Upcycling for Free Tip Friday/Letter U

Letter U

Welcome to this year’s A to Z Challenge! This year I’m talking Child Care. I’ll be blogging topics related to my many years in the family home daycare profession. I hope you can find a tidbit of information that is useful in caring for children whether you’re a parent, grand or another important person in a child’s life. And to end each post, I’ll share a bit of my creative side/relaxation time. Taking time for yourself is good for your health–both yours and your family’s 😉

I have embraced the trash to treasure in my life. It’s a fact. Of course I sew and crochet so naturally I’ve used these skills to help me along. But to those who don’t there are plenty of ways to ‘frugalize’ your daycare or even your home life with upcycling that do not involve sewing. So today be prepared for a peek into my prudent living.

*That old oatmeal container? Paste photos of children and their families on it. Cover with contac paper (remember that stuff?) for durability & cleanability.

*Paste magazine pictures in a notebook. Cut them into 3 sections for a “crazy people book”. Creates some silliness for your kiddos. We all need that about now.

*Create water walls with old 2-liter bottles & zip ties on a chain link fence.

Wanted to show that the water is recycled too by it flowing into the tub and not just going everywhere.

*Melt old crayons in an old cupcake tin. Cool and pop them out for big chunky multi-colored (or same color) crayons. The simple act of peeling the paper is a very calming activity just for the record.

Chunky crayons are great for little hands to grasp.

*Save tissue paper from gift wrapping for art projects. Cut into small shapes and they can be modge-podged with diluted glue onto nearly any item.

*Want to plant seeds indoors? Save yogurt, coffee or other containers to give them a start. Also a great way to send home individual plants for a Mother’s Day project.

*Save old magazines for cutting practice, letter searches, or even paper airplane folding practice.

*Tissue boxes are great ways to store plastic bags from the store to send home special art projects or soiled clothing. (Parents need an extra hand sometimes)

*Gallon milk jugs can be cut, taped on the edge with duct tape and used as a ball catcher or sand scoop/funnel. The tape saves little fingers from possible injury so don’t avoid this step.

*Save stray socks. Roll them up and have a soft toss toy to knock down blocks.

*Save same size fast food cups to stack and knock down with those socks.

*Same size cups can also be stacked in a win-it-in-a-minute game. Also practice carrying a tray of them across a room without them falling off.

*Use old cereal boxes and other cardboard with brand names to make environmental print pre-reading books. Just trim them up and match sizes, paper punch the edge and tie together with yarn or string for a book or menu for dramatic play. And with the new ‘pick-up’ style shopping, they’re sure to recognize how to choose food for their shopping cart.

*Egg cartons stack up like a fort on snow days. Beware of baby/toddler attacks though.

*Old cloth or vinyl tablecloths can be wrapped around a toy tool bench for a cool puppet theatre. Use your chip clips to keep the cloth attached.

*If you sew, recover that changing table pad with an old vinyl table cloth. With right sides together, sew a simple straight seam down one side, turn right side out and it’s a slip-over replacement.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but after so many people experiencing shortages of necessities, I hope the idea of saving containers and boxes or other household stuff will make you take a second glance at possible uses for them. And don’t go back. Our job as adults is to set the examples for the generations to come.

And guess what we were gifted?! A beautiful Puzzle Clock for our wedding anniversary. It’s a bit early but our daughter was as thrilled to put it together as she was to give it to us. She gets the spotlight and the creativeness kudos today for this one! 😉

Hope you’ll take time to check out other A to Z blogs in the month on April. Click here to find the list. Click here for the Official A to Z blog. Have a great day and stay safe!!



  1. I’m JUST getting to your blog now that we are almost done! You are one busy woman. I have a stash of old crayons as well as a huge chunk of bees wax. The large chunky crayons look like an idea I may need to put into action. I too use the plastic coffee containers for lots of things. Birds of a feather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your time! We are all out of kilter here without my daycare running. Totally get it! Look forward to getting by everyone’s blogs this next few days/weeks. I’ve made a list this time, on the computer, backed up and ready to go. lol


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