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Eco-Friendly Crafts for Moms and Kids

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May 7, 2012

Spring is one of the best times to get out into nature with your kids again and get crafting. Eco-friendly crafts take on at least one green aspect with the goal of reducing our impact as much as possible.

Key Considerations and Ideas For Eco-Friendly Crafts

Reused. Reusing an object that might otherwise go to waste is a great lesson for kids. Whether or not an item has multiple uses helps when thinking about buying something in the first place.

Use old containers to show off freshly cut flowers. Even those dandelions that small children pick in your honor will look great in a tea tin vase or pretty shampoo bottle. Tie a ribbon around it for a sweeter look.

Recycled. Slightly different from reusing, recycling is turning something bound for the waste (or recycle bin) and turning it into something new that will then be trashed or recycled at the end of its life.

One of my favorite things is to take pieces of art the kids make and turn them into something fun. If you have a preschool aged child, you are bound to get many abstract paintings on large easel paper coming home. They are large and cumbersome, but they make excellent gift wrap.

Upcycled. This is when it gets good. Upcycling is taking something that would otherwise be discarded and turning it into something new, useful, and better than it was before.

Wool dryer balls get me as close to excited about a laundry product as is possible. They shorten drying time and work as well as disposable dryer sheets with no waste. There are some fabulous people who make and sell them, but the next time you have an old wool sweater that your family has outgrown, consider trying to make your own.

Recyclable. Consider whether the craft at the end of its life will be recyclable.

Children have endless imaginations and are often in need of fancy accessories to act out tales of danger or fairy-tale endings. Why not make your own which can be recycled after the last curtain call? Newspapers become princess crowns or pirate tricorns. Cleaned aluminum foil becomes swords, action figures, or robot parts. Large yogurt containers and a little rope turn into stilts for little giants. Wire hangers from the dry cleaners and fabric become fairy wings.

Compostable. Consider whether the craft at the end of its life will be compostable.

Nature walks allow kids to forage for items to create tiny homes for fairies or leprechauns. Start with a structure of twigs or bark. Add moss, pinecones, stones, acorns, petals, and needles to create fantastic memories with your children. At the end of play, these items return to the earth with no impact

Non-Toxic. Once you decide what to make out of your otherwise useless items, choose non-toxic and eco-friendly options for the other materials you might need, including paint, glue, and crayons or markers.

What ideas do you have for eco-friendly crafts that follow one or more of these principles?

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