Clothing has other purposes besides keeping your child covered, warm and socially acceptable. Unwanted or random pieces of clothing can be used for make-believe, gift giving, games or other recycled projects. Not only is this a handy way to reuse items, it’s an economical way to entertain and educate.
You have no need to toss out old, strained, outgrown or torn clothing. You and your child can turn them into beanbags and use them for games. Cut the clothing pieces into circles, triangles or squares. You need at least two of each size and shape. Lay one shape down, put a small handful of dry beans on the shape and then place another equally sized and shaped piece of clothing on top. To complete the beanbag, sew the edges of the material. Now your child can practice his juggling, work on his aim during target practice or play other beanbag toss games.
A bin of dress-up clothes holds endless possibilities to entertain your kiddo. Dad’s old ties, mom’s unwanted jewelry, last year’s Halloween costumes, stained work shirts, sunglasses, mismatched shoes and the list can go on. Throw all of these items in a large plastic storage tub or toy chest to be pulled out for dramatic playtime. This type of play option helps strengthen your child’s social, language and problem-solving skills. Be ready for superheroes, princesses, tea parties and teddy bear picnics with this clothing activity.
Making homemade gifts are always a hit with the young crowd. If you grab a few plain white cotton T-shirts or sweatshirts, you can show your child how to personalize it. Nontoxic puffy paint can be used to draw on the material or to create hand prints on the fabric. Your child can pick out some iron-on appliques that you can attach to the shirt simply by applying heat according to the product’s instructions. Craft stores even have tie-dye kits for kids. You’ll want to supervise and help out on this one so your carpets and countertops don’t become a permanent part of the project.
If you want to help your child sharpen his fine-motor skills, while staying on the clothing theme, you can make some paper clothing. Draw several shapes on some white paper that looks like pants, shorts, bathing suits and shirts. Your child can decorate the clothing with washable markers and then cut them out with scissors. You can even set up a string clothesline somewhere, like between the table or chair legs, and let him hang the clothes up with some clothespins. The paper clothing also works for dressing up paper people.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images