Instead of shopping for new educational toys, your kids may learn and have more fun creating new toys out of old household junk.
Though our nurseries are already full of toys, it seems like our little ones are always looking for something new to play with. As parents, we understand that this is because bub needs stimulating toys and learning materials for their overall development.
And as much as we would love to provide them with all the best educational toys we can find, shopping for new ones isn’t exactly a budget-friendly option. It’s also not very environmentally-friendly, since it ultimately leads to more waste, no matter how much we recycle. Well, that’s where upcycling comes in!
Try upcycling old household items or scrap materials into new toys
Rather than buying something new from the toy shop, you can try creating educational toys using used or unwanted items from your home. Not only are you doing the environment (and your wallet) a great favour, you can involve the kids in the upcycling process – which is a great learning experience in itself!
5 ways you can repurpose scrap into new learning materials for bub
1. Toilet paper binoculars
Got a little explorer at home? Equip them with a pair of binoculars! All you need is:
- 2 toilet paper rolls
- Cellophane tape
- Some coloured paper, preferably in bub’s favourite colours
Tape the 2 toilet paper rolls together, then carefully cut a small hole on the exposed sides of the rolls. Tie each end of the string through the holes. After that, simply decorate the ‘binoculars’ with pieces of coloured paper – and your little one is ready for some exploring around the neighbourhood!
2. Stomp painting
This will probably be your kid’s favourite way of creating art. For this you’ll need:
- Bubble wrap
- Mahjong paper or drawing paper
- Paper plate
- Cellophane tape
- Lots of paint!
Cover the activity area with some newspaper before laying the mahjong or drawing paper. Place the bubble wrap around bub’s feet so they look like socks, then tape them securely. Get bub to choose their favourite paint to be placed on the paper plates. Finally, let them dab their bubble-wrapped feet on some paint and let the stomping begin!
3. Cardboard city
Wooden and plastic building blocks aren’t the only things kids can use to build cities and forts. Prepare some:
- Cardboard boxes
- Cellophane tape
- Marker pen
The beauty of this activity is that there are no fixed steps – let your kid’s imagination run free by letting them build their own house, fort, or city from the cardboard boxes you have at home. All you need to do is lend them a helping hand with cutting and taping the pieces together.
4. Ring toss game
Now this is a game that both you and bub can compete in. Just put together some:
- Used plastic bottles
- Paper plates
- Paint or crayons
Cut out the middle parts of the paper plates, leaving just the rims. Then, colour the plates with your chosen paint or crayons. Line up the plastic bottles on an elevated platform and make sure to leave enough space between them for the plates to land on. Now, start tossing and see who gets the most bottles!
5. Tin can drums
Maybe you have an aspiring musician at home who may appreciate making their own percussion instruments. Put together some:
- Used and cleaned tin cans
- Rubber band
- Green beans
- Drum sticks
Fill each empty tin can with rice, pebbles, green beans, or sand. Cut the end off the balloons and use the upper half to cover each tin can. Use an elastic band to tie the balloon in place. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a performance by your little one!
What your kids can learn from upcycling
On top of being a heap of fun, involving your kids with upcycling is a good way to educate them about sustainability. Showing them how to repurpose old and unwanted items in the house teaches them the importance of taking care of the environment by minimising waste.
Besides that, upcycling also encourages kids to be creative and think outside the box. Every piece of scrap material can be used to create a new toy, an appliance, or even a special gift for mummy and daddy.
How Children’s Cove incorporates upcycling into their students’ learning
Singapore’s own Children’s Cove Preschool uses a unique C.O.V.E approach as their teaching methodology: Child-Centred, Outcome-Aware, Value-Based, and Environmentally-Conscious. This means that students are encouraged to explore and learn from their surroundings, supplemented with academic lessons that are not just relevant but build character as well.
Upcycling is one of the many activities that kids are exposed to during their lessons at Children’s Cove. With guidance from the teachers, they are shown ways to repurpose things from inside the classroom as well as from the grounds of the campus. A piece of leaf can be used to create an artistic masterpiece; and discarded water bottles can be learning materials during the next Science lesson. The opportunities are endless!
Interested to learn more about Children’s Cove Preschool? They offer programmes for children from as young as 2 months old all the way to 6 years-old. Learn more about the preschool’s C.O.V.E approach via their website, or book a visit to any of their four campuses.
This post is in partnership with Children’s Cove