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Hudson - Litchfield News August 19, 2011 - 13

Creative Projects to Avoid the Back-to-School Blues last for years. If the old desk or table is metal,

(ARA) - Transitioning from sunny afternoons at the pool to long days in a classroom isn’t easy for some children, especially when it’s still nice outside. But if you involve your kids in a few simple projects that stimulate learn- ing and creativity, you can get them excited about the new school year. “Most kids love to express their

creativity, and what better way than to get them involved in projects that make learning fun,” says Angie Stinner, Rust-Oleum design expert and blogger. “There are lots of easy, inexpensive projects parents and children can do together that can prepare them for the routine of homework and make them

look forward to going back to school.” Here are three fun project ideas that can help ease your child into the new school year.

All around the world Create a blank chalkboard globe to

challenge their geography knowledge. Purchase a used globe at your local thrift store, from an online retailer like Amazon or eBay, or use one you already have in your home. Paint the surface using Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint. It comes in a variety of colors - like traditional Black, Grape Fizz and Periwinkle - double the fun by letting your kids select the color. After it’s dry,

give them some chalk and ask them to draw the continents. You can alter the difficulty level for younger children by drawing in a continent or two as a starting point. They’ll love showing you how much they already know and will actually look forward to learning more. Create a homework hot spot If it’s a daily struggle to get your kids to sit down and focus on homework, why not upcycle an old desk or table to create a designated homework hot spot? They’ll love creating their very own “office” to get their schoolwork done.

Rejuvenate an old wood desk or ta- ble with an easy-to-use wood stain like

Turn Students Into Recycling Heroes This Back-to-School Season

an attractive vase. The possibilities are endless, so you’ll not only be saving trash from a landfill, you’ll be inspiring creativity.

3. Better together Recycling is often more effective when multiple people take

part. Teachers can set a goal for their classroom, school or even in- dividual students to recycle a specified amount of paper, plastics, aluminum and glass before the end of the school year. Parents can support this effort by encouraging children to not only recycle at home, but to also take recyclable materials into the classroom to participate in the school’s project.

4. Adopt a program Encouraging your children to take part in a recycling-focused

program can develop valuable habits while encouraging some fun. One such program is the Elmer’s Glue Crew Recycling Program, a classroom resource designed to teach children how they can help save the planet, gives recycling-related lesson plans as well as fun and engaging projects for their students. Throughout the year, the classroom or school collects empty glue bottles and glue sticks to be recycled through TerraCycle. For additional information on the Elmer’s program, visit and Facebook. com/GlueCrew.

- ARA Content 2011- 5.5 TALL BY 2.5 COLUMNS WIDE $163.63 EACH WEEK FOR 4 WEEKS, 5TH WEEK FREE With back-to-school season back again,

now is a great time to instill a simple message your child will benefit from in the years to come: green is good.

By implementing a few recycling tactics across your home and encouraging the same behaviors in the classroom, you can turn your student into a green “hero” and help her embrace earth-friendly habits. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 30 percent of consumer waste is recycled each year. This presents a great opportunity for chil- dren to use their green thumbs and take part in saving the planet. Here are a few ways to get your children


1. Give paper some TLC Paper accounts for as much as 50 percent of landfill space. Rather than add to this waste, implement a designated paper recycling bin that can be easily accessed where you tend to use paper most in the home or in the class- room. Or, better still, put your paper prod- ucts to good use by challenging your kids or students to create paper craft projects. Then encourage them to recycle any scraps when finished.

2. Get crafty In addition to paper products, all kinds of

waste can be “upcycled” into useful or deco- rative items. For example, a painted egg carton can make a unique storage box for small ob- jects like beads or paper clips and tissue paper glued to a clean spaghetti sauce jar makes for

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Rust-Oleum Ultimate Interior Wood stain. Its one-coat coverage and fast dry time means projects can be completed 75 percent faster than with traditional wood stains. Finish their “new” wood desk or table with a durable finish like Ultimate Interior Polyure- thane for a home- work

hotspot that will

wicker or plastic, you can make it look brand new with a spray paint like Uni- versal. It can be used on any surface and comes in a variety of colors and finishes so let your child’s inner artist choose the look they like best. Help keep them organized To keep schoolwork organized, put a file cabinet in your kids’ room to file their A-plus work and other important papers. Instead of using stickers to label what’s in each drawer, paint the cabinet with a chalkboard paint or Rust-Oleum Dry Erase Paint. You can write directly on the surface so the file cabinet can also serve as a calendar, message board or to-do list. It also gives your kids a place to write down homework assignments so they can easily keep track of when they are due. Visit for additional inspiring and creative “back to school” projects.

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