Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recycled Nature Buckets

2 of the final products
We are always going on nature walks - sometimes down the street or around the park and sometimes just in our own backyard. Having the children make their own nature buckets alleviates the problem of "Mom, mom, can you carry this bug home for me?"

Gather together... 

Empty milk cartons, rinsed and dried
Paint, glue, paper, stickers, paintbrushes
Hole punch
Twine or string


Decorating his nature bucket
For this project, I set aside three empty milk cartons - in this house, that took just a couple of days! Rinse out the cartons and let them dry. Open the tops of the cartons like you would open a small milk at school and, using a scissors, make a cut down the side to give you access to cut evenly around the top of your milk carton to make a nice-sized bucket. You can make these buckets small for little people, or taller for the big kids.

Since every project in our house seems to involve paint, I set out some different colors of paint and strips of paper so that they could decorate their nature buckets. Stickers or markers would also work well.

Someone always has to paint herself...
Colored glue trick: I like to use regular Elmer's school glue but I tint it with one of the paint colors. For this project, we tinted the white glue with yellow paint. All you have to do is squeeze some white glue into one of your egg carton spaces and then add any color. Gently mix it together with your paintbrush and you have colored glue! We try to keep a designated paint brush the GLUE BRUSH and clean it with soapy water after our project is finished. I have rarely seen anything good come out of having small children squirt glue out of an unwieldy bottle. This approach seems to make our projects go much more smoothly when glue is involved!

To finish... 

A hole punch and twine
Once your bucket is decorated and has dried, use a hole punch to punch a hole in two sides. Cut a piece of twine or string double the length of the handle that you would like to have and loop it through the holes. Double knot the double length string or twine on the inside of the nature bucket and presto! your project is complete!

Happy nature hunting! These buckets can be used to collect bugs or leaves or mushrooms or just about anything. Enjoy! 

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