There was a time when I detested the plastic crap overflowing in my son’s cupboard (still do), all in the name of toys. What was killing me was that not every piece of toy was being played with, or was getting useful, but rather simply lying out there and taking unnecessary space in his cupboard. No matter how much I tried to discard the old stuff by giving away the old ones to some or the other (mostly to domestic helps), more new ones would fill the place and again the vicious cycle would begin!
Things would have gone the same way as before, had I not realized that my maid’s toy inventory was growing big like a landfill. It was her telling me one fine day that I should just simply throw it away, because her house was bursting with the same story! Sad and ashamed, I decided to think consciously of ways to make use of my son’s old and unused toys, while at the same time pledging to not buy any more “two-of-every-kind” of toy or additional plastic in the name of play!
I googled every possible artsy-craftsy way to figure out how to do justice to them. Finally, I have created my own wish list, which I’m eagerly looking forward to get started with. Some have already been recycled, while some are put on hold, in the hope of some creative summer activity!
Here is what you can do!
- Reuse toys as bookends: – All you need is some paint and glue, or you can choose to let them be in their original color as well. Just use some glue to stick toys like toy animals, big burly trucks or anything big or stable enough, to hold the big stack of books. Just stick them towards the shelves edges and make them serve as book ends. It’s fun and quirky as room décor as well.
- Reuse wooden blocks as interesting pieces of wall art: – Stick wooden blocks (painted or unpainted), arranged in some unusual design onto a sturdy wooden frame and hang onto the wall of kid’s room. You can even use it as a wall craft for your own home décor in any interesting way!
- Using toy trucks or wagons for planters: – Fun way of redoing your balcony or an idle space in your house could be to reuse the trucks or idle wagons as planters. Just throw in some mud and put in a leafy indoor plant or even succulents to add a touch of décor feel to your room. The small ones can be used to create planters on the table or shelves as well!
- Using hot wheels as mirror or picture frame: – For mothers, who have hot wheels whizzing past them from morning till night, this will be some relief, especially if the kids outgrow the hot wheel stage at some point of time (I’m desperately waiting for mine). You can stick the hot wheel cars on the frame of your kid’s picture or a mirror, to add more personal touch to it!
- Lego frames and pencil holders: A very colorful way to add a burst of color and fun on to your desk is by re arranging Lego blocks to create a pencil or a vase like structure, to hold your trinkets and stationery. You can even use the Lego blocks to serve the purpose of a frame on your otherwise, boring display board!
- Use them as fridge or magnets: – Stick magnets onto some old toys and use them as fridge magnets or just create a magnetic display board and put them all together and voila! Your ingenious décor is ready!
- Door knobs and holders: Stick old toys onto a piece of wooden board and screw it up on the back of your door. You can now use them to hang clothes or some other knick knacks from the cupboard! Using old toys as door knobs is also a very unusual way of adding some eccentricity to cupboards.
- Lamp stands: It’s something that I’d seen at someone’s place and loved the look and feel of the lamp. Old toys were assembled around the stand, spray painted to the color of the lamp (in metallic hue) and stuck with some regular glue to give a fun filled twist to a plain lamp!
- Customized wall clocks: Creating a customized wall clock with your kid’s old toys is a cool way. Children love a work or a piece of art that resonates with their interest. What better way to add a personal touch to a piece of functionality. It’s user friendly and fun as well! You can use an old Lego board or any board to fix the time piece, around which the toys can be used for numbers. Or you can choose to add toy food items at lunch and dinner time, to spell “food hours”!
- Wreath of toys: – An amazing piece of craft and fun way of reusing old toys. Just re-arrange all old toys in a wreath like way, or you can stick them over chart paper (that has been cut out as a wreath) and hang it on the door entrance or on the wall!
- Decorate the table top of your kid’s study table: stick some old Lego toys along one side of the edge or some hot wheels to add a touch of customization to your kid’s study table. It’s a sure shot way to pep up a décor! Not, to mention the mood of your kid as well!
- Over mason jars: Redoing regular mason jars with a touch of elegance can be done with toys. Just stick some toy animal figurines over each lid, spray paint to a metallic hue and you get a perfect tea time setting with some classy feel to your table!
- Soft toy holder: Create a cloth envelope or a pouch and put in the soft toys, where they are half in-half out. It brightens up a boring wall any day! Create some interesting theme or cloth cut out in some vibrant color, to quirk up the wall. Choose a Christmas tree cloth cut out, creating pouch like structure towards the tips, to put in a soft toy each.
Recycling or donating is one of the best ways to reuse and recycle old toys. The idea is to understand the need to reduce plastic waste, which often comes a lot through toys. The best part in recycling unused toys is that you are using them as something more useful, something more suitable.
Since toys often hold a lot of memories so sometimes throwing them or giving them away doesn’t go down well. It’s always best to cherish these memories, through something more beautiful and everlasting! So try and create some of these with your old and unused toys and post a picture on my blog page (in reply) to show how creative you are! I will be doing the same!