I am quickly realizing during social distancing just how much we take for granted on a daily basis. But as I mourn the convenience of popping out the store for just one thing, I’m also energized by being creative with what we already have at home. That means digging into our pantry and making use of leftovers in the fridge (I’m pretending I’m on a cooking challenge show, what can I make with these ingredients!?). I’ve also been more resourceful with the projects I’ve been thinking up to keep Jane occupied and learning while we’re at home. The recycling bin has been fueling our imagination (see what we created last week out of paper towel rolls and egg cartons in this toddler craft round up).I’ve been partnering with Little Leaf Farms this year on lots of recipe content (this spring pasta salad is easy to recreate with pantry basics!) and their salad containers have been my latest inspiration for repurposing what’s on hand for kids activities and crafts. I thought I’d share a few ways that I’ve been using the containers to strike a little upcycling inspiration in your home:
Mini-Sensory Bins. So many kids-activity sites post about creating sensory tables for kids to dig, scoop, and sort in. Truthfully, those types of activities tend make my OCD go haywire, but I have experimented with them on a smaller scale using the Little Leaf Farms salad containers. Fill them up with pom-poms, rice, or dried pasta and set out some spoons and scoopers. We filled them with kinetic sand and buried small objects — like the shells we collected at the beach last week. She had lots of fun excavating the sand and was very proud of finding the “buried treasure.” When we finished, I snapped the lids back on to store them safely until we played with them again the next day. Rolling Paint Activities. I feel like we have done so.many.crafts since we started social distancing a few weeks ago. I’ve been wracking my brain for ways to make the supplies we already have on hand more interesting. I cut pieces of colored paper to fit inside the bottom of the Little Leaf Farms salad containers and added a few small drops of craft paint to the paper. Then I let Jane roll bouncy balls inside to create paint trails, it gives kind of a marbled effect on the paper. If your little artist has trouble keeping the paint ball inside the container, try putting the lid on top and letting them shake it up instead. You could also use cardboard or craft eggs and make this fun activity for decorating Easter eggs. Gardening Fun. I’m grateful that all of this social distancing is happening right as spring is starting, a few warm days have made all the difference in keeping our spirits up. I have just started to plant some of my seeds for our vegetable garden, and getting Jane involved in the garden is always a fun activity we can do together. Because seeding plants can take a little more precision and organization than most toddlers care for, I’m filling up some of the Little Leaf Farms salad containers with extra dirt and letting her do her own digging and planting. Last year I bought some toy bugs that we hid in the garden, and adding those to the dirt makes for more fun scooping and burying. Please note: This post was created in partnership with Little Leaf Farms. All opinions, images and content are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support this site.