Every week we feature a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. Today is National Pack Rat Day and like pack rats, some of us tend to collect more belongings than we really need. Here at Heifer International we encourage people to practice Sharing and Caring, one of Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development. If you’ve got some things to unpack, here are a few options to lighten your load.
Photo credit: oddlovescompany.com
- Hold a Clothing Swap
Donating old clothing is helpful, but a swap can make a more direct impact in your neighborhood or organization. Ask participants to bring a few articles of clothing and then have fun haggling over the trades. A swap can also be done with shoes, toys and books.
- Upcycle With Style
Old T-shirts for quilt squares, abandoned toys as planters and plastic grocery bags to make trash cans-Pinterest is filled with DIY instructions. Inventive minds are a powerful tool in caring for the earth. Before you recycle, try to find ways to upcycle the weary and worn things in your cluttered closets.
- Give Your Time
If you have a “load” of time on your hands, why not use it to help others organize their abundant belongings? Or, use it in other meaningful ways like taking a meal to new parents, offering to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog or care for the Earth by picking up trash.
Through cooperation and friendship, there are many ways to share and care. Be creative and get involved in your community. Small acts of kindness will spread, building a large network of giving to Pass on the Gift® of hope, unity and friendship.
Learn how you can spend meaningful time at Heifer
Every week we feature a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom.This week we are also honoring the women with whom Heifer works, who take the gifts of livestock and education to produce extraordinary results for themselves, their families and their communities. With this activity, kids can make an upcycled flower bouquet to honor their family and friends for International Women’s Day on March 8.
Create Your Own Upcycled Flowers
Photo credit: intimateweddings.com
- One paper egg carton
- 12 pipe cleaners
- 24 gauge wire
- Crayons, markers or paint
- Floral tape (optional)
- Paper clips
- Glue (wood, white or hot glue)
First, cut out the egg carton cups using scissors. Cut the cups into your favorite flower shapes. Next, color or paint the cups then let dry. Modge Podge can be used to produce a glossy finish.
Once your flowers are dry, use a paper clip to poke two holes through the back of the flower. Use 24 guage wire and pipe cleaner to create the flower’s stem. Push the wire and pipe cleaner up through one hole on the back of the flower, then bend and push back down through the egg cup. Use floral tape to wrap the wire and pipe cleaner flower stem.
To finish decorating your upcycled flower, use your choice of glue to add buttons, beads or gems to the center of the flower. Add a variety of colors and shapes to make a beautiful bouquet!
To see the full tutorial for this activity visit intimateweddings.com
Once a week we will be featuring a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. This week we found a fun and environmentally friendly activity that makes a great Mother’s Day gift or activity to enjoy with your kids.
What a great gift idea for Mother's Day! Flickr Creative Commons License photo credit: cuttlefish
Do you have some old shoes laying around that you don’t wear anymore but just can’t bear to throw away? Here’s an idea that will help the environment and can be a gift your mom will cherish on Mother’s Day–make sure you ask a parent first BEFORE you fill it with dirt! If you’re a mom reading this, share this activity with your kids, or even try it together.
- Old shoe or boot
- Plastic bag
- Hole puncher and/or screwdriver
- Potting soil
- Clothes pin or binder clip
the Alamo Square Shoe Garden in San Francisco is an entire garden full of planters made from old, abandoned shoes! Photo credit: CHRIS HARDY / SFC
Take the plastic bag and line the inside of the shoe or boot, cutting it so it is entirely inside the shoe. To prevent the bag from moving around, clip it on with clothes pins or binder clips. Poke holes in the sides and bottom of the shoes, through the plastic bag with a hole puncher and/or screwdriver (make sure you have a parent around to help or supervise poking the holes.) Overwatering can be a big problem, so remember to keep it well-drained. Fill the shoe with potting soil, all the way to the toe, leaving it about an inch from the top. (If your shoe has laces make sure they are tied, to hold in the soil.) Plant your seeds or seedlings and water.
For more information on this and other upcycling activities, go to http://www.recyclescene.com/how-to-recycle/garden-planters. Or, read about Alamo Square Foot Garden, pictured above to the right.
You can also check out Heifer’s lesson plans and classroom activities related to sustainability, recycling, etc., in the Classroom Resources section of our website.