Recycled Plastic Bag Basket
A tisket. A tasket. A 100% recycled basket. 2nd graders with some weaving experience can turn a gallon milk jug and plastic grocery bags into a functional basket in which to plant a miniature lawn to decorate or play with. A hands-on exercise in transforming waste into new life!
What You Need:
- Gallon milk jug
- Craft knife or scissors
- Plastic grocery bags
- 1 1/2 cups sprouting wheat berries
- Potting soil
What You Do:
- Prepare the milk jug yourself, in advance. Very carefully cut the top off, leaving a 7" deep bottom. Trim the edge evenly. Starting 3/4" below the top edge, use the Exacto knife to cut 2 vertical slits in each of three sides. On the fourth side, cut 3 slits.
- Ask your child to help you find colorful trash bags in the drawer (or bin.) You'll need about 4 bags, depending on their size. Select a few extra just in case.
- Children will love helping pull each plastic grocery bag in half like a wishbone. Use your scissors to snip through the bottom seam. Each of you hold one side of the snip. On the count of three: pull!
- Feeding plastic bags through the slits presents a new challenge to children familiar with the basic over-and-under weaving motion. The bags are fluffy rather than smooth and uniform. The plastic milk jug "warp" bends, flexes and even stretches a bit. Children will soon discover that holding the slits open with a finger or two helps the bags move freely. No need to worry about knotting or fancy finishing. Just poke the ends inside.
- Poke a few drainage holes in the bottom and add soil to 2 inches. Spread the wheat berry sprouts in a single layer over the soil. Water carefully, then cover with a layer of newspaper.
- Place sprouts in a sunny spot where they will stay warm. Each morning, water them just a little and replace the newspaper. When sprouts start to turn green, remove the newspaper. It takes a week to 10 days for grass to grow.
- Let children use their tiny garden to graze toy animals or host a Lego conference or build a fairy house.
Did You Know:
- Recycling one plastic bottle can save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours. More amazing statistics from: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/spacescience/water-bottle-pollution/
- The Washington State Department of Ecology has several fact-packed children's resource pages outlining how plastic, tin, paper, etc. are recycled. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/kidspage/index.html
- Engaging interactive games and planet-friendly activities from environmental educators at the E.P.A. help kids reduce, reuse and recycle. http://www.epa.gov/kids/garbage.htm