With spring comes nice weather...and not so nice weather. The rainy days of spring can cause almost as much cabin fever as winter. If you find that your young ones are bouncing off the walls, focus their energy into some fun projects that you can work on together.
These activities are great for solo play or if your child has a few friends over to play. They're also fantastic for either gender, and can be made more or less challenging depending on the age and development of the particular child. Best of all? They're all low on mess! Here are five eco-friendly indoor crafts to do with your kids, so they won't have to sit in front of the TV on another rainy day.
1. Prepare your own healthy, edible clay
Clay can be fun to craft with, but it can also make messes and cost a lot. Not to mention, it tends to be made with ingredients and dyes that are bad for the environment. For an environmentally-friendly alternative, head to the kitchen with your kids and whip up a batch of homemade clay. This clay can be dyed with vegetable or fruit puree from the food processor.
The best part? It's 100% edible! Spend some time shaping this clay into animals, cars, or whatever other shapes your kids enjoy, then chow down together. This activity hardly requires any clean up! To start playing and eating, check out the recipe here. It's worth noting that the ingredients can all be substituted with organic versions.
2. Make your own lantern decorations
Looking for a project that's easy for even young kids? What about a craft whose end result can serve a practical purpose? These tin can lanterns are exceedingly simple to create (all you need to start is tin cans and something strong enough to poke holes in it) and can also serve a real function as beautiful decor.
Planning to host a barbecue or other outdoor get together this spring or summer? Have the kids help you make these lanterns to light the tables. Just be sure to supervise closely during both the hole-punching and lantern-lighting portions of this craft. Start making your lanterns with the help of this simple guide.
3. Create your own herbal soaps
Soap may seem like a complicated thing to make for those new to the idea. But the truth is, it's one of the simplest crafts around. And it is particularly suited to kids. How much more fun will bath time be when the kids can use soap that they made themselves?
This eco-friendly herbal soap recipe is simple enough for all ages, and only calls for four ingredients, one of which is the soap mold itself! It's also important to note that there is no need to buy special soap molds to complete this project. Any makeshift mold will do, from measuring cups to cupcake tins.
4. Give back to nature with an upcycled bird feeder
Bird feeders are a wonderful way to observe nature, and in spite of popular opinion, it's not necessary to have a backyard of your own to enjoy the benefits. These bird feeders will draw in feathered friends whether they're hung from a tree, a fire escape, or a balcony. Because they utilize upcycled materials, you and the kids can create them in a variety of colors and styles. And they cost almost nothing to make. Get started by reading this simple how-to guide.
5. Keep your memories safe with vacation mason jars
Scrapbooks and digital pictures are all well and good, but if you want a more tangible way to remember life's precious moments, memory jars can be a great idea. This craft is so simple, it doesn't even require a guide. Just start with some recyclable containers (glass jars work well) and arrange objects inside that tell a story--whatever story you and your kids want to tell.
For example, did you have a fun trip to the beach together? Put some sand in the jar along with some shells you collected, and maybe a piece of paper reading "Beach Trip" or the dates of your vacation. Did you have a great time at the family reunion? Add some printed photos of relatives to the jar, along with some bits of decoration from the event. This craft is especially good for opening conversations with kids about fun things you've done together, as a family.
More from Green Matters
More From Green Matters
Interested in finding out how to use soap nuts in your laundry routine?
This School Cafeteria Is the 'Greenest Restaurant in the World,' So We Interviewed Co-Founder Rebecca Amis
Kristen Bell loves thrift shopping just as much as you do.
Here are five ways to make a difference by going green at the grocery store.