Before you bundle up your newspapers for the recycling bin, check out these easy recycling activities and crafts. Not only do they enhance creativity but they're also just plain fun when you want something to do.
For starters, at breakfast time with your kids, get your brains in gear by coming up with the many ways you can use newspapers after everyone has read his or her favorite sections. You might list ideas like these:
-- Wrap birthday presents with the comics section
-- Cut out a special comic and tuck it in someone's lunchbox for a surprise.
-- Dip strips of newspaper into liquid starch and make a papier-mache sculpture.
-- Wrap several layers around a hot casserole dish to keep the food warm when transporting it to a potluck supper.
-- Let your new Christmas puppy house-train on it.
-- Clip and use the manufacturer's coupons for this week's grocery shopping. Older kids can calculate the savings and develop an interest in cutting the family food bill.
-- Fold a kid-size newspaper hat. Make a collection of them, and your kids can pretend they are pirates, Martians, police officers or whatever interests them.
For a basic hat, fold one large rectangular newspaper page in half. At the top fold, bring the corners in to meet each other at the center of the page and crease. It makes a triangle.
Below the triangle, fold the front bottom single layer of paper up to meet the triangle. Make another fold, the same size, over the triangle. Turn the hat over and repeat with the back page.
Tape the folds in place and open the hat. It is ready to wear. For extra fun, grab some markers or paints and decorate it.
Donna Erickson is the executive producer and host of public television's award-winning family lifestyle series "Donna's Day." Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families." For more ideas, visit MinnMoms.com/donna, sign up for Donna's e-newsletter at donnasday.com, like the Donna's Day Facebook page or follow Donna at twitter.com/Donna_Erickson.