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Families are often looking for ways to recycle and reuse materials instead of throwing them in the trash. Think of how many paper towel and bathroom tissue cores we throw each month. They can be used in a myriad of ways with children.
Poster Paint Stamps
Paper cores make excellent stamps because they are easy for young children to hold.
They can dip the end of the core in homemade or commercial poster paint and make all sorts of designs and figures on computer paper or card stock.
The circles can be flowers, roly-poly Santas, chubby animals, snowmen, caterpillars, lady bugs, imaginary characters, and designs.
They are quite durable and can be thrown away when they get too mushy.
Fill containers with different colored paint or white paint for snow or night scenes on colored paper.
The paper towel cores or tubes can be cut to the size needed for small hands, as long as they are sturdy. Children can cut the ends like fringe to make interesting designs, too.
To make homemade poster paint measure ¼ cup of flour into a saucepan. Slowly add 1 cup water while stirring to make a smooth paste.
Heat on low temperature, stirring constantly until the paste begins to thicken. Allow to cool.
Measure ¼ cup of the paste mixture into each small container. Add 3 tablespoons of powdered tempera paint and 2 tablespoons water into each container.
For a glossy finish add clear liquid detergent. The mixture will not store well. When the circles are dry children may add details with markers.
The cores make excellent bird feeders. Reinforce the core with duct tape. Coat a tube with peanut butter or shortening and roll in birdseed.
Loop a long piece of string through the tube and tie it. Hang outside for the birds.
Cores also make bracelets and pretend watches. Children can decorate them with markers first.
Then adults can cut them to the desired thickness, usually about 2 inches and slit so the tube can open slightly to fit the wrist.
The tubes can also be taped close together as a zig zag tunnel for small cars and secured to the refrigerator or a door with a small looped pieces of masking tape on the back.
Show children that because of gravity a sharp angle decent (closer to a vertical line) will make the car go faster and a gentle slope will slow down the car.
Marbles can be used if everyone in the house is no longer in danger of swallowing them.
These versatile cores can be made into flowers or snowflakes when squished and glued together. Decorated cores become gnomes, animals, racing cars, or plain little pots for growing seeds.
Esther Macalady is a retired schoolteacher in Golden. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.
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