Here’s a great way to recycle them and have a whole lot of family fun at the same time.
If there’s one thing a worldwide pandemic taught us it’s that quality family time is priceless. We were confined to small spaces with small people and we learned to play again. Spending good old-fashioned playtime with the kids can be so rewarding – for adults as well as kids.
This school holidays, ditch the remote controls and the devices, grab a pair of scissors and a few kraft paper bags and create some family fun times.
At the same time, you can use up that pile of paper grocery bags and mailing boxes you’ve been collecting.
A simple brown paper bag or cardboard box makes a great green way to play with the kids. You’re actually saving the planet twice – once by reusing the materials, and then, when you’re done, you can pop the paper and cardboard into the recycle bin.
Brown paper bags can be recycled up to seven times, so your brown paper play toy will be recycled and come back as an egg carton or a pizza box.
How long has it been since you made a paper plane?
Paper planes are a great way to recycle those old paper bags that are lying around the house.
There are literally hundreds of ways to fold a paper plane. Just type ‘How to Fold a Paper Plane’ into Google and you’ll be flooded with options.
Challenge each family member to try a different design and see whose flies the furthest.
Kites are easy to make from a paper bag, a couple of sticks, and some string. Cut the paper bag into a diamond shape, decorate the bag with stickers or glitter or simply draw some designs with coloured markers. Lay two sticks across the paper and stick in the middle where they cross each other, and secure to each corner. Add some string to the crossed sticks, glue a ribbon or two to the bottom corner, and let’s fly.
A frisbee is another easy flying toy you can make at home. It can be as simple as a paper plate or cut a circle shape out of an old cardboard box. You can spend hours in the backyard throwing a frisbee but keep them away from the doggo, as slobber and cardboard don’t mix very well.
Create a Backyard Shop
Do you have a backyard shed or cubby house? Then, turn it into a grocery store.
Flip a cardboard box upside down to use as a counter. Raid the kitchen for empty cereal boxes and used milk cartons. Create your own currency by cutting up paper bags to turn into dollar notes or credit cards. There you have it. A local corner shop in your backyard.
All those excess paper bags will come in handy as grocery bags and takeaway delivery bags for your customers.
White paper bags are great to use as a canvas. Drag out the poster paints and brushes and see who can paint the best portrait. Mum and Dad or the family dog can be the models.
Take a few paper bags and some scissors and tape – see who can make the best dress-up costume. Paper bags make great vests, fairy wings or masks.
Kids love to build so set a challenge to make the best rocket ship or racing car with paper and cardboard.
Paper bags make excellent hand puppets. With a little imagination and scraps of material and wool, you and your children can make a set of puppets and put on a show for all the friends and neighbours.
Christmas is just around the corner so you could start making decorations. Cut up the paper to make chains to hang on the tree or create a paper bag wreath to hang on your door. Brown paper also makes great wrapping paper so start decorating the plain paper now.
Turn a large grocery bag into a basketball hoop. Take a paper bag, open it fully and place it on the floor or a table. You might need to cut off the handles so they don’t get in the way. Now grab a few ping pong balls or golf balls and take a shot from a metre away. You can toss them like a basketball or bounce across a table into the bag. After everyone has had a turn, move the bag further away make each turn a little more difficult.
For this next game you will need a separate paper bag for each person. Place the bag open on the floor. Stand on one leg, leaning over to pick up your paper bag with your mouth. As each person completes the task, a 2cm strip is cut off each bag making them harder to pick up. The person who keeps their balance wins.
Mum or Dad can set this one up. Take 10 paper bags and put a small item in each bag. Write the first letter of the object on the outside of the bag. Make sure the bags are sealed or folded so the item can’t be seen. Everyone gets a turn to feel the item through the bag (NO PEEKING!) and writes down what they think is inside. The one with the most correct answers wins.
Recycle Once You’re Done
Playing with paper and cardboard makes packing up a dream. Everything can go into the recycling bin once you are finished with it.
Before you bin the material, make sure you tear off any sticky tape, glitter, or decorations that can’t be recycled.
Clean brown paper can be shredded and added to the compost heap, or you can wet pieces of brown paper and spread them around the base of your plants as mulch – they make a great weed block.
This school holidays, make the effort to use up those leftover brown paper bags and create wonderful family memories at the same time.