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Zero waste craft ideas for kids

 
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What are your favourite crafts to do with children?

My children enjoy doing this woolly sheep craft:
https://www.wherewishescomefrom.com/2014/01/make-wooly-sheep-for-imbolc.html


I set it up a bit differently by making a sheep shape with legs already attached out of cardboard, put one loop of wool around the sheep and tie it off, rather than using glue and clothes pegs like the link above says. I also just leave the sheep with brown cardboard faces and legs rather than painting them black.

I'm interested to hear other kids craft ideas that use only compostable things - do you have any favourite links, instructions, or photos to share?
 
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We decorated pine cones with my parenting group the other day. We made christmas trees, little santas, fairies, elves, sheep, and I made a puffer fish. You can make them into anything. We used regular glue and plastic googly eyes and stuff, but I plan on keeping them forever. You could easily decorate with compostable materials.

I'll try to add some pictures later.

Last year we made paper snowflakes. So easy and they are just paper.
 
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you can make your own playdough out of harmless ingredients. I think they use salt, baking soda or both to make it so they don't feel like eating it.
 
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I always thought I'd be a crafty mother, since I'm a crafty person. And yet, I rather stink at this! There's so much to do and clean already, that I really struggle to get out something else to have to clean up.

My kids do like beading. I got a bunch of wooden beads (and old pony beads from my childhood), and they enjoy making necklaces on smooth flax cord.

They also enjoyed wet felting flowers with bits of colorful roving.

My son also likes to carve bark off of sticks under supervisions.

Most of the time, though, I just let them scribble on as much paper as they want, as both struggle with fine-motors/penmanship.

They also have fun trying to needle felt like mama...which usually ends up with them breaking needles &/or getting bored and leaving bits of half-felted roving everywhere to attract all the dust... Interestingly, they haven't poked themselves, while I've poked myself well over 100 times!

For older kids (elementary age or really nimble):

  • Pipe cleaner fairies are actually pretty easy to make. Get a wooden bead, some embroidery floss and pipe cleaners, and they can make their own dolls! This was the best tutorial I saw on making them. I make mine a bit sturdier now, but this is the general idea.
  • Friendship bracelets: this takes a lot of knots, but you can make lots of cool bracelets this way.
  • Modeling with clay: I had one pack of clay that didn't dry out. I made all sorts of people and houses and furniture from that clay--I still have many of them today!
  • random other handcrafts, like  sewing pillows, embroidering bookmarks, making doll clothes, etc.
  • drying flowers...never did find a real use for them, but I kept drying them anyway! This is fun for younger kids, too.


  • ......

    Speaking of handcrafts! I was going to make a thread about this but never got around to it! I stumbled across this when looking for a picture of a spinning wheel to print out for my son to color.

    EBook of the 1912 book "Indoor and Outdoor Recreations for Girls"



    It not only has how to maintain and use a spinning wheel, but also a BUNCH of things to make with tissue paper and wood shavings. It has how to make a hammock for one's dolls and how to make baskets and a bunch of crafts to do with grasses, and a bunch more....be aware, some of the doll designs are very...stereotypical racist. So, you might not want to have  your kids scroll through it unless you want to explain why people are depicted that way....
     
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    Nicole Alderman wrote:I always thought I'd be a crafty mother, since I'm a crafty person. And yet, I rather stink at this! There's so much to do and clean already, that I really struggle to get out something else to have to clean up.

    My kids do like beading. I got a bunch of wooden beads (and old pony beads from my childhood), and they enjoy making necklaces on smooth flax cord.

    They also enjoyed wet felting flowers with bits of colorful roving.

    My son also likes to carve bark off of sticks under supervisions.

    Most of the time, though, I just let them scribble on as much paper as they want, as both struggle with fine-motors/penmanship.

    They also have fun trying to needle felt like mama...which usually ends up with them breaking needles &/or getting bored and leaving bits of half-felted roving everywhere to attract all the dust... Interestingly, they haven't poked themselves, while I've poked myself well over 100 times!

