We want to give the best life to our kids. Toys, books, bags, trendiest clothes, cycles, gadgets – we don’t want them to feel deprived. We don’t hesitate once to provide them with materials that will feed their imagination – crayons, chart paper, computer paper, water colours, glitters, glue…
In our well meaning intentions, we sometimes forget that we may also be encouraging the kids to generate immense amount of waste. Paper once scribbled may go into the dustbin in a jiffy, those plastic toys will stop interesting them in a matter of days, bottles of poster colours are emptied in a couple of afternoon activities and tossed in the bin. Why, don’t we keep telling them to clear clutter from their desks, keep the rooms clean. Well, this is a good habit to instill but what about the bigger consequences of first creating all that mess and then dumping it all in the dustbin in the name of clearing clutter? Are we actually clearing
the cutter or just adding more and more mess to our eco-system…?
It’s high time we encouraged our kids to start reusing, recycling, upcycling, buying less and hence generating less waste. Before I delve deeper into this topic, let’s have a quick look at this somewhat lesser known and even less understood term – *upcycle. Upcycling is similar to recycling in that we take something (that we may otherwise throw away) and revamp it into a new form for continued use. Read more about it in my previous post…
Reusing, upcycling – all this can be a lot of fun and deeply satisfying. I will share a few experiences from my effort to reuse old stuff and ingrain this spirit of creating ‘treasure from trash’ in my 3+ daughter – Pari. These are some small things that are now becoming habit forming with us.
1. Revamp old clothes (and no, you don’t need to know sewing for this!)
Instead of buying more and more clothes for the preschoolers and growing children, we can give them a project to revamp their old clothes. It may be as simple as doing some block printing using some fabric colours.
In the picture, Pari (my daughter) and I revamped her old white T Shirt last year by printing ladyfinger cross sections in the Indian flag colours – saffron and green. She was thrilled to bits to see the new look of her T Shirt and infact she wore it for the Independance Day celebrations in her playschool the next day. ater on she went on to colour her father’s old T Shirt as well which he would proudly wear outside during his weekend activities.
2. Good old slate and chalk
For practising aphabets, numbers etc, our older generation relied on the cheap and simple slate and chalk/cacium carbonate pencils.
That practise has somewhat diwndled these days. Come to think of it, a simpe slate can save tons of paper being wasted everyday for these writing practise sessions with the kids.
3. Pamphlets, hand-outs, greeting cards – more useful that you ever thought!
For Pari’s nursery craft projects like “collage of my favourite things”, or “summer/winter/spring collage”, we generally need picture cuttings. I have realized that instead of wasting magazines by cutting out pics for those projects, its a nice idea to save the pamphlets, ad insertions, greeting cards, hand outs in the malls etc. They aways come in handy when looking for pictures of food, veggies, fruits, places, buildings, toys, dresses, festivals etc.
4. Make puzzle out of card board box!
Cut out a not-so-complicated cartoon/picture from any magazine or newspaper. Glue it onto the cardboard. With a very sharp utility knife, you can cut this into pieces to make a homemade puzzle.
5. Old waste materials as tools for painting.
We don’t have to buy expensive paint brushes every now and then for the preschoolers. Old tooth brushes, straws, icecream sticks, tooth picks, feathers – all these make for great brushes/tools to make some unique art work and paintings.
I will keep adding to this list as and when I come up with newer ideas. Do share from your experience in the comments section.
I need help sustaining this blog…
Dear blog readers – It’s been exactly eight years now that I’ve been writing on this blog! Yes, eight long years and hundreds of articles. From art, creativity and learning to food, health, gardening, travel, sustainable and mindful living, natural birth – in our un-schooling life, as we go on introspecting, questioning and evolving, I’ve strived to share our stories and experiences with as much honesty, care and sincerity as possible.
The most important thing for me is to keep this blogging endeavour authentic and true to my values. This blog has been my sacred space to express, share, feel empowered and contribute. Hence, I do not like to support businesses that don’t align with my values. So far, I’ve rarely taken sponsorship from brands and companies. I haven’t placed any ads on my blog, though there have been multiple offers.
Infact, I’d like to keep this blog ad free unless something truly meaningful comes across.
Yet, there’s a cost to running this blog. The basic cost of keeping the domain alive, and hosting all this content on. I spend roughly INR 10,000 (USD 173) just to keep this blog up and running. So, I need to cover this cost. Plus, it’d be nice to bring in some income for our family of four. And, this is where I request your support.
If you find my articles and stories useful or inspiring at some level, please help me sustain. Starting from 1 dollar to whatever you can, do consider donating for the content I share; the time and effort I put. Your support will go a long way in keeping this blog (of 8+ years) sparkling with stories for many more years to come. Thank you, dear ones. I’ll value what you’ll gift with love and kindness. :-)
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