Activities to Describe Resourcefulness to Children

Resourcefulness is defined as the ability "to act effectively or imaginatively," so someone who is resourceful is capable and takes the initiative when faced with a problem 1. For children, this can mean seeing a pile of boxes as a stairway to the unreachable or empty toilet paper rolls as a pair of binoculars. You can help your child understand and develop this sense of resourcefulness with simple activities.


Recycling activities are a good way to be resourceful and help the environment 1. Ask your child to join in as you sort the recycling. You could do this once a week, once a day or as you are about to throw things in the trash. Let your child separate the metal, paper and plastic into different containers and talk about how each item gets recycled into something new. For example, talk about how aluminum cans are melted down and turned into more cans, paper is broken down to make cardboard for boxes and plastic items, such as milk jugs, are remade into things like plastic spoons and forks. Explain how being resourceful means finding new uses for old things and how recycling helps keep items from being dumped in a landfill.


Talk with your child about how resourcefulness can mean reusing old things in new and effective ways. Get your child excited about turning trash into treasures by working together to reuse old materials from around the house. Play clothes that are too stained to donate can be cut into squares, hemmed and turned into dusting cloths. Let your child mark several square shapes on an old T-shirt and cut out each square. This is a great opportunity to teach your child to sew, as well. You can also turn a washed out milk jug into a bird feeder. Using super glue, attach a wooden dowel to the bottom of one of the sides of the jug. When dry, cut a hole about 2 inches in diameter directly above the dowel. Cut a piece of twine about 20 inches long. Tie one end of twine around the top of the milk jug and another around the branch of a tree. Spoon bird seed into the bottom of the jug and replenish as necessary.

Arts and Crafts

Making art doesn't mean you have to use perfectly packaged art supplies from the craft store. Teach your child how to create interesting art out of trash and other found materials. Instead of throwing away a chipped drinking glass, cover the chipped area with hot glue. Gather twigs that are at least as long as the glass is tall. Glue the twigs vertically around the outside of the glass until it is completely encased in the twigs. Tie a decorate piece of twine around the glass and you have created a rustic style vase.Your child can also create works of art using trash. Before you recycle a cereal box, magazine or food package, have your child cut interesting pieces out. Give your child an old cardboard box, scissors and glue and have your child create a collage. Talk about using the pieces of trash as bits of color for a bigger picture or combining different characters from a variety of advertisements into one picture together. Give your child raw materials and a few suggestions on what you could make to help them understand resourcefulness. For example, a tissue box, glue and four toilet paper rolls make a great four-legged creature or a table for dolls.

Dramatic Play

Children love stories, and every story plot has a problem that the main character must solve. Part of being resourceful is finding unique solutions to problems, so create a fairy tale of your own with your child. Have your child come up with his own main character and plot. Maybe the character must rescue the princess, save the town from the evil villain or find lost treasure on a mystery island. Guide your child through the problem as he tells you his story. Ask leading questions, such as, "Oh no! The map fell into the water. How will Captain Jack ever find the treasure without his map?" Encourage your child to work through and ultimately solve his character's fairy tale problem. You can even act out the story with puppets made from old socks that are too rough or full of holes to be worn anymore. Use fabric glue and felt to give your sock puppets clothes, and embellish them with fabric paint.