My children are not immune to the siren call of the Family Dollar. Pink tubes of plastic lipstick and gleaming pots of Play-Doh and poster paint entice, even though we know from sad experience that these items will break or dry out within hours of purchase. Which is why I’m trying to replace the phrase “Can we buy it?” with “Can we make it?”
The best thing about the “Can we make it?” mindset is that the process of creating a play item is often its own reward. My precocious five-year-old now knows that women long ago dyed their lips with strawberry juice. This information resulted in bright red lips and an increased fruit intake. A recipe that’s been in my family since I was a kid makes the softest, squishiest play dough around. Mixing flour, dish soap, and food coloring creates awesome paint. Need more ideas? Pinterest abounds with crafty, hands-on fun.
Grown-ups can benefit from the “Can we make it?” mindset, too. Buying less stuff is a simple way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from factories and waste from packaging. It also inspires recycling and refashioning over replacing. With another hot and steamy Eastern Shore summer ahead, any opportunity to combat global climate change just makes sense. And saves cents, too.
by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator