Summer vacation is here, which means lots of down time for you and the kids, and THAT means lots of opportunities to play with garbage!
One thing the average American parent lacks in life is enough garbage. That's why O.H.M. has put together this list of six great activities for kids that are really, actually, and basically totally and seriously literally just playing with garbage.
1. Perler Beads: Doing Perler beads helps your child develop fine motor skills by arranging tiny pieces of plastic bead-shaped garbage on plastic garbage trays of all sorts of shapes and sizes. Stick a piece of wax paper garbage on top, iron, and VOILA! You have a whole new piece of garbage shaped like a heart or a cupcake.
2. Styrofoam Glider: This piece of airplane-shaped garbage is seriously super fun. If you throw it just right on a favorable current of wind, it will slam into the ground nose-first and break up into its five components: two wings, a body, and two tail pieces. You thought you only had one piece of garbage, and now you have five!
3. Shrinky Dinks: The fun never stops with these flexible plastic sheets of garbage you can color on, cut out, and then bake in the oven into tiny, hard pieces of garbage. The funnest part is watching the bigger garbage become smaller, letting it cool down, and then losing it in your house until you find it again and immediately throw it away.
4. Origami: For kids who want some culture this summer, try origami, the ancient Japanese art of folding garbage into decorative shapes and figures. If your kid has a meltdown because his swan is coming out looking like a crumpled up utility bill, don't worry: you can just throw it out and start all over again!
5. Anything by "Creativity for Kids": This company is the Melissa & Doug of garbage crafts for children. Why go rifling around in your own trash can for something creative to do when you can go to JoAnn Fabrics and spend $25.99 on fabric, paper, and plastic garbage packed in a cardboard box (which is itself garbage) and made to look like a shoddily-constructed lamp or a bracelet your child will never use or wear?
6. Taking Out the Garbage: Once you've finished activities one through five above, taking out the actual garbage that now contains the fruits of those labors is a good finale. This chore shows your kids that their carbon footprint is enormous and they should be ashamed of themselves. To really drive home the message here, yell at your kids for treating all their toys like garbage while ignoring the fact that a lot of them actually are. For good measure, don't forget to remind them that the kids in China who made this garbage are starving and don't get to play with anything, ever. Probably not even garbage.