Marye Audet

DCL

Coming up with green crafts to do with your kids can make a rainy day more tolerable, build family relationships, or both. My kids love to make things and when the crafts encourage them to think more about nature and the environment I am one happy mom.

One thing that I like to do is to keep supplies on hand so that as soon as I hear those first few syllables of "Mom, I'm bored!", the materials can be pulled out for an afternoon of creativity. Here are 16 of the best green crafts to do with your kids that I know of. Spend some time building those bonds, they grow up a lot faster than you think.

Let the crafting begin!

1. Make a Worm Farm

If you have some Mason jars sitting around you can be an excellent worm farm. Kids like bugs and worms, and they can learn a lot by observing how worms change their environment for the better. Making a worm farm is easy to do. This craft works well with preschoolers on up as long as they have a little help. If you can't find any worms in your yard you can buy them anywhere that carries fishing supplies.

Materials:

- Quart size jar

- Sand

- Dark colored potting soil

- Compost - Funnel - Worms - Paper or fabric Instructions: 1. Using the funnel pour a few inches of sand into the jar. 2. Top the sand with an equal amount of potting soil 3. Continue with the layers until you get to the shoulder of the jar; the place where the sides curve in to the mouth 4. If you look at the jar you should see even layers, like stripes 5. Put a couple of worms in the jar 6. Cover them with a layer of compost 7. Mist the compost with water 8. Wrap the jar with a couple of layers of newspaper or fabric. You will want to keep it dark. In a few days you can remove the paper and see how the worms have changed the composition of the soil. Either continue taking care of the worms or let them go in your garden. 2. Birdseed Ornaments These are best for cooler weather because in the heat they just melt into seed filled puddles of fat. They are great cheap, Christmas gifts that kids can make for grandparents and teachers. My kids used to give these to their grandparents every year along with a subscription to Birds and Blooms magazine. Use organic ingredients in these. It's healthier for the birds, too. Materials: - Organic wild birdseed - 1 cup organic peanut butter (crunchy works well) - 1 lb. of vegetable shortening - ½ cup of oatmeal - ½ cup of cornmeal - ½ cup of raisins - Metal cookie cutters or molds (Tuna cans with both ends removed work fine.) - Twine Instructions: 1. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment, waxed paper or a silicon sheet like Sil-pat. Set aside. 2. Melt the vegetable shortening and the peanut butter over low heat, stirring constantly. 3. When the mixture is completely melted and blended add the remaining ingredients and stir to coat. 4. Spoon the warm mixture into the molds. 5. Let cool and then chill in the refrigerator or freezer until firm. 6. Remove the cake from the mold. You may need to warm the outside of the mold a little. 7. Poke a knitting needle through the top to make a hole. 8. Insert twine and knot into a loop. 9. Hang outside for the birds to enjoy. 3. Fridge Pockets You can use the back pockets from jeans or other casual pants. You can also use that mitten that lost the matching mitten. One great way to use these is to have one for each member of the family. They can be stuck to a magnetic board and hung in the kitchen. Notes, treats, and information can be tucked into the pockets. Materials: - Back pockets cut from old jeans, leaving the pocket intact - Scraps from the sewing basket, fabric paint, buttons for embellishment - Magnetic strips (available in craft stores) - Hot glue Instructions: Cut the pocket from the pants. Embellish it with buttons, lace, ribbon, or other scrap items. Paint the name or a title on the front such as: coupons, chores, Mom, etc. Hot glue the magnetic strip to the back of the pocket. 4. Play Clay from Dryer Lint You can make modeling clay from dryer lint pretty easily. You probably have everything to make it in your home right this minute, unless tomorrow is your laundry day. Materials: - 3 cups dryer lint - 2 cups water - 1 cup flour - 1/8 teaspoon of vegetable oil Instructions: Add to a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. It will bind together. Cool and use to make ornaments using candy or soap molds, or make free form sculptures. Allow to dry for one week and then paint. More Top Green Crafts to Do with Your Kids That Won't Break the Bank 5. Thanksgiving Crafts has several ideas for crafting decorations for your autumn table. 6. Dragonfly habitat with a landing area encourages dragonflies into your garden to eat up mosquitoes. 7. Build a drop spindle from old CDs and learn to spin fiber into yarn. 8. Make paper out of recycled egg cartons. 9. Even the smallest children can make these creepy spiders out of egg cartons. 10. How about a cool Capri Sun coin purse made from the juice pouches? 11. Build a solar pizza box oven and learn to cook with free power. 12. Build a bat house with this .pdf file and allow these predators to eradicate your mosquito problem. 13. Build a butterfly house to shelter delicate butterflies from harsh weather. 14. Make a Kachina doll from a toilet paper tube and a ping pong ball. 15. Make a rain stick and enjoy the relaxing sounds from this South American instrument. 16. Learn to fold paper cranes from all kinds of scrap papers.