Monday, November 22, 2010

Don't Toss It, Re-Toy It!

I mean, repurpose it into a toy!  Or into anything, for that matter

In an effort to be ever-more thrifty and green (and as stewards of God's creation, yes, that does matter), I've taken my recycling to a new level.  I still keep the paper bag by the back door for all those paper scraps (including junk mail), I continue to flatten boxes, and ruthlessly separate out any and all recyclable plastics.  But now I'm trying to find new uses for some of that stuff.  Like all kids, Eowyn is soooo entertained by unconventional toys-- like they're more "grown-up" or something, so here's some things I've done.  I can't wait to hear your ideas!

- large cylindrical coffee canisters w/ plastic lids -->as blocks & small toy containers; the advantage is that they roll,  making very interesting noises when containing blocks, and they double as little stools.  (For Eowyn, pretty much everything doubles as a stool)
- lids off juice & similar bottles --> colorful sorting objects (stored in rinsed-out baking powder containers with plastic lids).  Rinsed off, these are a great cheap way to start learning color, to practice pulling in & out, and to just stack.  Eowyn chooses this "toy" over all her others!  (The lids are non-toxic, and are often non-recyclable anyway)
- empty spools of thread -->  blocks (perfect for turrets on mini-castles).  Eowyn also puts them in with her caps and loves cleaning them up & dumping them out... over and over again...
- mis-matched socks--> sock puppets!  All it takes is drawn-on eyes, or 2 over-sized buttons VERY securely sewn on.
- paper still blank on one side--> great for all those daily "drawing projects"

Not toys, but more useful:
- holy socks--> either stitched up & turned into puppets, or cut off evenly and used as wrist or leg-warmers.
- glass jars w/ lids (salsa & the like)--> washed and used for food storage (who needs tupperware? =D), as glass won't absorb smells, and doesn't leak anything into food like plastic can. Dry-erase markers write on them and come right off!
- glass jars with lids--> great for beverages on-the-go for adults, like milk or water or kefir.
- plastic jars (peanut butter, etc.) --> used for a myriad of containing purposes.  Most recently I've taken two in my shower for my homemade shampoo alternatives (baking soda & apple-cider vinegar suspensions).  This way they won't shatter if they fall.  Others are at Sunday School holding markers, crayons & pencils. Others have gone to friends in "mercy meals" containing sauces, dressings and soups.

The key to re-using anything is making sure it's easy to keep clean, with no sharp edges.  Don't re-purpose anything that has held anything toxic (duh, I know).  Also bear in mind whether or not it will be in situations where it could be dropped.

Please pass on any tips you have!

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