20 Fun Ideas That Won't Break The Bank
When the kids get home from school, make some of these fun and
inexpensive crafts! Not ready to spend a fortune on supplies? We've come
up with some fun projects you can make with recycled materials from
around the house. Here are some ideas to get you started!
1 Milk Jug Bird Feeders
Rinse out an empty plastic gallon milk jug with lid. Cut a window in the
front of the jug, and make two small poke holes for the perches. Insert
pencils for perches and fill the bottom of the jug with bird seed.
2 Juice Carton Crayon Box
Wash and dry an empty cardboard juice carton and cut off the top. Using
bits and pieces of masking tape, have the children tape up the entire
carton, covering all sides, the more tape the better. Use crayons to
color the masking tape box. The tape makes the box sturdier and will
make a great crayon holder for their desk or dresser.
3 Aluminum Can Crafts
Paint an empty and rinsed out tuna can with spray or acrylic paint.
Decorate with glitter and glue, pom poms, buttons, lace, or stickers.
These make cute holders for barrettes, pony tail holders, paper clips,
rubber bands, keys, jewelry, or other small items. Using the same ideas,
paint a soup or vegetable can to make a pen or pencil holder.
4 Coffee Can Wish Bank
Have the kids cut pictures from old magazines or draw pictures of
something they want. Decorate the cans with glitter, the pictures,
stickers or anything else you have around. Cut a hole in the plastic top
of the can for the kids to deposit money. Each time they add money to
the can, they are contributing a little bit more to the "wish" item. A
great way to teach kids to save money!
5 Coffee Can Stilts
Using two 1-pound coffee cans, turn each can upside down so that the
plastic lid is on the bottom. Using a screwdriver, poke two holes, one
on each side of the can. Using several strands of yarn braided or
twisted together, or some rope, thread through holes in cans. Tie off
inside the can. Cans can be decorated if you like.
6 Jar Candles
Save the stubs of candles. When you have several saved, melt them
together in a double boiler. Color the wax by adding bits of crayon to
the mixture. Pour the wax into glass jelly or mason jars or metal cans.
Use cotton yarn for wicks, or you can purchase a roll of wick at a craft
store. Decorate the outside of the candle holder with acrylic paints.
7 Magazine House
Using an old catalog or magazine, cut out pictures of chairs, tables,
fixtures and other furnishings. Spread out a newspaper or large sheet of
drawing paper. Sketch an "open sided" house. Have children place the
pictures of the furnishings in the rooms of their choice. They can cut
out more pictures to redecorate their house, cut out pictures of people,
toys, pets, anything they like!
8 Alphabet Catalog Collage
Using old toy, clothing, and plant catalogs, have the kids cut out
colorful pictures that begin with a specific letter of the alphabet.
Assign different letters to each child. Have them glue the pictures onto
a piece of construction paper. Discuss the pictures afterward.
9 Paper Towel Rain Makers
Young kids love noise makers. Color, paint, and decorate paper towel
rolls. Cover one end of a paper towel roll with waxed paper and close it
off with a rubber band. Pour a handful or two of dried beans (split peas
work well) in the open end, close open end the same as the other. Poke
toothpicks through the rolls at different intervals to add a "rain
10 Paper Towel Tube Holders
Decorate a paper towel tube with paint, markers, glitter, stickers,
construction paper and crayons. This becomes a colorful carrying tube.
Roll their pictures up and put inside to take to their teacher,
grandparents, friends, or relatives. Some special pictures could be for
their Grandparents, a special aunt or uncle, or even for a brother or
11 Paper Plate Holders
Using two paper plates, cut one plate in half and place on top of the
other plate (turn the half plate to form a pocket over the whole plate).
Use a paper punch to make holes going around the outside of the plate.
Use scraps of yarn and "sew" through the holes of the plate. Start and
end at the top of the plate so that it can be extended about six inches
and tied. Have your children color, paint or decorate their plates. Now
they have their very own place to put prized possessions, notes from Mom
and dad, special pictures and more.
12 Paper Plate Aquarium
Color an underwater scene on the "eating" side of a paper plate. Glue
goldfish crackers to the scene, a couple pieces of plastic plant for
seaweed, and using glue and a little sand or soft dirt, make the sea
floor. Using a second paper plate, cut a circle in the middle. Cut a
circle of blue plastic wrap 1 inch in diameter larger than your hole in
the plate. On the "eating" side of this plate, glue the blue plastic
wrap so that it covers and overlaps the hole on the plate. Glue or
staple both plates together with "eating" side toward the inside. Punch
a hole in the top and string a piece of yarn through the hole to hang
your aquarium from the ceiling.
13 Treasure Shoe Box
Decorate an old shoe box and lid with construction paper, markers,
paint, glue and glitter, crayons, googly eyes, stickers, lace, doilies,
or whatever else you can find. Be sure to put the child's name inside
the lid. This box make a great box for treasures found out in the yard,
on the way home from school, or anywhere else your children "hunt".
Pain the inside of a shoebox with black or dark blue poster or acrylic
paint. Alternatively, you can glue black construction paper inside the
box. Using white crayons or stickers, make a night scene with stars and
the moon on the black background. Get creative, use small plastic toys
to create a scene inside your shadowbox, or make your own with
construction paper and glue. Cut out small pictures from coloring books
and color and adhere to your scene. Hang a spaceship or shooting star
with a piece of string and glue.
15 Cartoon Strip
make your very own cartoon adventure with crayons and a pad of paper. At
the bottom of a pad, on each sheet, draw a figure (i.e., a dog). The
first frame will be on the first page, second frame on the second page,
and so on. Change the movement with each page. When you are finished,
fan the pages with your thumb to see the show!
16 Create a Story
If you have several children together, this can be great fun. Give each
child two or three pieces of paper. Have them each drawer a picture and
write a sentence. When finished, see if they can put it together to form
a story. New pages can be created as you go along. A book cover can be
made from two pieces of construction paper, a hole punch, and yarn.
17 Number Fun
Pick a number from one to ten. Write it on a piece of paper. Ask the
children to draw sets of things in that number. If the child get number
four, have them draw four apples, four trees, four dogs, and so on. Have
them color their pictures with crayons and markers.
18 Animal Jumble
Using construction or white paper, ask each child to drawn a different
body part of an animal, but to have their animal be a secret. For
example, have one child draw the head, another draw the tail, another
the legs and so on. let the children pick the animal they want to draw.
When they are done have then put the animal together with tape or glue.
Have fun coming up with a name for the animal (monk-dog-lion-potamus).
19 Pet Rocks
Find smooth, flat or round rocks. Be sure to clean off any dirt or sand
and dry completely before starting. Paint with acrylic paints. Decorate
faces by using google eyes, yarn for hair, markers, glitter, and any
other tidbits you like.
Great for back to school or as a gift to someone you love. Make fun
bookmarks with construction paper, markers, paints, and stickers. You
can also use glitter, sequins, lace, doilies, buttons, and any other
little bric-a-brac you have laying about. Cut strips from construction
paper, painting the construction paper will make it sturdier, or you can
visit the local library or office supply to have them laminated for
longer lasting use. To complete the bookmark, attach a tassle make from
lf, you have created a win/win situation for both you and your
© Amanda Formaro
Amanda Formaro is the mother of four children. She and her husband live
in southern Nevada. She is also the owner of familycorner.com magazine
at http://familycorner.com | email her at: WebMom@familycorner.com
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