Thursday, July 24, 2008

Green on the cheap: Creating kid art

Last night, my daughter was in a creative mood. Before I knew it, she was into the box for one of her birthday gifts - a Crayola magic paint sprayer of some kind. Allegedly it sprays ink that can only be seen on specialty paper. All I know is I'm fighting a battle against finding this plastic contraption and its colors being toted around my house. Whatever happened to crayons?

It's a personal reminder that sometimes you simply have to sit down with your child and unleash that creative potential. Particularly when arts programs are being cut left and right, it's our obligation to help foster creative expression in our little ones.

This week's Green on the Cheap focuses on simple ways you can support that creative impulse in your little ones and still be environmentally friendly.
  • Reuse your supplies. Create a stash of leftover papers of all types - direct mail, printer paper, Christmas cards, etc. - for art projects, making cards, wrapping presents, pretend post offices, etc. Likewise, I hang on to extra stickers and scrapbooking embellishments for my child to create her "heart" with.
  • Recycle. Plagued by broken crayons around your house? You can melt them in sprayed muffin tins at 250 degrees to create new crayons for your little ones. If you're truly adventurous, make your own paper.
  • Give a second life to kitchen trash. Plastic bottles, coffee filters, egg cartons, bottle caps, and other household items can easily be converted into kids crafts.
  • Use Mother Nature. Remember potato stamps from when you were a child? We (OK, an adult) occasionally carved designs into a halved potato to stamp them on paper. Easy to compost when the thrill is gone. Older children may enjoy creating dyes from fallen leaves.

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