Crafts are a great way to spend time with your kids while teaching them more about the environment. Nature provides endless natural resources and with a little creativity, you can turn those into lots of fun projects to do together.
Exploring Nature for Raw Materials
Lake Michigan is full of flat rocks that are perfect for little ones to paint. These are smaller stones that I put in cocktail glasses and use as decoration around the house-- a candle wick can also make it even more useful. Larger ones are actually great for making mini scenes or more detailed art.
Do Your Best
It's so hard to avoid plastic in craft projects that involve paint. Being mindful is better than nothing-- reusing paint brushes and other cheap plastic tools is a good move for avoiding the amount of plastic waste crafting can burn though. Ideally we would love to avoid it altogether but reusing plastic-based paint brushes does do some good!
Use Your imagination!
Get creative when it comes to mixing and soaking cups. Small plastic bowls are convenient and tempting for mixing colors because you can throw them out and there is little money lost. But there are substitute options all over the house if you look. I use cups from restaurants, sauce containers from to-go meals, and even laundry detergent caps for mixing paint- shown in picture. Try reusing as much "found" material in your house as possible.
Don't Overdo It
Mini bottles of paint colors are typically under $1 so it's tempting to buy them all instead of just the primary hues. Buying one large white bottle of paint can be useful in making new colors, reducing the total plastic waste AND adding a hands-on experience for young kids to learn how colors blend and change together. Gesso or primer paint (sold in aluminum cans) can also be applied so it takes less coats to get the bright colors only sold in smaller ounce bottles.
Whatever your media or your ultimate end product, just spending time together is what it's all about!