Nothing New But Incredibly Reusable

I have been working hard to keep my kids from claiming the dreaded boredom.  Though I have not been 100% successful, it has not been a continual litany.  So far the “I’m bored” tally since summer break began is still in the low double digits.  This is a great surprise even to me.

Part of this is owing to field trips to zoos and museums, as well as various summer festivals and activities.  The other part of my summer anti-boredom plan has been the liberal use of Art Time.  I have a fully stocked supply bunker of art supplies thanks to clearance shopping, fabulous grandparents, smart friends and my own application of recycle, reduce, and reuse.

Recycling is generally accepted now as no big deal, and recycle bins are easily located in many public places as well as collected from many homes.  Many companies are getting smarter about how they package their products to allow for recycling of their already reduced packaging.  This just leaves me, the humble consumer–and frugal mother–the creative task of reusing whatever I can.

Here are my top three reusable items this summer.

Nothing New But Incredibly ReusableEgg Cartons:  If you remember from your school days, this one is nothing new.  Those handy styrofoam egg cartons are perfect finger or tempera paint holders.  I prefer the 18 count egg cartons because my family goes through a lot of eggs (eggs for breakfast, used in baking, etc.).  I like to cut the cartons into thirds giving each kid their own 6 color paint holder.  The lids can be used for mixing paints to create new colors.

Nothing New But Incredibly Reusable 2Brown Packing Paper:  This one isn’t that easy to come by so when it does show up I am one extremely happy mother.  In some large boxes that come from those fabulous grandparents I mentioned there is often a lot of packaging material.  Bubble wrap is reused for other packaging, cardboard is recycled, but that wonderful brown packing paper–the thin kind inside the box, not the thick kind wrapped around it–is perfect for art time.  At 30 inches wide and perforated every 8 inches, yet twisted and wadded in one continual piece, this is the best reuse treasure ever!  It requires careful untwisting and flattening, but once done I like to make 30 x 16 inch pieces for the kids to paint or draw on.  This paper also works in lieu of newspaper for laying out on the table to do other art projects on.

Nothing New But Incredibly Reusable 3Plastic Candy Containers:  A very popular candy-coated mini-chocolate bites come in these plastic tubes.  These plastic candy containers are perfect to use for pocket money.  The best is when you fill them full of quarters, which they fit perfectly.  I fill them full of spare change so that when we go somewhere the kids want to squish a penny or buy something from a vending machine I just pull one out and hand it over.  It’s become so routine that my daughter even thinks ahead and tries to make sure she has the right coins for what she might want when we are making our plans.

What are some of your favorite reusables?

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