Upcycled Plastic Crafts to Keep Your Kiddos Occupied During COVID




Whether you're accustomed to homeschooling your kids or your family has to adjust to a very different routine, you're probably interacting more with your children now than you have in quite some time. Understandably, any member of your household -- regardless of their age -- may be struggling to adapt to this "new normal." But while school might be closed and playdates may be canceled, that doesn't mean that the learning or the fun has to stop while you're in isolation.

Instead of allowing your kids to spend all day looking at a screen or lounging around, filling the time with a creative craft can be a great way to bond as a family and help your children continue to develop their skills. And with these particular crafts, you can also really put the "waste not, want not" adage to good use. With these ideas, you'll be able to recycle (or "upcycle") the plastic bottles originally used to hold beverages and personal care items for new purposes. Take a look at just three fun DIYs you can try during the pandemic.

DIY Faucet Extenders

With a growing emphasis on hand-washing, cleanliness has never been more important. But if your little one has a tough time reaching the faucet, that can disrupt your plans to keep your kids healthy. Faucet extenders are great for teaching toddlers how to wash up properly, but you don't have to spend money on one. Instead, you can create your own with an empty shampoo or lotion bottle.

Simply cut off the top of the bottle and cut out a hole in the bottom that's just big enough for the head of the faucet to get through. Keep in mind that the faucet needs to be able to go through that part of the bottle and stay there, so don't make that hole too big. Then, cut out an arch from the top of the bottle to an inch or so from the bottom of the bottle on one side. This should leave the inside of the bottle exposed but keep the structure intact. Insert the faucet into the opening in the bottom of the bottle so that water can flow freely into your toddler's hands.

Plastic Bottle Bird Feeders

Watching nature from the safety of the home or the backyard can be a real thrill for your kids. It can also be a great way for your kids to learn when they aren't in school. They can observe those natural wonders by creating bird feeders out of plastic beverage bottles. You probably have some water bottles lying around the house, considering that the synthetic polymers used for these bottles have been in widespread use since 1940. You can keep those bottles out of landfills by repurposing them.

For this project, you'll need a washed-and-dried plastic bottle with a lid or cap; a utility knife; a nut or washer; some strong glue; some twine; a chopstick, unsharpened pencil, or bamboo skewer; and some birdseed (of course). The first steps will need to be handled by an adult, as they involve a sharp object. Poke a hole in the bottom of both the container and its lid or cap with the utility knife. On one side of the bottle, cut out a circle located an inch to half an inch from the bottom that's approximately one inch in diameter. Take your knife and poke a hole beneath that circle before feeding the skewer through the hole until it meets the other side. Once it does, poke a hole through on that side and feed just enough of the skewer through that hole so it can be secured. Use glue (hot glue, preferably) to cover that end of the skewer and hold it in place. The skewer will act as the perch for your bird visitors.

Now, you'll want to cut a length of twine (or string) to around 20 inches in length and tie one end around the washer or nut. Feed the free end through the bottom of the bottle and out through the hole in the cap or lid. Then, close the lid tight and tie a knot to keep the twine in place. You'll then want to add birdseed into the bottom of the bottle through one of the holes. After that, your feeder will be ready to hang up! Be sure to keep the feeder well-stocked for your flying friends and put it in a location that's easy to spot from a window!

Recycled Planters

Quarantine can be a great time to start planting. Not only can plants provide us with a lot of joy and take away our stress, but they can even offer us a source of food. Even if your kids just like to look at succulents or flowers, making some water bottle planters can be an excellent way to teach responsibility and take a closer look at the life cycle.

For this, you'll need scissors or a plastic bottle; an X-Acto knife; a ruler or measuring tape; some muslin fabric; dirt or potting soil; a plant; and a rubber band. To start, mark halfway up on the bottle (somewhere close to the middle is fine) and cut along that line. Remove your bottle's cap and cover the mouth of the bottle with muslin before securing the fabric with a rubber band. Turn the bottle upside down and fill it with dirt or potting soil about half-way up. Then, place your small plant and fill around the edges with more dirt. You should have about an inch of extra space above the dirt at the top of the bottle. Finally, insert that half of the bottle into the other half you cut off and discarded and add some water. Put your new planter on the windowsill or on a table that gets enough sunlight and be sure to water as needed.

With these fun and eco-friendly crafts, you'll be able to keep your kids' interest and put some household items to good use during the pandemic.

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