Many of us lead such busy lives that we rarely have the time or energy to plan as much quality family time as we would like to. Kids have school and sports obligations, mom and dad have jobs in or out of the house and by the time all is said and done, how much time has the family really spent together as a unit?

One simple way to accomplish more family ‘together time’ is to make recycling items a family affair. Spend a lazy weekend afternoon with your children by making crafts from unused items around your home. For instance, have the kids go on a scavenger hunt through the house gathering items such as used popsicle sticks, empty toilet tissue and paper towel tubes and tin cans (no sharp edges). Even old magazine pictures could make a fabulous collage or cover one of those tin cans to make a neat pencil cup for their desk! Sit down together at your kitchen table, give them some glue, scissors, colored paper and string and watch the magic happen! It’s a great distraction from the usual videos and computer games and will allow you to interact directly with your children in a fun and creative way.

While your children are crafting their ingenious projects, explain to them why recycling items is so important and what a great job they are doing in helping to achieve a healthier environment. Kids like to know that they can help – and they want to. Sometimes, we as adults don’t remember that. We know that we can do things faster and with greater accuracy than the little ones, but letting them in on this little ‘secret’ will give them a sense of accomplishment and the knowing that they have done something to help in making our world a nicer place to be.

Bank on this Rainy Day Project

Have you ever ‘run out of gas’ trying to think of new ways to entertain the little ones on those rainy days? Did you know that you could turn a coffee can into your child’s first bank? Here’s a simple and creative project that will not only stimulate your child’s imagination, but also give you a chance to spend time together in a creative and fun way.

To start this project, cut a slit in the lid of the coffee can to create a space for them to drop in their money. Next, let the children come up with all sorts of ways to decorate their banks. Construction paper, glitter and glue along with whatever other craft items you might have around the house are perfect for turning those ordinary coffee cans into their very own, fabulous bank!

Let’s face it, kids love having their own money as much as the next guy. With all the bills and change they have collected from completing their chores, what they have been given by visiting relatives, in addition to whatever they have found on the ground, they have probably acquired a nice little ‘nest egg’ for themselves. This self-made coffee can bank project will not only prevent them from driving you crazy with the boredom that so often comes on a rainy day, but will also give them a sense of pride knowing that they have created something very special to hold their earnings.

At the same time you are having fun with this project, you might want to take the opportunity to give them a little lesson: the value of saving and spending as well as recycling items. Then when they have saved up a few bucks from all their hard work, you can reward them for a job well done with a trip to their favorite store (or bank)!

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