“Trash”-terpieces: Creating Art from Found Things

"Trash"-terpiece! Channeling Your Inner Oscar

Did anyone else remember that classic Oscar aria about his love for garbage?  Dude has a serious infatuation with all things discarded and I blame him for my children’s love for raiding the recycling bin.  I recently had a friend over and rather than playing with the plethora of toys at their disposal, our toddlers raided the recycle bin and were infinitely entertained.  Figures.

Winter has come in like a lion and we are starting to hunker down for the season in the comfort of our homes.  I don’t know about you, but cabin fever is strong in my family.  Finding things to keep the kids entertained that don’t involve destroying my house or looking at a screen is quite the task.  Creating ‘trash-terpieces’ out of the things we already have, plus some simple craft supplies (tape, glue sticks, scissors, markers/crayons, etc), keeps kids busy and having fun.

If trash-terpieces are new to you, here are a couple of great resources to get those creative juices flowing:

Not a Box and Not a Stick (by Antoinette Portis): These books are easy reads that detail how a box is not just a box, and a stick is not just a stick, but wildly creative tools meant for adventure.

@recycleandplay on Instagram: Scroll away, friends.

Red Ted Art‘s video on crafts out of waste: Youtube is a treasure trove of ideas on how to use everyday items for crafting.

Random Item Crafts: I CANNOT be the only one with an odd collection of lonely left socks.  Grab some buttons and markers and in no time you’ll have an entire sock family just in time to find the match to the lonely left socks.

My 8 year old loves 5-minute crafts, and while their crafts don’t *always* work out in real life, some of them do and turn out really cool.  My 3-year-old is ready to put on a show with her paper towel tube microphone which also doubles as a telescope for when she decides to be a pirate.

Selah with one of her many trash-terpieces

Still not sure where to start?

Look for some common items most of us have lying around at various times of the year: Toilet paper/paper towel rolls, clamshells from fruits like strawberries, tin cans (take a nail file to the edges to avoid cuts to little fingers), egg cartons, yogurt cups, and paperboard from cereal boxes.  The Wednesday circulars are great for protecting the kids’ work surface and comes in quite handy when littles want to practice cutting.

Now, a little disclaimer from a fellow control-freak.  I’ve found that hovering over my kids with all the great ideas I’ve gathered makes us all super frustrated.  I read a great article about valuing process over product when it comes to doing art projects (I’ll include it here) and it helps me feel a little better about leaving the kids to their own devices and see what they come up with.

Yes, my house is probably messier for giving the kids free reign of the recycling bin. But watching their creativity come to life and knowing they’re building valuable skills for life makes this Oscar-loving mama’s heart happy.

Stay crafty, my friends ❤

Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog post: sign up to receive Cedar Rapids Moms posts in your inbox.  While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms events and promotions!!


Mother’s Day Brunch & Events | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Celebrate Mother's Day in Cedar Rapids with a delightful brunch and a range of exciting events! Treat the special moms in your life to a memorable day filled with delicious food, fun activities, and...

Where to go Bowling | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Whether you're a seasoned pro or just looking for a fun night out, Cedar Rapids offers a range of bowling alleys to suit every style and skill level. From family-friendly atmospheres with bumper lanes...

3 Tips for Spring Allergy Management

As the vibrant colors of spring emerge, so do seasonal allergies, casting a shadow over the joy of the season for many. Here are 3 practical tips and strategies for moms and children to...

Spring Community Garage Sales in the Cedar Rapids Area

Spring in Cedar Rapids brings not only blossoming flowers and warmer breezes but also the eagerly awaited season of community garage sales. These local gatherings go beyond mere shopping opportunities, serving as lively reflections...

5 Tips for Container Gardening with Your Toddler

We’re officially in gardening season. Now, my thumb isn’t as green as I’d like it to be, but I still enjoy it. I’ve grown everything from strawberries, jalapenos and tomatoes to purple heirloom peppers,...
Join our community.
Be the first to know about new resources, can't-miss happenings, and new blog articles! 
Yay, we're so glad you're here! Keep an eye on your inbox