Make puzzles from old photos

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My daughter is going through a major puzzle phase lately and I think we have bought all of the puzzles that Target carries. We love recycling stuff so I decided to make her a few puzzles out of some old photos I had left over from scrapbooking. Bonus: she giggles the entire time putting them together because they are silly family photos!

Materials:

  • Cardboard (reuse a cereal or cracker box)
  • Old pictures
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors

Directions:

  • Glue the pictures to the cardboard. If you want a double sides puzzle you can keep the cereal box design as the other side. Make sure to glue every inch down so it doesn’t peel apart
  • Trim excess cardboard from edges
  • Cut into puzzle shapes (If you’re really handy you could glue it to a thin board and cut with a saw. I don’t have a saw so we are sticking with cardboard)

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Turn used pantyhose into toys

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We love to recycle things into toys in our house. It keeps the kids creative thinking caps on, and it also saves some cash. We had a baptism party this weekend and I snagged my nylons beyond repair. Of course we had to come up with something to do with the nylons immediately once we got home.

Here are a few of the ideas we tried:

  • Pantyhose octopus (pictured above): Fill the nylon with cotton balls until you have a good-sized “head”. Then tie off at the neck and cut the base into strips to form the legs. Draw a face on with a sharpie. These are actually really fun to throw at each other!
  • Bean caterpillar: We filled the nylon with dried beans and tied off the stocking every two inches. This made a caterpillar shape and the kids had fun sorting and counting the beans as they put them inside the stocking
  • Snowballs: Fill the stocking with cotton (We reuse the cotton from vitamin containers) and tie the ends. Shape into balls. These are great because they are super lightweight and you can have a “snowball fight” without worrying about breaking stuff in the house!

Stuff we plan to make with the next pair that I destroy…

Repurpose junk into toys

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We try to recycle, reduce and reuse as much as we can. Our latest repurpose was actually discovered by my 18 month old. He found Daddy’s “5 gum” container and quickly tried to eat every piece inside. After throwing all the gum away we let him play with the container because he was OBSESSED. He’s been carrying it around and putting his little toy animals into it all day. After watching him, I realized that it was very similar to those “bug boxes” that I had when I was a kid. Where you catch a bug, put it into the container, and basically watch it die over the course of a few days. I bought one on a field trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota and I’m pretty sure I spent all of my spending money on it (hello markup). Well, now we have a new “bug box” or “animal box”. Whatever you want to call it, its pretty cool and he has been entertained for the past few hours! Give this one a try.

There are so many fun ideas for repurposing or upcycling your junk into toys, here are a few more ideas:

Anyone have any particularly clever creations? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

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