Upcycling refers to finding fresh uses for old things in ways that increase the value of the items. The victory is when you create instead of consume. Once you upcycle your Easter, your kids will not only learn an important lesson that will last a lifetime, but they will likely start begging for more opportunities to re-imagine everyday items that would otherwise be discarded.
So what are you waiting for? Here are five ideas to get you started:
“Welcome Spring” Banner
With scissors or pinking shears, cut 14 banner-shaped triangles from leftover newspaper. Lay leftover garden twine, string, or thin ribbon across the length of a table. Then, starting at one end, fold the widest end of the each triangle over the string and glue it with a glue stick. Write letters on each banner to spell “Welcome Spring,” leaving a banner blank in between words, and let the kids color in the letters. You may want to have a couple extra triangles on hand in case of errors. Hang your banner where it can be viewed prominently until summer arrives, then fold flat and put it away for next year.
Collect recyclable wide-mouth jars of all shapes and sizes. Run your glass jars through the dishwasher, removing any labels and tags first. Then gather up whatever colorful leftover tissue paper you have and tear it into half-inch squares. Using Mod Podge or white glue that has been diluted to half strength with water, coat the jar with a thin layer of glue, then add a colorful layer of overlapping tissue pieces as you go. When the jar is covered, go over the tissue layer once more with a thin coat of glue. When completely dry, add a tea light to each lantern and arrange them on the mantle or in the center of your dining table.
It’s time for some of those plastic Easter eggs that have been piling up over the years to get a literary makeover. When a favorite book is damaged by grubby hands or a spill, dry it by hanging it open, then cut out the clean pages. Cut each page into a strip, just a bit wider than the length of the egg and long enough to go all the way around the middle. Paint just the middle of the egg with Mod Podge and roll paper into a tube around egg. Seal the tube with more Mod Podge tucked under the overlap and let dry while you move on to the next egg. Then come back around and make straight cuts a half-inch apart into the ends of the paper, cutting from each end of the egg. This way the pieces will smooth flat onto the tapered ends with more Mod Podge. Let dry. Now your children can remember their favorite books each year!
Tiny Toy Wreath
This playful wreath is a perfect way to create a new home for tiny plastic toys after a hearty round of spring cleaning. Start with a wire wreath shape and wrap it in a long strip of old fabric using a hot glue gun to secure fabric to the frame. Have kids help with the selection and sorting of tiny toys and designate one person in charge of gluing toys to the wreath. Let dry, then hang. Create one shared family wreath or create a tiny toy wreath for each child’s room.
Terrarium Garden Starters
Why should the turtles have all the fun? Use an old fish tank or an old glass baking dish lined with one inch of gravel and two inches of lightweight potting soil. Push sections of leftover cardboard egg cartons into the soil and fill with a little more soil. Plant seed starters for your flower or veggie garden in the cardboard egg pots. They can be pulled out after they sprout and replanted outdoors. Decorate your terrarium with cut patches of moss or grass from outdoors. Send children out to gather bark and sticks. Then let your child finish the look with rocks, shells, or old toys. Place your terrarium in bright, but indirect light and keep well misted with water from a spray bottle until seeds spout.