We have done a "great" job of teaching our daughter about the three R's of caring for the environment. She has become especially attached to the REUSE portion of the cycle. As a consequence, she won't throw anything away. Scraps of felt, paper towel rolls, construction paper, boxes from greetings cards, plastic packaging from toys…I guess I should be happy, but my house might be featured someday on an episode of Hoarders. Look for me; I'll be lost in the pile of felt clippings. Fortunately, we have begun putting these treasures to use.
Paint or Markers
Shoe box (for the stage)
Construction paper or felt to make the puppets and decorate the "stage"
Glitter, sequins and other decorations
A REUSE pile as tall as your ceiling
Warning: This project might take you months to begin as you stockpile your supplies…just kidding! But seriously, we really do have fun debating the future uses of egg cartons and gift bags as she shoves them into our craft area. If you haven't yet begun a REUSE pile, that is a great family activity in itself; but in the meantime, you probably have enough things laying around to use for this project anyway and if not they are readily available at a craft store.
Recently, we had a family puppet show night, made entirely out of our REUSE pile. No phones ringing, no text messages going off, no Facebook notifications; for an evening we engaged in each other without interruption! We made people puppets out of popsicle sticks decked out with construction paper, glitter, sequins and felt. We cut a window out of the shoe box to make a stage. We decorated the stage to create a fancy ambiance fit for a King at a Shakespearean play.
Then the real fun began! The puppets were given personalities and back stories by our daughter. She let her imagination run wild. We took turns acting out different scenes both planned and improvisational. The topics do not really matter. The words said don't even really matter. None of us can probably remember any of that! The laughter, the fun, the joy – these are what we all took away from our puppet show night! …Well, that and a smaller REUSE pile.
Originally printed in Nurture: Australia’s Natural Parenting Magazine, (2013). All Rights Reserved.