“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!!


Ultimate Guide to Back-to-School | 2024

In just a few short weeks our kids will be packing up their backpacks and heading back to school again. There are a lot of emotions and a lot of work that goes into...

World Breastfeeding Week: 12 Breastfeeding Tips

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, 2024 What better way to help mothers succeed in nursing than to compile some tried-and-true tips and tricks? I’m no pro, but I have successfully breastfed two babies. I nursed...

Our Top 10 Favorite Back-to-School Books for Kids

Get your little ones ready for the new school year with engaging back-to-school books! These fun reads for kids from preschool through 3rd grade are perfect for easing first-day jitters and sparking excitement about...

Disability Inclusivity

“Treat others as you would want to be treated” Almost everyone hears this phrase starting at a young age. Usually when it has to do with hitting siblings or learning to share at daycare/preschool. As...

Flower Shops & Garden Centers in the Cedar Rapids Area

Looking to brighten up your home or garden? There are so many wonderful flower shops and garden centers in our area that can help you create beautiful spaces. Whether you’re sprucing up your yard,...
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