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Repurposing old toys is a great way to be eco-friendly, whilst also being cost-efficient - so why not encourage the little ones to get involved in one of our 13 tips?
There are lots of ways that you can create new things from old and in crafty ways that you know your children will enjoy. Some kids will want to get involved with painting whilst others will enjoy sewing and fabric crafts! Either way, there are so many ways for you to extend the lives of your old toys and to make new and exciting things.
Toy wreath: this is a lovely way to commemorate the old favourite toys - by creating a wreath featuring all of the classics that want to be remembered and hung up. You can either use a wreath template from a craft store or just use a cut-out cardboard circle from a box. Then you can start to gather the toys that are considered important. Involve your kids by letting them choose pieces they’ve grown out of and ask them for ideas on how to use them to make the DIY wreath. Then, arrange the toys on the wreath and attach with a strong glue. The toys may be spray-painted to suit their bedroom decor (a coat of bright colour can look great) or left as is.
Jewellery stand: for any older kids who love jewellery - it is easy to make a jewellery stand out of old dollhouse items! This is another great way for kids to learn to get thrifty, by making a new and bespoke item out of old toys. Using little chairs or other wooden items in the dollhouse and wood glue, stick them together to form a tower as tall as you want! If your kids are naturally creative and eager to make this idea, allow them to pile up a bunch of mismatched dollhouse pieces or plastic toys as they wish. This one is a really crafty trend at the moment - and kids will treasure items for so much longer if they have the attachment of having made it themselves!
Animal snow globes: this one is perfect for older kids as it is a little trickier and more fiddly. Start by getting them to find a small toy that has run its course – and explain to them that to keep the memories alive - you can turn it into a new glitter snow globe! After choosing an appropriate toy, grab a jar or clear plastic pot of some sort and waterproof super glue or epoxy. Glue the animal to the inside of the lid using the waterproof adhesive and let it dry. Then, fill the glass jar almost to the top, and add a few drops of glycerin and some glitter. Use the adhesive to secure the jar lid to the jar – allow to dry before turning over and shaking up the snow! This is one that will be displayed on the bedside cabinet for years to come!
Toys into home decor: if you're looking to redecorate as well as repurpose your old toys - try using one of these ideas to turn toys into useful home-related items, such as hanging hooks for jackets and bags, or pictures/ornaments!
Colourful candles: for older kids who want to have new candles in their rooms to create a relaxing retreat, or if they wish to decorate their lounge or playroom - why not get them to repurpose their old crayons? Any family with children are bound to have lots of broken crayons. So transform these otherwise wasted sticks of wax into new candles! Gather all of the broken or nearly finished crayons from around the house, candle wax and wicks, and use a small jar of some sort - make sure that they aren't plastic. Remove any leftover paper from the crayons. Then, fill a suitable cup or bowl with the wax and microwave for around one minute. Ensure all of the wax is fully melted, then pour a thin layer of the wax into the bottom of each jar and secure the candle wick in the centre pointing up. Once the wax has hardened, begin melting other colour crayons. With each layer, let cool for about a minute and then pour on a new layer of colour. Before long you've got little handmade candles - which could also be good as gift ideas.
DIY knife block: use your old (thicker) children's books to make memorabilia for the kitchen. Simply pick some unique books in your favourite colour scheme and tie them together tightly (and glue to ensure they don't slide) to create the perfect home for all your kitchen knives. You can create different colour schemes based on the room and you can even make them to sell or give away! Since books often don't have much of resale value, another idea you can do with your books is to cut a square hole through all of the pages to make a secret box to hide little things or a toy from siblings! After all, a hollowed-out book is an age-old space to hide valuables - so why not bring this idea back to life for the little ones' bedrooms?
Lego ideas: have you got an abundance of lego lying around the house that your children have grown out of? Then it might be time to show them this video - where they can learn to make useful things out of their old toys. This is a fun and easy way for the kids to build upon skills that they already have - to get creative and to understand the process of how to design and make something!
Toy holder hanging basket: choose old toys that the children used to love and add them to a hanging basket that you have decorated. Try spraying each toy a pretty colour so that the overall effect will look like a hanging basket of flowers. Then, when they're dry secure down all of the old plastic toys in the basket using a strong glue. When you're finished, hang it in the house or the garden - if you wish to waterproof it for outdoor use, try a clear lacquer spray that will ensure the colours stay looking pretty!
Or, for more great ideas, take a look at these other methods of repurposing your old things!
Grow plants in old toys: take a large plastic toy that is no longer played with and create a fun plant pot for growing experiments! With a coat of spray paint and a new purpose, this idea will ensure that your toys stand the test of time!
Drinking cups: encourage your kids to make a cool drinks bottle to take to school and show off their crafts to their friends, using this cool idea.
Candleholders: if a sibling's birthday is coming up - why not try to make one of these candles using old toys? Anything plastic will work for this idea and it is easy and fun to do. Teach them to be thoughtful and creative in their gift-giving!
Fridge magnets: most families will have fridge magnets in their kitchen - and this is a way to ensure that you have your own one-of-a-kind, unique items! Try following this tutorial to create your own fun magnets using old toys that would otherwise be thrown away.
Smartphone holder: if your kids are lucky enough to own a smartphone - why not encourage them to try to create this idea? Repurposing an old toy into a new item to go with their phone will also help to keep their eyes off the screen for the afternoon!
Originally from Bournemouth, Annabelle spent her childhood travelling and exploring. She moved to Bahrain at the age of 13 and then to London at 19 where she attended Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. She loves all things creative - especially if they involve recycling materials, as this is what she is most passionate about. Aside from art, Annabelle also enjoys walking her dogs and cooking for friends and family.