Reuse, Recycle and Create: Encourage Your Kid to be a Maker

Making something from household materials is not only fun, it inspires your kids.

In a small, impoverished town in Paraguay, a project called Landfillharmonic transforms garbage from the local dump into musical instruments. Not only do children get a musical education that would otherwise be inaccessible, they also learn a valuable lesson about the potential value of things we just throw away.

Now while that project involves construction skills and musicianship, crafting is an easy way to encourage your kids to think about repurposing. A good place to start is your own junk drawer. Skip to My Lou is a fabulous crafting blog with tons of great ideas for converting household stuff into treasures:

Pens, markers, tape, string, pipe cleaners, white glue and scissors are all your crafting essentials. You can also go garage sale trolling or visit the thrift shop to get some zany retro blouses, old lady plastic beads, doilies and fake flowers can also come in handy. 10 dollars can go a long way.

Not naturally crafty? No biggie. The more you can move away from finished product thinking and move toward discovery and process, the more fun you will have.


The goal is not to make something perfect; the goal is to see what we can do with what is around us.

Simple stuffed animals can be constructed by drawing the outline of an animal on the front of that blouse, then doubling it up with the back and cutting along the line. Choosing bright colored thread to sew along the line and cut up the scraps to stuff the animal before you sew up the rest. If sewing is not your bag, you can use felt and glue the pieces together. Old buttons or sequins make great eyes. Need some more instructions?

Those plastic beads are easy for little hands to string to make jewelry or window decorations. Thick cardboard can become a cute picture frame, and a shoebox can become a diorama. Putting your kids’ imagination to work will be a lesson in discovery too.

And if you need a little more incentive, there is some science that backs up the idea that crafting helps child development. Psychologist Richard Reade, Phd. says, “some experts we interviewed suggested that manipulating materials during arts and crafts may enhance a child’s visual-spatial skills.” Bonus.

Inviting our children to explore materials, make mistakes and make a little mess allow them to grow, gain confidence and engage. It’s also a chance for us as parents to set aside our often tedious and challenging grown up work and spend some needed time with our sweet ones.


To learn more about the Landfillharmonic, click on the link:

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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