New Uses for Old Things: Kids Edition
Cereal Box as Sweets Carrier
Attention, PTA members: Here’s a practical Transport Alternative for the bake sale. Tape a cereal box closed, then cut away the front or back panel to create a tray for those top-selling brownies. Best of all, you can just "donate" the box.
Scratched CD as Paint Palette
When you're working on an art project, dab the colors you need onto a CD. (Place one finger in the hole to keep the CD stable.)
Chopsticks as Glue Stick
To get a tiny sequin in just the right spot during your next craft project, use the tip of a chopstick to nudge it into place without gumming up your fingers.
Electrical Tape as Chair Decorator
Liven up a child’s chair with colorful stripes. (Use lead-free or plastic tape.)
Cotton Balls as Teddy-Bear Stuffing
Has Paddington ripped and lost his padding? To add fluff, cram cotton balls behind the torn seam, then stitch him back up.
Button as Necklace Pendant
Have one special button? Thread it onto a thin chain or a delicate piece of ribbon for a standout necklace.
To-Go Container as Paint Palette
Even a starving artist eats takeout sometimes. Use the plastic top from a to-go container as a palette for mixing colors; when you’re finished, just toss.
Cereal Box as Photo Saver
Sending Grandpa a shot of the all-star soccer team but don't want the postal journey to bend it (like Beckham)? Sandwich the picture between the large panels of a flattened box.
Shower Curtain Liner as Child’s Smock
Finger-painting on the day’s agenda? Cut a new shower curtain liner in half or in fourths, and then cut a hole in the center for your little one’s head to pop through.
Birthday Candles as Valentine’s Day Card
Turn a birthday party prop into a loved one's bright spot on February 14. All you'll need to make this card is a blank note card, glue, and a felt tip marker.
Matchbook as Valentine’s Day Card
Once you've found your perfect match, it's easy to turn sentiments into handmade crafts. Start with a blank note card, glue, and a felt tip marker.
Playing Card as Valentine’s Day Card
When the stakes are high, you'd bet your money (and your heart) on this guy. Start with a blank note card, glue, and a felt tip marker.
Puzzle Pieces as Valentine’s Day Card
For the one who lights up your life, create a card that'll be for keeps. Start with a blank note card, glue, and a felt tip marker.
See more homemade valentines.
Glass Jar as Arts and Crafts Organizer
Kids can see inside the glass jars to find what they’re looking for, from crayons to pompoms. Leave off the lids for extra long supplies, like pipe cleaners or colored pencils.
Wrapping Paper as Placemat
Turn rectangles of giftwrap into placemats you don’t mind getting dirty. You can even write guests’ names on the edges to designate seats.
Turkey Baster as Pancake Shaper
Use a baster full of batter to squeeze custom pancakes onto the griddle. Start with easy letters and shapes, then work up to more complicated designs, like these leaves. (The trick is to draw the outlines and veins first, let them brown, then fill in the gaps with more batter.)
Stickers as Book Labels
Hey, math can be colorful! Wrap textbooks in simple paper and use alphabet stickers to label the spines.
Colander as Toy Scoop
One of the most popular kitchen tools also happens to double as a clean-up aid. Before draining the tub, use a colander to make scooping up small toys fun and easy.
Kazoo as Place Card
Ready to blow it out at your next dinner party? Use a permanent marker to write guests’ names on kazoos to designate seats—perfect for New Year’s Eve.
Shoelace as Ribbon
Happy birthday, sport! Use a (clean) shoelace for a simple, reusable gift tie.
Sticker Dots as Party Cups
Turn plain white cups into custom-designed party wear with simple dot stickers, available at any office supply store.
Ribbon as Photo Matte
Glue ribbon around an existing matte to turn a basic frame into one-of-a-kind art.
Kid Art as Holiday Wrap
Oh, that’s grandma dressed as an alligator? Perfect for wrapping her birthday gift. (And the fridge door is full anyway.)
Dice as Vegetable Counter
Decide how many more bites of dinner your child has to eat before being excused. Let your child roll so he’s the one controlling his fate. You'll end up with a more peas-ful family meal.
Teaneck, New Jersey
Baby Food Jar as Easter Egg Decorating Aid
Design Rothkoesque Easter eggs. Fill a jar with dye, then dip half the egg in and let dry. Dip again, but only one-third of the egg. Repeat with both ends of the egg until you have stripes in varying shades.
Need a quick refresher on how to dye Easter eggs? Watch this quick video to learn how to hard-boil an egg, then check out these homemade Easter egg dye recipes.
Locked Cosmetic Bag as Childproof Storage
Put medications in a locked cosmetic case for an easy way to keep curious kids away from poking around the medicine cabinet.
Paper Sack as Halloween Treat Bag
Don’t pay a premium for Halloween-themed treat bags. Turn any paper sack into a jack-o-lantern with a few precise snips.
Parchment Paper as Musical Instrument
Make a kazoo by folding a piece of parchment or wax paper over a comb’s teeth (the paper should hang over about an inch).
Stretchy Bracelets as Wine Charms
Snag a couple of your child's stretchy bracelets to identify guests' glasses at your next party. Bonus points if the shapes match your party's theme. Submitted by: Abby123
Rubber Bands as Sandwich Labels
Distinguishing chicken salad from tuna is no picnic. Next time you’re packing sandwiches, stretch a thick rubber band around each one and label it with a permanent marker. Divvying up lunch will be a snap.
Metal Magazine Rack as Towel Holder
Roll pool towels and store them vertically, so your kids can grab one before taking a swim.
Book as Word Scramble
For the kids' table: Cut out 30 or so words from old children's books (the fonts are larger) and challenge them to form sentences with the pieces.
Plastic Easter Eggs as DIY Maracas
Fill emptied plastic eggs with puffed rice cereal and silver-ball cake decorations to make impromptu maracas for kids.
Paper Doily as Candy Cone
Form a cone with a small (5-inch) doily, secure with tape, and fill with candy and treats. The lacy server is a sweet upgrade for the next time you gather the ladies (think bridal shower) or girls (birthday party, sleepover, extra-special playdate).
Cupcake Liner as Decorative Snowflakes
Create a winter wonderland in the entryway. Flatten white paper liners (foil ones will work, too), fold into halves or quarters, then snip out shapes along the folds. When you open them back up, voilà: snowflakes you can string from the ceiling.