Category Archives: children’s activities (recycled materials)

Robot Monster Pitcher: Coffee Pot With A Scary Halloween Makeover

Allow the guests at your children’s Halloween party to serve themselves a drink with this scary monster bot.

All the pieces for this menacing yet useful guy were recycled.

Monster Bot for Halloween party

Don’t turn your back on this grabby little monster: he may steal your candy.

What to put in your Robot Monster Pitcher? Robot Oil (i.e. Apple Juice) of course!

I used this at my daughter’s robot party too.

How to:

Get your hands on a second-hand coffee pot. Then gut out the innards. Clean it really well. The exterior bottom of my coffee pot was damaged by its previous owner from overheating but I think it adds character to our monster. The inside of the pot wasn’t damaged. Check the inside before bringing one home.

Eyes are burned out red Christmas light bulbs. Arms are thrift-store forks. Mouth was made from a metal shower curtain ring that I bent up using a pair of pliers.

Gluing the pieces on:

Gorilla glue worked for the arms. When the glue was dry, I used a razor blade to clean off the glue that squeezed out. A clear epoxy worked for the eyes and mouth.

Be creative and design your own scary Robot Monster Pitcher.

P.S. These posts take me a long time to develop. Don’t forget to send me a dollar once in a while so I can continue to do posts. Is it worth that to you?

MYO Butterfly Metamorphosis Observatory Out Of A Cardboard Box

Fill the holes with screen. If you are lucky you will have some screen salvaged from a screen door or window. You could buy screen new but why? It is better to make use of something on its way to a landfill.metamorphosis observatory

You can easily make a beautiful Metamorphosis Observatory. It’s a safe place to care for a caterpillar and a great way for you to watch their amazing transformation. I made this one many years ago and it has fostered lots of caterpillars over the years.

black swallowtail butterfly

How to:
Find a cardboard box. I think I used the box my blender came in. Use a ruler to mark a border around all the edges. I used the width of the ruler Instead of doing a lot of measuring.
Use a box cutter or exacto knife (careful!) to make a hole in four sides (not the top and bottom).
Find butterfly and flower pictures from last year’s seed catalogs or unwanted magazines etc…
Paste on pictures coving the whole exterior of the box.
I applied varnish (optional) on the inside and the outside of the box so it would last longer.

Fill the holes with screen. If you are lucky you will have some screen salvaged from a screen door or window. You could buy screen new but why? It is better to make use of something on its way to a landfill.

When you find an interesting caterpillar chomping on a plant, put it along with some of the plant, into the Metamorphosis Observatory. To keep the plant fresher, put the stems into a container of water. Replace the plant until the caterpillar is satisfied and begins its transformation. We found that it was necessary to cover the water with plastic to keep the wondering caterpillars safe.
Or place the branch with a found chrysalis on it into the box.
Once your caterpillar have come out of its chrysalis, give it time and space to let its wings expand and then be sure to let it go. This box was not meant to house the butterfly.

Swallowtail butterfly on child's arm
She’s full of wonder.

monarch butterfly emerges
A monarch emerges from its chrysalis.

For the Love of Butterflies: Plant Butterfly Weed

butterfly weed plant

This North American native is a wonderful source of nectar used by many butterflies. Butterfly weed is one of several species of flowers that we grow around our house to attract a myriad of butterflies.

To attract butterflies to our southern Maryland yard, we have included food for both stages of a butterfly’s life: the butterfly as well as the caterpillar. When you plant a butterfly weed you have done both. Plus, the strong orange flowers will give a festive touch to the outside extension of your home.
How to:
My girls scattered some butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberose) seeds in their garden. The seeds were a gift from a thoughtful friend. You will want to plant your seeds in a location that receives full sun. They prefer dry, sandy soil. It turned out to be easy to grow; just keep the seedlings moist. The older plants are much more tolerant of dry conditions. You can plant your seeds in late spring, summer or early fall. Either way, plan to wait until next summer for flowers. Seeds need a cold treatment before germinating. This can be done by either planting outside in the fall, or placing the seeds in the freezer for a few weeks before planting. New plants are also fairly easy to start from cuttings. Our plants have come up each year with no effort on our part and provide butterfly alluring powers. They flower all summer long and in the fall they have cool seed pods with fluff inside.
If you are a southern Maryland local (i.e. you live close enough that you can stop by), I’d be happy to save you some seeds. If collecting your own seeds, wait until the pods are already starting to open.
FYI, avoid pesticides because they kill butterfly larvae.

monarch butterfly caterpillar

Butterfly Weed, a species of milkweed, is a host plant for Monarch Butterflies as well as others.
This is the monarch butterfly in its larval stage completely devouring several of our butterfly weed plants.

Plant a Strawberry Patch: Decreasing The Size Of Your Lawn Is Eco-friendly

child strawberry picker

In an area that used to be part of our lawn, I made a garden for my two children. They have used it to grow edibles and things of beauty. This spring/ summer they decided to let the strawberry plants take over most of the growing space. Apparently you can be very tidy with your strawberries and snip off all the runners or you can let the runners do as they will. We like the second method; in which you end up with a beautiful mat of strawberry plants. My kids try to be the first each day to search for the sweet bounty. Growing a strawberry patch in place of some of your yard is twice as sweet: less lawn to mow and fresh local organic fruit besides.

strawberry patch

Here is the kids’ garden.

Robot Costume For Children: Eco-Friendly Fun

friendly robot costume

My daughter and I had a lot of fun making this goofy robot costume. I did all the cutting and she thought of all the embellishments. I love it when she comes up with great ideas on her own. At our robot party, we made sure we took photos of all the kids wearing the costume. The videos were even better.

Here is a cute/ funny video. Someday I hope to do a little video editing to change the sound track to something a robot would dance to.
To make this costume, we took two boxes and cut a hole for the face and another hole for a child’s head to go up into the head box.
This costume was made entirely with recycled items: cardboard boxes, broken calculator (very cool don’t you think?!), bottle tops (make good knobs), broken watch, previously used but clean aluminum foil, antennas (from broken radios)… even the arms were made from a salvaged piece of dryer vent. So many possibilities.
This project took very little time to complete.
We made this costume for a robot party but you can make one for a Halloween costume or anytime the kids have some free time.
You may want to check out our robot building game that doubles as a party favor.