Trash to Treasure activities for preschoolers (For non-Pinterest moms)

I get it. If you have more than one kid or even one kid, you still have a million other things to do, getting the trash off the floor into the bin is an achievement in itself. Forget salvaging it and turning it into Treasure when you have got to feed, clean and keep safe the precious treasure(s) on your lap.

But then a mom’s gotta do what she gotta do. So when we wanted to do a little recycling project with things that they themselves (toddler and preschooler) throw every day, I had to think of something easy, and creative enough to sustain their interest AND which I could manage to do with 6 tiny hands of 3 different sizes. Lesson 1 learnt – it’s never gonna be easy. Sigh!

So let’s spill the glue, rip the papers and get started.

Here’s the first one in this series.

Drinking straw art

We provide a daily supply of drinking straw to the garbage truck and I happened to notice that the current straws we were using were of fabulous neon colors. Looked too good to throw away for a blogger mom. EVery item in your kitchen should double as an art item shouldn’t it? So I started collecting them for recycling with some sort of art or craft. At first I was thinking of some innocent cut up flowers.

But when I looked for ideas… Gosh! It looks like drinking straws could be the next best invention after the wheel. You can build anything and any shape that you can build with plastic. People were making anything and everything from phone cases , flower vases and shoes to heck even an entire house. You could literally eat, drink, breathe, and live only through drinking straws. (Ok, except eat) And you would need truckloads of them!

So I had to calm myself down and think straight. What did I want from this activity?I want to be encouraging more of child-led art where they can create anything they imagine with just a little help and hinting, minus the pin-stress.

Hence this is a simple art using cut up straws that we are using to color small shapes!

What you will need:

  • Washed and dried used drinking straws ( I admit I took few straight from the box also )
  • Scissors
  • A4 size paper
  • An adult with an iron

First cut up the straws into small pieces easy for little hand to pick and arrange.

fold the paper in half, press at the crease , open it back up and place it on the ironing table.

Draw you shape on one half. Now let them fill in with the straw pieces. They will blow helter skelter a bit but try to keep them still.

now carefully fold over crease withought disturbing the pieces and press down with the heated iron for a minute or two. Be careful not to burn by heating too much.

open the paper and magic! It’s now transferred and stuck to the top side.


Give yourself a round of applause, display and praise the artist and then the round of clean-up of course.

Drinking straw art for young kids recycle craft
Some more samples of the child-led art.

So go ahead and give it a try even if you are a p(un)interest mom

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