Re-purposing and crafting with children

Yesterday I introduced my grand daughter to scissors.  She became obsessed with cutting things so today I knew I needed to give her something new to do.  Time for some cardboard and upcycling projects.


I started with some cardboard, destined for the recycling bin, and let her enjoy her scissors, markers, and glue stick. Here are just two of the things she came up with.

things she wanted to eat or thought someone might like to have
things she wanted to eat or thought someone might like to have.  Edges were later colored with markers.
Character from her favorite movie, The Swan Princess
Character from her favorite movie, The Swan Princess

She wasn’t done yet, so I pulled out the old vinyl piece I replaced on my stool.  Using the back side we, or rather she as I wasn’t allowed to help, began to create a very large Santa.


We dug out some old pieces of fabric, some batting remnants and added glue and a stapler to the mix for  her.  The stapler was a new thing to add to the scissors this week.  She glued and stapled batting and fabric on to her vinyl needing to experiment with everything, then cut strips in the beard to look more “real”.

Alleys santa

Not done yet, New Santa had to be introduced to my Santa figurine. Can you spot the figurine checking out the latest creation?


Under the hat at the top I threaded a small piece of yarn and knotted it so her Santa could be hung.  I’m told this is already hanging proudly in her bedroom. Sure glad I didn’t give in and toss the vinyl. Anyone with children around can put together a bag of scraps of all kinds and let them have a day of fun, you may be pleasantly surprised by their creativity, especially if they are older than 4, but this is sure one proud 4 year old, so I guess it would depend on how accepting you are of “imperfect” decorating your home.




    • Yes, the mess. Fortunately, or unfortunately for me she has taken a very strong liking to a desk I am in the process of fixing up to find a home. She just figured out it’s not going to be here long and wants it, but her parents don’t. So while it’s here that’s where her mess stays and easy to clean up. I should have mentioned she arrived today with a small piece of cardboard she found, she colored one side and proudly told everyone she was making art for grandma. She gifted me with it today. It was sweet and made me realize she has already learned trash can be art.


  1. Hi Lois,
    I had a grandmother who was much like you. She encouraged creativity, and before recycling even had a name, she would hang on to scraps of all kinds for me to turn into “art”.

    The best thing she did, and that you’re doing as well, is she gave honor to my art. She didn’t just treat it as junk, but instead would do things like frame my paintings, and display them in her home. Most of time, though, I wanted to take them home for my room.

    My grandmother saw the process as more important than the result, which I think encourages even more creativity, and outside the box thinking.


    • What an amazing grandmother you had! I have dedicated my one door to hold the children’s art when they want to leave something with me and let them make the choice to leave something or take it home. Most of what is up on the door now are things she made at home and bring to gift to me.


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