Weekly Activities: Soda Can Recycling

I love using soda cans to make crafts with kids.  They are free after you drink your soda; they are easy to cut; they last forever, and they are so CUTE!

Here is a round up of soda can crafts, some for the wee ones, and some for the older crowd!   Moms and dads find themselves liking these, too!

First of all:  How to cut a soda can for crafting!

This video uses scissors and a craft knife; I have used scissors alone to cut cans, and it works fine.  Just poke a hole with a sharp point in the scissors, and cut.  I have never been cut too much from cutting cans, but if you let the kiddies do some cutting, you might want to use gloves or cut the can up first, and then let kids do the rest!

Soda Can flowers


super easy soda can flowers from karenlucci.blogspot.com


This is the easiest soda can flower, super simple for wee ones!  For the littlest folk, mom and dad do the can cutting, and let the toddlers and 2-year-olds do the paint!


Soda Cans


Paints – for outdoor use, try acrylic, or spray clear acrylic on after the kids’ painting dries.

Cut off the top of the can, but not the bottom.

Cut down the can to the bottom, making “petals.”  Try different widths and shapes of petals like the picture.

Flatten out the petals.


You can attach the flowers to dowels for the garden, or use to decorate around the house.


More Flowers

lovely magnet flowers from tenthmusestudios.wordpress.com



Soda Cans, with both ends cut off and the middle flattened

Paint if you want!

Brads for scrapbooking


Cut out three flowers of slightly different sizes:

detail from tenthmusestudios.wordpress.com



Paint if you wanna!

Layer the flowers and insert a scrapbook brad into the center of all three flower shapes.



Soda Can Lanterns (for older kids)

awesome lanterns from dollarstorecrafts.com


Take an empty soda can and fill with water.

Freeze for about six hours.

Make twelve dots with a marker around the top and bottom of your can.

Draw a line from a dot at the top of the can to the dot just behind the same one as you just drew but at the bottom .

drawing of the soda can lantern details from:http://www.thestar.com.my/story/?file=%2f2009%2f3%2f16%2flifeliving%2f3457045&sec=lifeliving


After drawing the lines, use the craft knife to cut the lines.

Let the ice melt!

Slightly twist and flatten the can to create the lantern shape.

Punch two holes in the top for a wire to hang, or use the tab if still intact!



Pop Tab Bracelets (or belts if you are inspired), for older kids





Flattened soda can portraits – super fun for all ages!

Who says you have to have perfect soda cans for art?

from theartofed.com blog


Take flattened soda cans.

Paint them.

In the pic above, older students then glued their soda cans onto collages they made with junk paper.  And you can do that, too!


another kid version from http://cahierjosephine.canalblog.com/

Just glue the pic onto a piece of cardboard (and let the kids marker and paint it first, too)

How cute are these?

Be as wild as you want:

from the smartartteacher.com




Soda Can Dog Tags

For little ones, cut out the dog tag shapes from your soda can; for the bigger kids, let them cut their own.

Use a hole punch or your scissors (I have done both) to make a hole to hang the dog tag.

These in the picture are left unpainted.

Or paint!

Use sharpies!

Glue on them!

Soda Can dog tags, like the flowers above, are a great blank slate for kids to make art!

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=98967.00; the original crafter used an expensive cutting machine; I find scissors work fine!


Feeling inspired!  I was at a picnic this weekend and came home with dozens of cans, and am working on flowers!  Please share any fun ideas you find.


Get out there, get your kids, and get making summer art!

US Department of Justice Investigation: WV violates the Law for Child Welfare


This is an issue impacting families all over the state.  The United States Department of Justice recently informed Gov. Tomblin that based on their investigation of child welfare services, West Virginia is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The Department of Justice is calling on the state Department of Health and Human Resources to clean up their act, or face lawsuits.

The findings in the report will resonate with many WHOLE Families clients:  (or read the full report here).

One:  West Virginia relies on out of state residential placement for too many children with either mental health issues or developmental delays or both.

Two:  West Virginia utilizes punitive criminal proceedings against families with special needs children and against children and teens with developmental delays and/or mental health issues.

Three:  West Virginia provides no in-home or in-community services to families needing support for children with mental health diagnoses or developmental delays, and thus ships kids out of state to residential programs or incarcerates the kids.

Four:  Schools in West Virginia deny Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) for children and teens with mental health diagnoses or developmental delays, and when they do write an IEP, many districts out right refuse to implement the plan.

Five:  Truancy violations stemming from limited or unavailable school supports push kids with developmental delays and mental health issues into courts and juvenile justice proceedings that are unfair and unnecessary.



IEP’s and truancy are ongoing issues for many of our WHOLE Families clients, and we are all dealing with the impact of not having school or community supports all the time.  This is true for kids in Birth to Three who are transitioning to preschool and who get denies IEP’s and true for teens with multiple diagnoses not getting any services at home or school.

And as all of you know, Scotti and I race around the state trying to help families who are in court, heading to court, or struggling with no services after court.  And we are always apologizing for having to change schedules and postpone home visits while we rush to court.

For those of you impacted by these issues, there is now an avenue to share your stories and ask for input into creating local and home-based programs for all of our kids.  The Department of Justice copied their report findings to these two WV departments:

Joseph Garcia
Director of Legislative Affairs
Office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin

1900 Kanawha Boulevard East State Capitol
Charleston, WV 25305



Karen Villanueva-Matkovich
General Counsel
Office ofthe Cabinet Secretary
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources One Davis Square, Suite 100 East

Charleston, WV 25301

If you want to share your stories and ideas for change, these are places to go!

If you need help, ask us!  We will get out of court and be there to support your ideas as soon as we can!



What to do with Paint!

Your child dislikes touching fingerprint or playing with paint?  Try some of these ideas with the homemade paint recipes I posted two weeks ago…


straw paint photo courtesy theimaginationtree.com


Paint with straws!

Get paper.

Get straws.

Mix some food coloring homemade paint.


See pic above for the idea!  Use food coloring and water paints, and let the kids drink this to their heart’s content.



Toy car or truck painting!

Get paper.


Find some matchbox cars or play trucks.


Mix some paint.


Let the kids explore!


truck painting photo courtesy of notimeforflashcards.com




Marble Painting

Get marbles.

Get paper.

Get a box to put the paper in.

Mix some homemade paint.


Put the paper into the box, and pour some blobs of paint onto the paper.  Put marbles into the box and then let kids tilt and wiggle the box to create marble tracks through the paint.

marble paint photo courtesy of 4.bp.blogspot.com




Feet painting!


Get some paper.

Make some homemade paint.

Get some kids with feet.

Tape the paper to the floor – outside is easy, inside put lots of extra paper down around your art paper – and squirt paint onto the paper.  Get kids with bare feet and let them walk, squish, wiggle and slide through the paint.

If inside, have some towels and water pails ready when the fun is done!


feet painting photo from homegrownfriends.com



Fruit painting!

Get some apples, oranges, pineapple, or strawberries.

Get some paper.

Get some bowls or margarine tubs.

Make some homemade paint.

Let kids dip the fruit into the paint and make prints – or smears – or globs.


All is good.


photo courtesy http://cdn.homesthetics.net/



So start thinking of fun things to do with paint!  Try feathers, sticks, rocks, q-tips, balloons, potato mashers, forks and spoons, corks, potatoes, pasta….  whatever you can dream of and have around the house!


But get painting!  


Cheap Art closet!



Ok, lots of families have been asking me about art supplies, and what to buy, and what to keep on hand.  So great idea for a web post!

Here are the supplies I suggest you keep around, from the bare minimum, to some store-bought special items.  But remember, with the bare basics, you can do lots of art!


So here is the Bare Minimum Art Cabinet for a family:


Food colors ( a necessity for so many projects! )

Paper (get paper when you buy groceries and cut it into drawing and craft paper at home… also ask around for paper!  Stores often have out of date flyers and will gladly share them for your child’s art!)

Salt  (cheapest non-iodized salt you can find!)

Flour (I buy the cheapest white flour for art and save the better flour for cooking…)

Baking soda (I but the largest amount I can afford – this stuff is in so many projects!)

Vinegar (see above! get the most you can as you use this so much!)

Corn starch (another essential, so buy a big box!)

Home recyclables – any and all!  Peanut butter jars and cardboard cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls and parmesan cheese jars and margarine tubs and soda bottles and plastic lids of any shape and size!  Save junk mail for paper or for crafting!  Use #6 plastic from your veggies and fruit to use as a cheap shrink dink!  Keep this stuff and glue it, paint it, smear it, and use it to store your art supplies as well!


