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Upcycling projects you can do at home with the grandkids

Article by Naomi Webb

arts and crafts with grandchildren image


As adults, it’s our duty to teach children and grandchildren about the environment and to encourage them to recycle whenever possible. Unfortunately, we live in a very wasteful world and while many countries, governments, families and individuals are making an effort to reduce waste there is still much room for improvement.

But if you want to protect the environment and have a fun at the same time, then here are several upcycling projects you can do at home with the children.

  1. Make toy cars

If you’ve young kids in the house, it’s a good idea to put toilet roll tubes to one side as these can be used for a wide range of arts and crafts activities including making DIY cars. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, old pieces of wood or sturdy cardboard, with castors attached for wheels, make great DIY toys you can actually wheel around and can be made in a size kids can actually climb on and play with.

However, if all you have is leftover toilet roll tubes start by painting one of these using acrylic paint. This will become the main body of your vehicle, so be as creative possible and choose a standout design that’ll make playtime fun – think taxis, racing cars, sports cars and such like. While the paint is drying, make the wheels by cutting four small circles from cardboard. Paint them black and leave to dry before gluing a smaller circle of white paper to the centre of each one. Fasten the wheels using brads/small prong fasteners.

Now, you can either leave your toy car like this or you can cut out a small seating area using a craft knife popping a cardboard steering wheel inside – check out this site for more inspiration.

  1. Create a homemade water wall

As the nights draw out and the days get warmer, you may fancy getting out in the garden and creating your very own homemade water wall. This may seem like a strange concept but it’s actually wonderfully simple and something that can be done with the kids in tow.

To start your water wall project, source a board, wooden fence, piece of lattice or other sturdy surface that you can attach things to – just make sure it’s stable and won’t topple over. Next, look around your home for things like tin cans, empty bottles, buckets, leftover milk containers, old guttering, spare pool hoses and similar objects before stapling them to your sturdy surface.

Before you commit to stapling, however, line the containers up and check that water can flow freely through each one at certain angles as this will make your water wall as fun as possible. You could even get the kids to paint each container in waterproof paint first or thread beads onto string and secure to the inside of tin cans so they make a noise as the water passes by.

Looking to conserve water? Then place big washing up bowls at the bottom of the water wall so that your water can be reused time and time again throughout the day.

  1. Animal masks

Kids love anything creative, so why not put your cereal boxes to good use by cutting them into animal masks? You’ll find an array of templates online but if you’re feeling artistic you can even draw your own. Once you’ve cut the basic shapes out, you can then start to decorate using paint and other materials found around the home, such as newspapers and magazines. Milk carton lids make for great 3D eyes and you can use egg boxes for other 3D effects such as ears or horns. There is no right or wrong answer and creativity really is the key, so let your imaginations flow and have a great time.

Upcycling projects are a great thing to do with the kids as they encourage you to spend time together as a family – so go ahead and give some of these ideas a go.


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