Turn your children into mini eco-warriors and keep them entertained to boot this half-term holiday by raiding your recycling bin – a treasure trove of goodies for creative kids.
From tin-can robots to egg-box caterpillars and loo-roll rockets, your trash is their treasure. All they need is a healthy dollop of imagination, a recycling bin brimming with household rubbish and a few essential basic tools - because a budding craftsman is only as good as his tool-kit.
From scissors and stamps to paints and paper in every conceivable colour, the IKEA® MÅLA range has everything your pint-sized Picassos could want to help create their mini masterpieces – and good news for parents, they're all safety-tested and washable, so no fear of your walls getting decorated into the bargain.
Can you do the robot?
To kick things off, why not try making a tin-can robot desk-tidy? Yes, a robot that will help your children keep their room tidy is not just a science-fiction fantasy.
Here's what you'll need to transform an empty baked beans can into a shiny, googly-eyed robot with crazy hair, a cheeky smile, and a handy pot for your budding artist to keep all his paints, pens and pencils tidy...
How to make your tin-can robot
1. Wash your can thoroughly then soak off the label with warm, soapy water.
2. To protect little fingers, tape the sharp inner edge of the can with masking tape.
3. Give your robot a daring 'do using a handful of multi-coloured pipe cleaners. Bend and twist them for a head of crazy curls - or create a shaggy mop of hair using coloured shredded paper or coloured tissue paper cut into thin strips with zigzag scissors.
4. For a cheeky face, try a bottle top nose, pom-pom googly eyes and how about an on-trend French moustache made from a pipe-cleaner?
5. Use coloured pens and stamp pens to create your own patterned paper for an out-there outfit for your robot. Scrunched-up tissue paper is great for adding buttons or texture to his clothes.
More crafty recycling tips
Pine-cone parrots: Make the most of Autumn's spoils and head to your nearest green space to collect leaves, pine-cones and conkers. Pine cones make fabulous birds. Simply add googly eyes, a felt triangle beak and a colourful plume of feathers at the back.
Egg box caterpillar: Cut the bottom of an egg box in half, lengthways, and tape both halves together end to end to make one long strip. Draw on a face, stick on two pipe-cleaner antennae and decorate with paints and coloured pens.
Cardboard castle: Toilet rolls make great castle turrets when attached to the corners of a cardboard box. Cut a slit from the edge to the centre of four circles or card to create pointed towers for your turrets then draw in your windows and make you own drawbridge using string.
DIY-wrapping paper: Create your own gift wrap using a roll of plain paper and coloured stamp pens.
Papier-maché fish: Create a cute puffer fish to hang from the bedroom ceiling. Paste discs of colourful tissue-paper to a balloon to make the scales and draw on a face with coloured pens.
Loo-roll rockets: Toilet rolls are the perfect shape to make space rockets. Use a disc of card to create a cone (as above) for the top of the rocket and cut strips of red, orange and yellow tissue paper to create the flames whooshing out from the engine.