And there you have it!  With the above essentials, you can make all types of paint, watercolors, play dough, goop, paste, glue, slime, sensory activities, fun paintings…  So I really recommend trying to keep these supplies on hand!

fun art pic from an organized parent – not like me at all! from hollysartcorner.blogspot.com

Now for the extras, things to pick up when you see them on sale, or when you notice someone throwing them away (cheap!), or I have pulled things out of other people’s trash.   I especially “rescue” other people’s large boxes, those big plastic laundry jars people toss out, and any paper I see.  So don’t think “extras” means paying out big $$$.  Not at all.

Paint brushes.  These are hard to find, not always easy to make (though be creative, as flowers, q-tips, sponges and just plain old fingers also work), and for some special art projects paint brushes are nice to have.

Tape.  I prefer duct tape, which can be expensive, but then again ask all the shop guys in your life for the end of their rolls.  Also scotch tape and painter’s tape can be handy.

Q-tips.  Some families always have these, but not all, so I don’t list them as a basic.  But q-tips make great paint brushes as well as fun ways to smear any type of slime or goop.  If you have a kid who is a bit timid about touching goop, q-tips work (but so do spoons!)

Adult glue.  You can make all the paste you want with flour and water, or glue as well, but for some fun art projects having a good adult glue about is great.  I am thinking Aleene’s craft glue (nope, I’m not an affiliate) or any other kid safe glue that is strong and holds well.  No!  Don’t think crazy glue!  I have heard horror stories about some of the super glues out there, so stick to stuff that is safe, though still more for adults.

Kid glue.  I don’t use kid glue to glue – that is what homemade is for.  But if you have one of those kids who loves slime and goop recipes, then watch for a Michael’s 50% off coupon and buy kid glue by the gallon.  It comes in handy to make glitter glue paint, and is essential for some slime recipes.

Straws.  Kids’ plastic drinking straws aren’t a necessity, but they can be so much fun.  They look great on glue sculptures, and make great beads to string for necklaces.  They also work great to blow glue, or paint, and you can make some fun balloon rockets.  If you see sale straws, grab ’em.

Clear Contact paper.  This is another great fun material.  Buy it on sale at Walmart or Michael’s.  You can use it to make fun placemats, sun catchers in the window, neat paintings, and it is wonderful for kids who struggle with glue mosaics.

Shaving cream.  The all time most fun substance for some kids – gooey, wet, takes food colors well, can be used to clean the table or in the tub.  I buy the cheapest I can find, and save it for those long rainy days when kids need something really fun.

Tissue paper in many colors.  Again, don’t buy paper for drawing – too many stores will gladly share with you.  But tissue paper makes a great material for watercoloring and for glueing.  It goes on sale at Walmart regularly, so just watch for sales.

Construction paper.  This is a pretty standard thing for parents to buy, but it isn’t necessary for many projects.  But if you do want to add to your art supplies, it can come in handy.  Buy on sale or save your coupons.

Stamp pads.  Most any paint will work for stamp art, but sometimes permanent stamp pads are useful for making a special mother or father’s day gift, or for permanent art.  These require supervision, kinda like sharpie markers, so use and buy sparingly.

Crayons.  A lot of kids on the autism spectrum do not have the hand strength to use crayons well.  So I don’t really suggest buying these except for special projects.  On the other hand, old crayons are easy to buy at Goodwill or garage sales, and they are fun for things like melting into rainbow crayons or ironing in wax paper….

Markers.  Cheap kids’ markers at Walmart or Michael’s are useful for the days when you don’t want to mix up another jarful of food coloring and water.  But these can be expensive.  My solution is to buy five boxes when on sale at the back-to-school sales in late summer, when you can get these boxes of markers for $1.  Hide the boxes and try to remember where you hide them!


I’ve included a great pic from an organized mom’s blog – definitely not like me!  My art supplies are always falling out of cupboards!  But think of fun and easy places to store art supplies, and remember to fill up with the junk from the recycling bin!

Art is too important for our children’s development to NOT try fun art projects almost every day.  You don’t need lots of cash, just lots of imagination.  Share with the kids on those grumpy days when everyone has the blues.  I recommend doing some kind of art every single day – it will make a huge difference in your day, in your kids’ skills, and it doesn’t have to cost much at all.