Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thrifty Gifts: Recycling Edition

(I plan to save my other Thrifty Gift ideas for a little later in the year, but this one requires a bit of planning, so I'm posting it early.)

When my kids were elementary school aged one of their favorite "toys" involved a box of stuff that easily could have qualified as garbage. And a roll of tape. We called it the junk box (creative group, aren't we?), and it was filled with things like plastic strawberry baskets, toilet paper tubes, small yogurt tubs, bits of yarn, Popsicle sticks, bubble wrap, foam trays (but not meat trays - I don't think you could get them clean enough), Pringle's cans, rubber bands, chenille sticks, oatmeal containers, plastic lids, paper plates, thread spools, old greeting cards, etc.

It was a very fluid inventory, but the one constant was tape. I'd recommend the cheapest cellophane tape you can find and lots of it! Duct tape and packing tape are helpful for projects that need a bit more support, but since the entire cost of this gift is in the tape, you can keep the price pretty reasonable. Put everything in the right sized box and share it with your favorite creative 7-year-old. I happened to find a copy of the book pictured above to jump start some ideas, and there are lots of similar publications if you actually want to spend money on the gift, but really, it's not necessary.

What is it with kids and tape? I'm pretty sure I could not find an intact roll of tape in the house for the first 10 years of my life as a parent. It helped to be able to remind them that their tape was in the junk box.

  • My copy of the book was free from an online book exchange, but it's also available at Amazon.
  • It's not uncommon during the Christmas shopping season for stores to offer great deals on tape (sometimes even free).
DISCLAIMER: Consider your recipient carefully. Not everyone will appreciate you giving their children a box of recycling, but if you know a kindred spirit who will see the potential, this is a fun, creative idea. I have a godson who's 5, so I'm just saving the choicest pieces of junk so far, but in a couple year I know he's going to LOVE it!

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