Reduce, Reuse, Re: Fun!

Why, good morrow my dear friends!

As I am sure you are aware (since only enlightened, conscious people read this blog) this coming Monday is Earth Day.  Now, I’m not going to pretend that we have one of those pristine, super-efficient houses, where we have zero carbon emissions, eat only raw food and recycle our rainwater.  But we do try to do a little carbon tiptoeing around here.

Before I was married with kids I hoped that the bigger picture would solve itself.  My single self would ask my single brain things like, “Does it really matter if I throw my plastic in the garbage can?”  Or, after locking my single apartment door, “Is it really going to make a difference if I leave one light on all day while I’m at work?” You know, stuff like that.

However, once I had kids the questions were more like, “By running an extra spin cycle, am I reducing my children’s future access to clean water by 10 years, or 15?”  The gravity of things shift a little when your extended self (a.k.a. your children) have to endure the consequences of your actions by a margin of about 30 years.  Also, the need to set a good example really sets in, once you look into those love-me-teach-me-prepare-me eyes for the first time.  And believe me, if it doesn’t automatically, it certainly will come crashing home the first time you hear your child use a swear word.  Not that mine ever have, I’ve just heard other kids say swears.  Obviously the result of terrible parenting.

Anyway, as parents, I subscribe to the idea that if we adopt practices of conservation, social awareness and a general concern for the state of the planet we inhabit, then hopefully, these traits will be an intrinsic part of our next generation.  From there I am hoping, if i do it right, I can let them do all the work while I drive my retirement-savings-funded Hummer to the McDonald’s Drive-Thru on my way to the golf course.  See, there is a point.

So why not make this Earth Day super fun with lots of crafts and a celebration?  A celebration that focuses on the fact that EVERYONE is trying to do their part to abuse this world a little less.  Maybe don’t make a cake that looks like a dying world-turned-raisin complete with a fiery finale, but you know, something Earth-love related.

I thought I’d share with you a couple of the eco-crafts we’ve done around here lately, and if you like them, you can do them too!

The Paperless Painting Station

Window Paint Pads

As some of you super-sleuths may have recognized, this photo was taken this winter.  I am only pointing that out because they stayed up, and were used regularly until recently.  And by “recently,” I mean, “until Ben ripped them off the door in a two-year-old rage.”  To make these, I took two heavy-duty freezer bags, and put in several gobs of finger paints.  Finger paints work best because they’re more gel-ish.  Watercolour paints mix too easily and you end up with one brown gob.  Not quite as inspiring.

Cracker-Box Toilet Paper Roll Theatre

Puppet Show 1 Puppet Show 2

Sure, they’re not really going to save the world, but they will hurt it a little less by reusing stuff that would have gone in the recycling bin!  Plus, who doesn’t love a good puppet show depicting the importance turning the water off while you’re brushing your teeth?  Eh?  Am I right or am I right?

To make these, we just glued a popsicle stick (reused = GROSS) into the inside of a toilet paper roll for the puppets.  Then we decorated them, because plain old cardboard doesn’t convey the feeling we were hoping to get out of these puppets.  Then for the theatre, we cut a large hole into the side and front of a cracker box, then decorated accordingly.

No-Junk Mail Sign

Junk Free Sign

This one is my favourite, because it works!  Since we hung it, we haven’t had one bundle of flyers, a newspaper, or piece of junk mail.  The same papers that were always booked on a one-way express flight to my recycle bin, now sit on the desk of whoever tried to force them into my mailbox, as a reminder that maybe they should stop printing useless garbage on my kids future!  Win-win!  To make this, we just used an old cracker box (we like crackers) and cut it to the size we thought would suit our mailbox.  Ruby drew a picture of the things she likes about nature, and I attached it to the cardboard.  Then we made a border out of popsicle sticks and decorated it.

To make it hangable, I did this.

Sign Hanger

Hopefully you can figure it out from the photo, because I’m too lazy to try to type it out for you.  Cover it in packing tape to weather-proof it, and you’re done!  Good luck!

Egg Carton Bouquet

Egg Carton Bouquet

All of the kids got to collaborate on this one.  We just painted some egg cartons, attached them to pipe cleaners, made a little vase and sent them to one sweet lady that we know.  I also added some little button flowers because I am a control freak.  Anyway, those popsicle sticks you see, are glued onto an old salsa jar that also would have otherwise been tossed.  Now I ask you, what looks better?  An old salsa jar in a landfill?  Or a lovely bouquet of flowers that will never die?  I’ll let you be the judge.  (Note: if you pick the landfill I will slap your silly face).

Toilet Paper Snack Holders

TP Snack Holder 1

One day while Emma and Ben were napping, we decided to surprise them with a snack in a fun little receptacle.  I made one for Emma, that looked like Emma.  Ruby made one for Ruby, that looked like Ruby.  Ruby made one for Ben, that looked like…a dog.  I’m not sure what the message was there, but eating out of a toilet paper tube is fun.  And hopefully not as unhygienic as it sounds.  No one got sick anyway.

Anyway, obviously we just decorated some toilet paper rolls.  No big brainwaves required.  Then we filled them with…

TP Snack Holder 2

…disgusting, modified corn!  But you could totally fill yours with a nice hearty trail mix or something.

TP Superhero Cuffs

Superhero Ruby Superhero Emma

We got this idea from Kate’s Creative Space.  Her’s are about a kajillion times better, but hey, it was fun anyway.  For these, we just cut a toilet paper roll in half, then sliced it through the width (so they can fit over the kids’ hands (or your hands – I won’t judge)).   We decorated them, then threaded a ribbon through two punched holes to tighten them to stay on my children’s flaily arms.  Superhero, superfun!

So there you have it.  Irrefutable evidence that recycling is really fun!  This Earth Day, get out there and plant a tree, get in the garden and go for a bike ride.  Celebrate all that this beautiful planet has to offer.  And if it’s freezing cold and raining, go to Plan-B and stay inside to make these crafts.

Happy Earth Day, my fellow Earthlings!



3 thoughts on “Reduce, Reuse, Re: Fun!

  1. Fun stuff! I liked that part about being a control freak.

    Happy Earth Day. If you go for that Earth Day bike ride or walk or whatever, swing by Starbucks with your own coffee mug and they’ll fill it for free because it’s Earth Day!

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