Environmentalism, for me, is less about recycle and far more about reuse. “Recycle” smacks of some propaganda feel-good program for using too much crap in the first place. As a parent, I naturally impart my opinionated views on my offspring. They’re all about reusing things — from junk mail to paper towel rolls.
Paper towel rolls are a hot commodity is our house. Even with six kids, we only go through about two rolls per week, maybe less. They make these nifty things called REAL towels, which you can actually wash in the washing machine. We pretty much only drink tap water, so if there’s a spill, cloth towels work great.
When an empty paper towel roll becomes available, boxing matches have been known to break out over who gets to use it. Here are some of the cool ways the kids have used them:
Full size C-3PO costume
What you need
- Several paper towel rolls — 12 for arms, 10 for legs
- Four big pieces poster board
- Can of gold spray paint
- Hot glue gun
- Long sleeve tee shirt
- Sweat pants
How you do it
- Cut paper towel rolls lengthwise to wrap around arm from wrist to elbow, upper arm, cuffs for elbow
- Cut paper towel rolls lengthwise to wrap around shin and thigh (must be super skinny kid)
- Cut rectangle out of posterboard for chest and back covering.
- Cut ridiculously complex shape out of posterboard for shoulders and neck.
- Cut oval out of posterboard for face.
- Spray paint all pieces gold.
- hot glue paper towel rolls to sweat pants
- Use rubber bands to hold paper towel rolls on arms.
- Draw lines using paint marker and hope your four-year-old doesn’t get her hot hands on the marker to write on your walls
Other creations we’ve come up with include a working Batman flashlight, an articulating model of an elbow joint, jet packs for air flight, knight armor, and (of course!) binoculars. What have you and your kids invented with cardboard?