Recycling Plastic Containers - Water Play

Posted on August 24, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

If you've got a stash of plastic yoghurt and other similar containers in your recycling bin, why not put them to good use and have your little ones enjoy some 'science guy' time.  Water play is a fun activity that let's your kids enjoy experimenting with water. This is one activity that can go on for some time - you may have to replenish the water occasionally but that's all. 

All you need are the plastic containers and water - and, oh yes, somewhere where you don't mind getting a little wet - the balcony or patio. You can also add some kitchen tools such as a turkey baster, frozen pop molds, and funnels. When the kids get a little older, you can have them experiment with food colouring as well.

While the kiddies play, you can sit back and enjoy a little quiet time.

World Environment Day - Recycling Plastic Jars

Posted on June 5, 2017 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Today is World Environment Day - I guess the idea is to stop and think about what we are doing to the planet and maybe think twice about what we personally can do to stop things from getting worse. I choose plastic peanut butter jars as my project for the day because I'm sure we all have a few similar plastic containers in our recycling bins. Why not give them a new life - at least for the short term? I'm actually making these for my little guy. 

I like using plastic containers for kids' projects for a couple of reasons: first, they are lightweight and easy for little ones to carry and, two, unlike glass jars, are unbreakable, so no worries on that score.

NOTE: The only purchase for these projects was a package of preserve jar snap lids and rings. I got mine at Home Hardware for around $5.00 for 12. I didn't need the lids but these can be turned into drinks coasters and also useful in the garden if you string a bunch together to rattle in the breeze and keep away birds!!

Make a Night Light

I created a night light for my little guy by using a recycled solar powered light. To make it more fun, I added a couple of his miniature airplanes inside. The only purchase was the metal ring used on preserve jars. The leather thong handle is actually a shoe lace from an old shoe.

Nature Jar 01 - Capture and Release

This jar was made to hold water samples from the stream near our home and from the seashore. To enable air circulation I glued a bit of netting recycled from a plastic net bag that once held store-bought garlic cloves. If you don't have this type of netting handy, you can use window screen repair kit. Use the snap lid as a template so that the screen can fit inside the lid.

I also glued some little stones on the bottom so the jar was balanced when empty. Once the little guy's had a chance to examine, photograph and/or draw what we capture in the jar, he will return the critters, etc. back to the sea or stream.

Nature Jar No. 2 - Capture and Release

If you don't know who Gerald Durrel was, you should look his books up at your local library. He wrote some very critical and also very funny books about how he got started. Anyway, the third jar is meant for collecting butterflies, insects and bugs. I add a twig for insects to rest on and some moss for the more shy critters. Again I glued a piece of netting inside the metal preserve ring for air circulation. And again, every bug or insect collected will be set free.

Sippy Cups

And don't forget my original use for these BPA free plastic containers: Sippy cups. Details here.

So - what are you doing for World Environment Day.



Garden Recycling - Plastic Containers 2

Posted on May 24, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

For those who were wondering if my plastic container garden was ever completed, wonder no more. Over this past long weekend, the weather warmed up and I found the time to repot into my recycled plastic containers. It was surprising to see how quickly the plants resettled in. Once the plants are sturdy enough, I will repot them up permanently in my larger metal garden containers - old kettles and pails. With more warmer weather on the way, it won't be long.

This year I've planted sage, tomato, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, chives, some garlic, rosemary, and mint from seed. All of these were started off in empty eggshells 'pots', then each one placed back into egg cartons. If my egg cartons had been those paper ones, I would have simpled planted the seeds into the carton compartments but mine are clear plastic and I like to reuse these over and over again. I stored the carton 'incubators' under the kitchen sink cupboard - a nice dark and cosy place for seedlings to sprout. Once the seedlings had grew a few inches, I transplanted the little fellows into plastic milk containers (the ones I used for the pizza gardens last year).

Note that before transplanting, I gently crush each eggshell and then place each in the new container. Even though the eggshells will soften in the new pots, it's still a good idea to crush them as it allows the seedling roots to quickly reach out and settle in new soil. Because it was too cold to put these outside, I placed the plastic containers in front of a sunny window near the heating ducts. When it was warm enough outdoors, I moved the containers onto to their bamboo perch.

This is such a simple way for anyone to garden. The kids that live in my apartment building are already working on this year's balcony gardens (I gave each one my surplus seedling plants) and were, again this year, eager to see the results. Note you don't have to use plastic containers - waxed milk containers work just as well. So do tin cans. If you are using tin cans, remember to put something under each can to prevent rust showing up on your patio or balcony. An old saucer or plastic lids work well.

Also you don't have to start off your seedlings in eggshells - egg cartons (as I mentioned above), newspapers or cardboard toilet rolls work just as well. Use what you have and get the kids involved. As with the eggshells, you should make tears in the toilet roll pots and open up the bottom as cardboard takes a long time to disintegrate and this can stunt the seedling roots. Newspaper on the other hand falls apart quickly.

Enjoy your gardening!

Recycling Plastic Jugs - Hanging Gardens

Posted on May 11, 2016 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm getting so impatient to start my little balcony garden. I've managed to start chives, garlic, and thyme plants this year and have kept these nice and warm under my kitchen sink. Now it's time to get them outside. However, here in Ottawa it's still a little too cool to put out my plants. My plastic milk containers, all in a row, are ready to be filled. 

I slipped a bamboo rod throw the handles of each container to hold them in place and then added two over-the-door hooks to secure the rod to my balcony railing. I love this time of gardening as it saves me lots of room on my long, but very narrow, balcony. And it's portable, too, so I can move it when the plants need more sunshine. Once the plants are too big for the containers, I will transplant them into bigger garden pots.

This is a great idea to get kids interested in gardening because it's so convenient - you don't need a big back yard, tons of pots, etc. Kids will have fun not just creating this hanging garden but also in maintaining it as all it takes is a bit of watering as needed.