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Get your kids to drink more milk

By on April 26, 2009

photo by miheco

Homemade toys can be made from the simplest materials. The first tip is a wonderful way to recycle milk cartons. Kids can decorate them with printed pictures, stickers, crayons, etc. While you’re being creative and crafty, reuse any oatmeal containers, shoe boxes or paper-towel tubes you have for this fun project. When it’s time to put it all away, a container such as an empty plastic kitty-litter tub works well.

HALF-GALLON MILK CARTONS: When I taught, we used half-gallon milk containers to make blocks. Just cut off the top and invert one carton into another. Makes like a rectangular box. Then you can cover them with contact paper. They are very light and sturdy. Great, too, because the children can build tall towers, and, if they fall over on them, no one gets hurt! — Kathi, California
Note from Sara: Check out this milk carton coin purse

REUSE TOOTHBRUSHES: When I replace my toothbrush, it gets plunged in boiling water for a few seconds, then it becomes my eyebrow brush (to help shape them). When it gets bumped from that job, it becomes my nook-and-cranny cleaner for around the house. When it is demoted from that job, I use it on the car for cleaning. Then it gets to retire. –Tigo, Kansas

COFFEE FILTERS: They are good as potty-chair liners. Makes cleanup from No. 2 a breeze. — D.J., Missouri

SHAMPOO TIP: To cut down on wasted shampoo, pour your shampoo into a hand-soap pump dispenser. Just pump once into your hand and use. Saves on shampoo spills and leaks, too. — Michelle, Texas

PATTERNS AND NOTIONS: They can be the most expensive part of sewing. And from a standard pattern, it’s hard to get a great fit. Now, if I have a shirt or skirt or whatever that I love the fit of, when it is finally worn out or gets stained or whatever, I carefully pick the seams out, save the notions (zippers, buttons, etc.), put the pieces in a giant Ziploc bag and label it with the size and whether it was cut on the bias or straight grain. Then, if I find a piece of fabric of the same general type and in a color I like at a thrift store or garage sale, I buy it because I know I can make something I’m going to love out of it that will fit. — Vail, Washington

PLASTIC MILK JUGS: I save all my plastic milk jugs, put a pinprick in the bottom, and plant one about halfway down next to whatever seeding, planted in the garden. When watering, fill up the jug and it will continue to water when you’re not there. — Kathy, e-mail

HOMEMADE PUZZLE BOOK: For a gift to fit any occasion, take a little time each day after reading your newspaper to cut out the games (crossword puzzle, Sudoku, etc.). Glue them to a piece of paper when you get several. Punch a couple of holes in them. Make a cover out of construction paper, decorating it as you wish, even personalizing it for the person who will receive it. I promise, the recipient will love it! — Nadine F., Oklahoma

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