On the first and third Wednesday of each month, we’ll explore Creative Reuse crafting ideas for kids on LancMoms.com. As the Reuse Alliance describes it, “creative reuse” is when the addition of creativity brings a new function. Simply put, it is arts and crafts with materials that had another purpose than being used for arts and crafts. For example, wallpaper samples become fans and cardboard tubes become robots. This is also sometimes called “upcycling” or “repurposing.”
Why Creative Reuse?
1. Reuse helps children see things differently. The child who has seen the end of an orange juice concentrate can turn into a punch-tin Christmas ornament begins to understand you can conjure what you need with ingenuity. It is problem solving at work when a young artist needs ears for a cat face project and cuts an unwanted ad magnet into triangles to do the job.
2. Kids have better ideas then we do. There’s a place for identical-looking crafts for the same reason there’s a place for TV Dinners. It’s convenient. But
kids thrive when given materials with a general idea to guide, and really surprise us when given materials with no direction at all. Think you’re not crafty? You don’t have to be! Put materials in front of your children, and they will see something in it. See the accompanying photo as Exhibit A: You can bet no one told this child, “Please turn these scraps into a giant stink bug eating fast food.”
3. It saves money we can use for something else, as well as fosters thriftiness. Kids love to create, yet craft supplies are expensive. Noticing what we can use from items around the house not only saves us money, but trains a child to be an adult who finds thrifty ways to reuse in many situations. It’s a skill to not see store-bought-new as the only option.