Category Archives: children’s activities (recycled materials)

Make Your Own Clipboards Out Of Scrap Pieces Of Wood And Reuse The Backs Of Office Paper

To make your own clipboard, you will need to find a thin scrap board. If it isn’t the right size, you will have to cut it to fit standard office paper. If you don’t want to bother cutting your board, ask around until you find something approximately the right size. Paint it with spare paint from your shed or leave it natural. When it dries completely, attach a clip like the one in the photo. The clips can be found at office supply stores.

Clipboards like these have a lot of uses. Drawing is just one.

If you are using your clip board to leave messages you may want to attach a pencil to your clipboard with a piece of string or ribbon. This clipboard was made from the top of a wooden box of liquor and the string was found at a second hand store.

Also see: Adding pictures to clipboard clips, salvaged laminate flooring clipboards, and using clipboards to display children’s artwork.


Nature’s Treasures, Collect Responsibly

Collecting nature’s treasures such as wildflowers, butterflies, and seashells can be both fun and educational. However, sometimes collecting can hurt the very species that we admire most. Use good moral judgment when collecting. Being conservative may be sufficient, but in some cases it is better to take only pictures. A rare item can be more attractive, but if it is a living organism, removal can be environmentally harmful. Solution, take digital photos!

Do you love wildflowers? I do. But did you know that many species are threatened or endangered? If you don’t know which flowers are safe to take, better to collect photos not flora. Also, teach children not to pick any plant in public areas. Explain to them the cumulative effects of everyone picking just one flower at frequently visited places. Remember that these public spaces are something we all share. So every plant, flower, and butterfly is something that belongs to us all.

Photo of Trillium flower I took in Virginia.
Trillium flowers are unique. Picking the flower of a trillium plant removes its only leaves. The plant needs these leaves to make its food and it will be left seriously weakened. Collect photos not flora.

Collecting seashells at the seashore is a wonderful pastime. It never gets old. When collecting specimens remember to never take shells that belong to a living creature: obviously. In addition, never strip the area of shells as they are future homes for hermit crabs and other critters. Hermit crabs are part of the food chain. Having said that, enjoy gathering all the “treasures” you can find but when it is time to leave, pick only your favorites. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt, but let your conscience be your guide in choosing what to keep. And why not be the first to have a photo collection of shells?

Here is some of the “loot” we collected one day at the beach. When it was time to go home, we picked out our favorites and put the rest back.
Want to know how we made this fun collecting bucket? Fun In The Making shows you how. http://

You could use a net to capture butterflies as they frequent the flowers around your yard, but the greatest care must be taken to prevent injury and they should be promptly released after a close-up look. Alternatively, photos are a harmless way of collecting. The challenge of photographing different butterflies may become a passion of yours resulting in many peaceful hours spent in lovely gardens. Sounds good to me!

My kids and I raised caterpillars and this is the butterfly that one transformed into. We kept this beautiful butterfly just long enough to snap a few pictures. Gather photos not fauna.

Recycle Your Plastic Laundry Detergent Bottles Into Cool Beach Buckets And Scoops.

Thinking about buying a bucket and shovel for the kids before your summer vacation to the beach? Why not make your own and save money while reducing waste. MYO bucket is a quick summer project.

Treasure collecting bucket with shoulder strap.

Treasure hunt.

Future marine biologists can use their buckets to study sea critters. Whether observing a jellyfish’s movements or learning how a crab walks, these recycled plastic buckets are perfect.

These scoops are great for making sandcastles. No need for a shovel.

Fun in the sun.


  1. Do a little dumpster diving (look through your own or a friends recycle bin). Search for brightly colored plastic bottles of different sizes.
  2. Cut off the top of the bottle to make a bucket or the bottom to make a scoop. A box cutter works well but can be dangerous (adult use only). In most cases I found that scissors worked just as well.
  3. Find a piece of thin rope. I salvaged a piece of rope from an old tent that was destined for the dump.
  4. Make a hole (on the side opposite the handle) with a nail and thread the rope through it. Next use the bowline knot to secure it. Make another loop with the bowline knot attached to the existing handle of the bottle. Don’t know how to make a bowline knot? Fun In The Making shows you how. How-to: Bowline knot.
  5. Have a wonderful summer exploring at the beach!

Children’s Play-kitchen Seasonings: Ideas For Spicing Up Imaginative Play

How to:
Second-hand salt and pepper shakers come in a wide variety of styles. When my children were small, they played with a cute set of lemon and lime salt and pepper shakers that we found at a yard sale. They enjoyed using them when pretending to picnic. See what you can find. Be sure to place a piece of paper at the top to prevent the contents from really coming out. In addition, glue the covers on them. Now children can act it out without the mess.
Donate a few out of date spices to the play kitchen’s pantry. This cinnamon shaker smells so good that kids will want to “make” cinnamon toast. You will need to put a piece of scrap white paper under the plastic piece that the cinnamon would normally sprinkle out of and glue in place.
Empty spice jars can be filled with a variety of items such as rice, popcorn, or tiny pasta… Just choose something that will not fit through the little holes at the top when your son or daughter is cooking up a pot of soup. Also, choose something that makes a nice sound when shaking; it’s just more fun that way. These glass jars have great sound but use your own judgment as far as safety.
Imaginary sprinkles can simply be made by adding colorful beads to an old spice holder. What kid doesn’t like sprinkles?

*Be aware that beads and other small objects can be a choking hazard. This project is meant for children who are old enough for imaginary play.

Do You Suffer From Game Clutter?

Four game boxes.
Game clutter.

I condensed these four games into one box. I put each game’s cards and pieces in its own reused, yet clean, self sealing plastic bag. I use new plastic bags sparingly and reuse them for non-food storage jobs like this or for craft supplies etc…

I recently decided to do something about my game clutter. I didn’t pay a lot for the games because most of them are second hand; however, we had to many. First I picked out a few to give to charity. Then I realized that I could condense several games into one box. Why do game companies insist on putting games in an unnecessarily large box? Alright, you need to fit in the playing board granted but why does the board need to be so big? Some actually do make an effort and have the board folded in four parts. I think they give us a big box so we will think we are getting something more/ better.

We enjoy playing games as a family and especially when company comes over. Yet, keep in mind that Milton Bradley did not invent Charades. It is so much fun and you don’t need any special equipment or even the boxed game.

How-to Play
is a game that someone acts out a word and everyone else tries to guess what that word is. Sometimes people divide into teams and keep score. To keep it fair, everyone thinks of a word and writes it on a scrap of paper and puts it into a hat. When it is your turn, you randomly pick from the hat. That way you will not intentionally pick really hard words because your team is just as likely to get that word. Also, if someone is acting out the word you put into the hat, be honest and don’t call out the answer. The actor is not supposed to talk or make sound affects but we aren’t particularly strict especially when playing with young children.
Alternate play; take turns acting out an action or event and have people guess. This can be really funny!

Guess what I’m drawing games like Win, Lose or Draw and Pictionary are like Charades only you draw instead of act. You will need a few supplies; some scrape paper and pencils or a chalk board and chalk. For really large groups a picture easel works well. Another great idea is to save last year’s desk calendar and use the backs for drawing the pictures.

When playing, feel free to make up your own house-rules. When no one can guess the correct answer, we allow clues.

Have fun!