolls is easy, but finding enough for eighty children can be hard! I usually start collecting and storing things around December (much to my husband’s annoyance). By the time April rolls around, I have more than enough.
Another way to collect those items is through your patrons, friends, and family. I have found neighbors and patrons more than willing to provide egg cartons, jars, and other items. The best people to contact are those with infants, because baby food jars and formula cans can make a lot of interesting crafts!
Here are the best things to collect:
- baby food jars—the glass ones, not the plastic;
- mason jars and jar lids;
- wrapping paper, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls;
- egg cartons; and
- old magazines.
Magazines and CDs are easily collected from discarded materials at your library. The rest can be gotten for free from either your own junk or others.
When I run the recycled craft program, I make stations around the room with the various craft materials. I also always provide information on our county’s recycling program and what to do with their own junk.
Once you get your materials, the fun part starts. There are loads of craft ideas online with things to do with your junk. The websites I’ve used the most include DLTK Kids, Kinder Art, and Free Kids Crafts. Books I’ve used include Earth Friendly Crafts for Kids: 50 Awesome Things to Make with Recycled Stuff by Heather Smith and The Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts, published by Leisure Arts.
Have fun, and happy recycled crafting!