Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recycling a Floor Puzzle

We have been a spending a lot of time doing puzzles lately, and have been having a lot of fun expanding our collection.  Thrift stores and consignment shops are by far our favorite source for puzzles,  and we have found some real treasures.  And yes…as we’re still working with kids puzzles I always count the pieces.  Except once.  And of course it’s missing three.  The littles around here do not like to do a puzzle that is missing a piece.  I don’t know what that says about them…but that’s the way it is. 

This particular puzzle that is missing pieces is large (100 jumbo pieces…hence the reason for not counting them all…!), and the picture is poor quality despite being a good brand  (Melissa & Doug…we’ve been very happy with their puzzles).  It seems to photograph well and looks fine here but it’s grainy and dark up close and the graininess especially drives me batty.  I like it crisp and clean!  We needed a way to recycle this puzzle and came up with a great option. 

We put it together for the last time!…and marked out four new rectangular puzzles by tracing the box four times.  You really could make the new puzzles any shape or size…the box just seemed like a quick solution!  I used a ruler and a box cutter to cut the new puzzles out.  (I held the ruler and box cutter just as I would cut fabric with a rotary cutter.  This made nice straight lines…which I also like!)  Once our new puzzles were formed we flipped them over and redrew new puzzles on the back.  Becca did this activity with 3 other little friends she gets together for a co-op with and they had a great time.  Good bye puzzle from the bottom of the stack…hello fantastic art activity, novel new toy, and fun lesson on recycling and repurposing.  Bonus:  with that puzzle box out of the way we now have room for the perfect United States puzzle that I’ve been searching for!  It’s a great cycle.  Success.