    For older kids (elementary age or really nimble):

  • Pipe cleaner fairies are actually pretty easy to make. Get a wooden bead, some embroidery floss and pipe cleaners, and they can make their own dolls! This was the best tutorial I saw on making them. I make mine a bit sturdier now, but this is the general idea.
  • Friendship bracelets: this takes a lot of knots, but you can make lots of cool bracelets this way.
  • Modeling with clay: I had one pack of clay that didn't dry out. I made all sorts of people and houses and furniture from that clay--I still have many of them today!
  • random other handcrafts, like  sewing pillows, embroidering bookmarks, making doll clothes, etc.
  • drying flowers...never did find a real use for them, but I kept drying them anyway! This is fun for younger kids, too.


  • ......

    Speaking of handcrafts! I was going to make a thread about this but never got around to it! I stumbled across this when looking for a picture of a spinning wheel to print out for my son to color.

    EBook of the 1912 book "Indoor and Outdoor Recreations for Girls"



    It not only has how to maintain and use a spinning wheel, but also a BUNCH of things to make with tissue paper and wood shavings. It has how to make a hammock for one's dolls and how to make baskets and a bunch of crafts to do with grasses, and a bunch more....be aware, some of the doll designs are very...stereotypical racist. So, you might not want to have  your kids scroll through it unless you want to explain why people are depicted that way....



    I get the whole crazy person, not wanting to clean up after the kids crafty stuff. But, looking back (our 5 kids currently range from 16 to 35, and the youngest 2 live in another state, so our house has been an 'empty nest' for 4yrs), my biggest parenting regret has been that I honestly feel like I didn't share enough of my creativity with them. Oh, my intentions were grand! I had all the supplies! You name it, I got it, so that we COULD do it. I had PLANS! And yet,  I rarely made it a priority to actually do anything with it. Eventually, I gave away or donated most of the supplies.

    I've vowed that if I'm ever blessed with grandbabies, I will play with them, and teach them all the things, every chance I get - to hell and be damned, with the mess. I home taught my kids for 6 1/2yrs. They got loads of snuggling, zoo trips, and silliness, and have always known they were dearly loved. But, it feels like this one part of me, I was stingy with - and I honestly regret it, a LOT. So, anything they come back and ask about, now - I drop everything, to help, teach, show, answer questions... It feels like they're giving me a second chance, when they ask me 'how do you ____'. I've taught my dil some crafty things, too - like needle and wet felting and fulling, and a lot of my herbal stuff.

    My heartfelt advice? This stanza of a famous poem (whose author I'm not aware of) about raising kids:
    'Cleaning and dusting can wait till tomorrow,
    'Cause babies grow up, I've learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down, cobwebs! Dust, go to sleep...'
    Then, I'd change the last part from 'I'm rocking my baby' (which I actually did a lot of) to:
    I'm creating with my babies,
    'Cause babies don't keep.
     
    Kate Downham
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    We made little people today out of wooden peg dolls and wool felt.

    Little kids participate by choosing the colours of their felt and thread and I do the sewing, older kids can do the sewing themselves - ours just have a blanket stitch to hold the felt together.

    Extra stuff can be done, such as fork knitted or finger knitted scarves, embroidery or extra colours on the clothes, hats and fairy wings can be made too.
    20191128_204444.jpg
    homemade little people
    homemade little people
     
    Amy Arnett
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    Lots of great ideas! Looking forward to when my daughter is a little older and can handle more complicated crafts and focus on them longer.

    I get out all the painting stuff and cover the room in sheets so we can paint for ten minutes.

    Nicole Alderman wrote:I always thought I'd be a crafty mother, since I'm a crafty person. And yet, I rather stink at this! There's so much to do and clean already, that I really struggle to get out something else to have to clean up.



    I hear you, Nicole! I'm always weighing costs of clean up and possible damage (we are renting technically) and my energy level before embarking on a crafty journey. It's a lot less stressful if we can do it outside.

    Managed to get some pictures of my pinecone creations.
    The burrfish doesn't translate into 2D very well. Actually no one has guessed that it's a burrfish, but it gives me a chuckle everytime I look at it. I think the resemblance is uncanny.
    DSC_2496.JPG
    Pinecone Christmas trees
    Pinecone Christmas trees
    DSC_2492.JPG
    Pinecone burrfish
    Pinecone burrfish
    DSC_2491.JPG
    Christmas burrfish
    Christmas burrfish
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    I've been wandering down the Waldorf craft rabbit hole (so many lovely, natural craft ideas that are aligned with the seasons!). Sadly, a lot of the ones I'm interested in seem dependent on super-gluing bits and pieces on things. I'd rather not be gluing!

