Let them decorate straws

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post suggests some creative uses for drinking straws. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting click here.

My children take turns to lay the table for dinner. If their friends are guests, then those friends get to lay the table too. However sometimes there are just too many children in the house to share the job. If the kids aren’t making food with you, then another task they can do – unspupervised – is a seating plan using decorated straws.

Over-controlling as this sounds, it’s also quite fun to find a nice magazine pic, cut it out and stick it and their friend-visitor’s name on to a drinking straw (and a good lesson in the need to check how to spell every name, Evo (see pic above) is infact an understandably indignant Ivo, oops).

Drinking straws are flim-flam – made to be chucked out – but I always try to wash them after use, so that they get a few appearances at the table, and then join the craft box. We probably wouldn’t even have them if they hadn’t been given to Nell as a 9th birthday present.

Other good uses for drinking straws
Great for science
1) What can you vaccum up and hold with your breath on the end of the straw (without choking!) Peas? sweet corn? loganberries?
2) How many drinks go bubbly if you blow down the straw (tip try turning milk into babycinno)?

Useful for craft
1) Adapt and use as fencing for model zoo/farm animals
2) Weave them into mini mats, mobiles
3) Glue together to make models, eg, Iron Giants.

Grand designs
1) Pile up like spilikins and see if you can reduce the pile one straw at a time without dislodging any of the other straws.
2) Challenge party goers to think what they could build with the straws – if everyone’s flailing, use some inspirational words like “Big Bang”, “Battles” or just suggest there’s no way they could make something like the Olympic Park’s Arcelor Mittal tower by Anish Kapoor, or is there. See this time-lapse reconstruction here.

Over to you
Any ideas for re-using drinking straws?

NEWS: Competition winner of Weaving Hope’s fab fair trade cloth cooking set was Green Mummy. Lucky blogger. Her plan is to give the prize to her little daughter as a reward for getting out of nappies and on to the potty!

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3 Comments on “Let them decorate straws”

  1. For much younger children, straws can be cut up to make “beads” – hours of fun can be had threading them on to string!

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