Packing peanuts are the polystyrene material found in packages; they are also called loose fill. According to the Plastic Loose Fill Council, packing peanuts are typically reused 30 per cent of the time. They are non-toxic and made without chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. You can recycle leftover peanuts at designated collection sites, or you may create crafts with them.
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Crafts for Younger Children
Crafts using packing peanuts work on the fine motor skills of younger children. Children may glue them onto paper to create mosaics or string them like beads to make necklaces. Paint packing peanuts with tempera paints and glue them onto wooden clothespins. Help your child by hot gluing a magnet on the back of the clothespin to create a refrigerator magnet. Attach tissue paper wings to packing peanuts to construct a butterfly or bumblebee mobile with yarn and a hanger.
Crafts for Older Children
Older children may construct an igloo using packing peanuts, a cereal box and a cardboard roll of toilet paper. Cut one side of the cereal box off with scissors. Cut the toilet paper roll so you can shape it into a small dome. Use clear tape to secure the dome to the box. Mix glue and shaving foam to make snow. Place the snow around the cereal box base and over the dome. Put packing peanuts all over the dome to create an igloo. Other craft projects include decorating boxes and making colourful bugs.
Holiday and Seasonal Crafts
For seasonal and holiday crafts, use skewers and packing peanuts to create stars and snowflakes for winter holiday decorations. Try stringing long strings of the peanuts to create Christmas tree decorations. Use peanuts to apply paint for outdoor summer painting crafts. Create a Valentine's Day mosaic card with coloured peanuts.
Packing peanuts are useful for gift crafts. You can create many types of jewellery out of these materials; paint them first or add glitter to them with glue. Instead of buying fibre fill for homemade stuffed toys, fill them with peanuts. Filling pillows with peanuts would also work. Add a few smaller peanuts to the soil of potted plant gifts to help aerate the soil. For a children's party, create a craft centre for the guests. Offer peanuts alongside other craft materials, such as pom-poms and beads, so the children can make their own gift favours.
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