    I did find some that I'm planning on trying, though!

    This sweet fairy requires nothign more than a bit of thread/string and some roving. It looks simple enough for kids to do, too! If made small, it could be  cut Christmas ornament. https://www.educator101.com.au/fun/christmas/how-to-make-fairy-wool-dolls-christmas-tree-angel/



    This is a bit more advanced, requiring a felting needle for some aspects of it. But, it still looks pretty easy. http://www.creativityinpieces.com/2013/08/31/how-to-make-a-fairy/

    http://www.creativityinpieces.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/DSC_1060-e1375755474327.jpg

    The problem with loosely/not felted roving projects like those is that they will attract lint and dirt like nobody's business, and can easily fall apart. But, for little ones who want to make things with roving but don't have the patience for a lot of felting, this seems like a good option!

    I also ran across rolling beeswax candles!  You buy beeswax sheets (like from amazon) and then cut them and roll them up to make your own candles. My kids LOVE candles and fire. I think this would be a really cool craft!



    Thinking about crafts reminded me of why I got frustrated with a lot of preschool age crafts as a teacher. So often they either (A) didn't teach anything (cut out pieces of paper and glue them to something that vaguely resembles a turkey), or (B) We're so complicated that the teacher ended up doing most of the project. My favorite crafts were ones that either (1) made something useful, or (2) taught the child something through it's creation.

    So, if you're learning about insects, instead of just coloring a picture of an ant, get three grapes (1 for the head, another for the thorax, another for the abdomen) and stick them on a toothpick. Then get 6 more toothpicks and insert them into the middle grape (the thorax). Those are the legs! Then break a toothpick in half and put it on the head for antenae! The child not only made an ant, they also cemented in their mind where the legs go on the insect and how many body parts it has. Then make a spider! Get a get two apples or other fruit. Stick the one fruit (cephalothorax) onto the other fruit (abdomen). Then stick 8 legs onto the cephalothorax. Spiders only have two body parts, but have 8 legs!

    For me, it's easier to think up a craft if I know what we're learning about. Crafts are good for the fine motor skills and creativity and art, but it's also cool to do those things AND learn about something at the same time!

    So, what are you learning about right now? I could probably think of a fun learning craft/activity to go along with it!
     
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    The timing of this is perfect!
    We have 2 grandchildren that come over often and want to craft, I struggle with coming up with ideas.
    While I consider myself crafty enough and my stepmom made sure I had plenty of crafts as a kid, I still struggle with this!
     
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    A family tradition for many years was to use up the end of last year's gift wrap making snowflakes for this year's tree. A friend made a nativity using small paint bottles as a base for the figures when I was in high school. Old necklace beads either put into clear balls or strung on a garland, along with acorns, acorn caps, etc. I used scrap 3 x 5 cards and an old pair of pants to make gift tags one year. Not sure if I have a copy of the pic on this computer, but if I do, I'll post it below.
    christmas-present.jpg
    [Thumbnail for christmas-present.jpg]
     
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    Not exactly zero waste, but certainly re-use:
    I have a civil engineer friend who's willing to give me rolls of used drafting paper which is bound for the recycle bin. (Maybe ask at a local construction company.)
    I have a collection of rubber stamps - but potato stamps could be used.
    When the kids were little we made wrapping paper for gifts.
    It could be used to "wrap" plant gifts or food gifts if you want the gift to be "zero waste" also!
     
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    Jay Angler wrote:Not exactly zero waste, but certainly re-use:
    I have a civil engineer friend who's willing to give me rolls of used drafting paper which is bound for the recycle bin. (Maybe ask at a local construction company.)



    You could also ask local printers. If they do newspaper printing, banners, posters, large format printing generally, they often have the end of rolls on cores they just throw away. I used to get ends of canvas and use them for painting. I use the cores too.
     
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