Spring brings up images of flowers, and sunshine, and green grass. But we all know that many of these early spring days are more riddled with gusty winds and chilly weather right? So while we are still waiting to open our doors, we turn to spring cleaning.
Those big cleaning projects can be so cathartic but can quickly turn into a pain when your little one is running underfoot at the same time. What can we do to keep them busy while we empty our pantries and sweep every nook and cranny?
Try one of these up-cycling craft ideas that use the things you were going to get rid of anyway!
Clean out the kids art drawer but don’t throw away those broken crayons yet! They can be turned into something amazing! Kids will love to help turn their broken old crayons into new fun rainbow colored ones!
Start by peeling all your old broken crayons and breaking them into small pieces. Next, fill silicon molds (or even mini muffin tins) with the broken crayon pieces. Have the kids think about the cool combinations of colors they want to add. Maybe one crayon can be lots of blues and white for a sky, or another green and brown for a giant lizard. Next pop them into a 200 degree oven for about 15 minutes (more or less depending on size of the crayon pieces and how full you made the molds).
Take them out and let them cool completely. You can put them in the freezer if they stick. Voila! Brand new crayons in fun shapes! The kids will be so excited to color with the new crayons that you might be able to sneak away for enough time to drink a whole cup of coffee…hot!
We all have those toilet paper rolls lying around, or is that just the art teacher in me?! Well, if you don’t save a few (and paper towel rolls work too) and then let the kids get creative! One of my favorite projects with the rolls are spring butterflies.
Here’s what to do. Fold a piece of construction paper in half. Cut out the shape of a butterfly wing along the folded side. Open to revel two symmetrical butterfly wings. Decorate however you wish. Use the toilet paper roll for the body of the butterfly and see how creative you can get with googly eyes or even some antennae made from pipe cleaner. Your little one will love this whimsical project!
Other ideas include painting the roll and taping off the ends to make a musical instrument, dipping it in paint and printing with it, or taping two of them together to make “binoculars” for a crazy game of “I spy!”
Old Clothes = New Fashion Fun!
One day my daughter came down the stairs upset that her favorite leggings no longer fit. She knew that I would take them and pop them into the pile of things to be donated, but she didn’t want to let them go. So, I came up with an idea. Why not give them new life?!
Your old clothes can be turned into a huge variety of things if your kids have a little ingenuity and patience. (Perhaps let’s leave this craft to older kids though since scissors, hot glue or sewing needles may be involved). The bottoms of sleeves or legs of pants can be cut to make a slip dress for a doll. Take another cut off the pants and make a nice sash or belt. Old cozy sweaters can even be cut into new blankets or pillows for your child’s favorite toys.
Not into letting your kid be in charge of a sharp needle? Try this project instead! Take an old colorful sock or cut the bottom off of one old colorful pair of tights. Fill 3/4 of the way full with rice. Twist to close then invert the sock back over itself. Knot at the top for an instant hackey-sack or stress ball. Before you close up the sock, put one or two drops of essential oils on the rice. Now you have a nice sachet for newly organized “spring clean” drawers.
Roll Out The Dough
Ok, so maybe this last one isn’t exactly done with something you’d be getting rid of from spring cleaning but have you ever made your own play dough with your little one? Home made dough is non-toxic, cheap, and so fun! (And, hey maybe you can count it as spring cleaning if you use up all your old flour!).
Try this recipe:
- 1 cup of flour (whatever kind you have on hand)
- ¼ cup of salt
- 1 tablespoon oil (veggie oil is fine)
- ½ cup of water
- 3 to 5 drops of food coloring
Mix the salt and the flour together. Warm the water up in the microwave for 30 seconds and add the food coloring. Slowly pour it into the flour mixture and mix/knead until it is all absorbed. While mixing you can add the oil in as well. It will be very sticky at the beginning. Store in an airtight container.
Try adding glitter or essential oils. I do not like to add oils that make it smell yummy, because then you know where that dough will end up…right in the mouth. Kids will be entertained for hours with this inexpensive craft, and you will have time to clean up the mess they made doing all the other crafts!
Need some other ideas? Check out this any day clay project!