Before you haul all of those plastic bottles to the curb, put a few aside and provide your child with an afternoon of creative play. You can reuse empty plastic bottles to create costumes, toys, art projects -- even favors for a birthday party. So go ahead and save a little money and the environment, all while keeping your child engaged and entertained.
Add variety to your child's toy collection with a few plastic bottles. Help your little superhero create a pretend jet pack with two-liter soda bottles. Set two bottles side by side and attach them with tape. Paint the bottles silver and add red and orange "flames" using scraps of felt, fabric or tissue paper. Glue the pretend flames to the neck of each bottle. Add straps with extra fabric or elastic. Now your little one has a costume suitable for zooming around the house. Or if your child is not in the mood to play dress-up, consider using plastic bottles to create toy cars instead. Give your child paint, stickers and other art supplies to decorate the bottles to his liking. Cut four holes in the sides of each bottle for the wheels. Put small wooden dowels through each set of holes and attach a bottle cap, large button or similar round item to the ends of the dowels. Now get ready for a race. Which bottle will be the fastest?
Plastic bottles lend themselves to a variety of art projects. Draw a tree trunk and branches on a large piece of paper. Give your child non-toxic paint and a plastic soda bottle. Let her dip the bottom of the bottle into the paint and use it as a stamp to add leaves to the tree. Green paint is classic. Red, orange and yellow paint can create an autumnal scene, while pink paint looks like beautiful cherry blossoms. Encourage your child to get creative.
Help your child fill a plastic bottle with orange-colored water. Paint the bottle cap green and add a paper leaf and pipe cleaner vine. Let your child color a face onto the bottle with a black marker. In minutes, your child has a decorative jack-o-lantern. Or make an apple just in time for the first day of school. Cut the bottoms off two empty soda bottles. Fill the bottoms with crumpled red tissue paper and attach them, one on top of the other, with clear tape. Add a brown paper stem and green leaf to the top. Or consider using red candies instead of tissue paper and let your child give a sweet gift to her teacher.
Empty plastic bottles can add a personal touch to your child's next birthday party. Your child can fill clean, empty plastic bottles with colored candies to give out as party favors. Use colors that complement the party's theme and consider layering the colors for effect. Let your child help you make decorative ice cubes using the bottoms of soda bottles. Cut the bottoms off several bottles and fill with two inches of water. Consider adding food dye to the water to make colored ice cubes. The final product looks like frozen flowers -- perfect for the punch bowl.