We are living in belt-tightening times. Everyone is looking for ways to live more frugally. However, cutting corners doesn't have to mean cutting the fun. You don't need new, fancy, or expensive supplies to create some amazing, beautiful, and fun things at home with your kids. All you need is a little imagination and some out-of-the-box thinking.
Stained "Glass" Art
You probably have plenty of crayon pieces sifting to the bottom of the crayon box, right? Those little leftover pieces can be used to make some pretty cool stained "glass" art. All you need is waxed paper, an iron, and a pencil sharpener or cheese grater. Lay one large piece of waxed paper on an ironing board. Let your kids use the grater or sharpener to create shavings and sprinkle them over the waxed paper. When they're finished, place another piece of waxed paper over the shavings, then put a pillowcase or kitchen towel over the top, between the waxed paper and the iron. Iron the masterpiece with a hot iron. Lift the fabric as you go so your kids can see the wax melting and spreading. When it's finished, your kids can cut the waxed paper into any shape they want, or use construction paper to make a frame.
Puppets are a very easy thing to make with whatever you have laying around the house. The great thing about puppets is they can be as simple or elaborate as you'd like. Decide what kind of puppets you want to make and go from there. Start with old socks, popsicle sticks, or even toilet paper tubes. Let your kids use fabric and glue, yarn scraps (or twine from the kitchen or garden), markers, paint. The decorating options are endless and your kids will love thinking up characters and searching for the perfect way to bring them to life.
Braided Bracelets and Necklaces
How many old t-shirts are sitting in piles in your family's closets? Here are a couple of crafts that will give those shirts a second life (and give you more closet space). First, cut the shirts into thin strips (about 3/4" wide) and as long as you want or need. Next, stretch the strips as far as they'll go. You'll be left with a tube-like string. Your kids can string old buttons or beads to make a necklace or braid several colors together to make a friendship bracelet. Better yet, give them the shirts, some scissors, and a little guidance, and see what they come up with on their own.
A Big Box
Finally, it may be time for some in-the-box thinking. After all, is there anything more fun than a big cardboard box? It can be anything your child wants: a race car, a rocket ship, a castle, a post office, a drive-thru, a puppet theater for those puppets you just made. Markers (or paint), fabric scraps, stickers, glitter, and yarn are some of the many things you already have that can help their vision become real.
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