With your kids out of school for summer vacation, you may find yourself struggling to find new ways to keep them entertained, active, and productive. Luckily, we’ve got just the idea for you! Whether you’re the type of person who hates to throw anything away, or you’re someone who’s just started dipping your feet into green living, upcycling is a fun way for your kids to express their creativity.

Upcycling is the process of converting an unwanted item or belonging into something that is wanted or useful. With a little imagination and some handiwork, upcycling allows you to create something new and unique out of an item was headed for the bin.  Upcycling with your kids will not only provide you the opportunity to give new life to your unwanted items, but it will also serve as a great vehicle for teaching your children the importance of living minimally in order to help preserve the environment.

Below are some of our favorite and easy upcycling projects to do with your kids using some of your home’s (and closet’s) most popular items!

1. Tin Can Wind Chimes

  • Easily add a little life to your home’s décor by creating own home-made wind chimes using tin cans. Just follow these steps:
  • Grab a few tin cans varying in sizes from your recycle bin (which you’ve already washed thoroughly in order to avoid contamination at the recycling facility, of course)
  • Paint the cans with fun stripes, polka dots, hearts, triangles, and whatever shapes your kids can come up with
  • Allow the paint to dry
  • While allowing the paint to dry, grab a vine from your backyard or some sort of flimsy plastic in your recycling bin in order to create a loop
  • Punch a hole through the bottom of the cans and tie a burlap string through them (individually)
  • Attach the strings tied to the cans to the loop
  • Attach several strings to the top of the loop in order to hang your creatio

2. Repurposed Button Bracelet

  • We all have a stash of buttons laying around.  What better way to repurpose them than by turning them into bracelets for your daughter or for your children’s friends?
  • All you’ll need is buttons, 6 to 8-inch elastic, thread, a needle, and scissors:
    • Wrap the length of elastic around your wrist and cut to fit, allowing for about one-half-inch of overlap
    • Cut a length of thread and stitch the elastic together
    • Start sewing your buttons onto the elastic, working with a long length of thread or attaching each button individually.
    • Once you’ve finished attaching the buttons, cut away any ends of the thread, and the bracelet is ready to wear

3. Educational Dice Using Cardboard Boxes

  • Materials you’ll need are corrugated cardboard, scissors, duct-tape or glue, sharpie markers, and a board game:
    • Cut out 6 cardboard squares
    • Draw different shapes on the squares
    • Glue or tape the squares together to resemble a cube
    • Once your cube is ready, your kids can use them to play any board game!

4. Bottle Cap Refrigerator Magnet

  • Just grab a few bottle caps, googly eyes, magnets, paint, and glue. Then:
    • Let the kids start by painting a few coats of paint onto the bottle caps and allow them to dry for a few minutes
    • Have your kids use the opposite end of the paintbrush to make dots and allow the paint to dry
    • Once the paint is dry, glue on the googly eyes to the front of the bottle caps, and glue the magnets on the back

5. Moonbeams in a Lantern

  • This project requires an empty glass jar, PVA glue, water, tissue paper, upcycled stars/sequins from holiday wrapping paper/decorations, kitchen foil, and white light. Once you have all of these items:
    • Take a clean, empty glass jar and apply a coat of PVA glue thinned with a splash of water
    • Cover the jar with small pieces of silver and white tissue paper just as you like
    • Apply one further coat of PVA glue to give a glossy hard-wearing finish
    • Add a few silver stars or sequins for a bit of daylight sparkle
    • Coat the jar’s lid with PVA glue then cover it with kitchen foil
    • When the entire thing is dry, pop in white light and screw on the lid

Keeping your kids busy this summer is important but getting them to love and care about the environment is even more important when it comes to the future of our planet. These fun upcycling projects are a great way for you to encourage them to develop and nurture this crucial relationship with the Earth.

Be sure to stay tuned on our blog for more ideas on how you and your family can live a greener lifestyle. Additionally, if your goal is to live more sustainably, one of the best places to start is by how you choose to power your home. Check out https://kiwienergy.us/green-e-certified-plans/ to learn about our eco-focused energy and natural gas products.