Not having any kind of budget available to start this project off, I tend to just filter off a few pence here and there when I spot something exciting in a charity shop! I’ve let the Boxes take me in the direction they and the children wished, and then sat back afterwards and thought, “Actually, this is all mostly rather green.”
From recycling an old shoebox to discovering what to put in it, there’s a fair amount of upcycling going on. (If you haven’t come across upcycling before, it’s like recycling, but the new item you’ve recycled out of something old is more exciting than the original). I get a lot of rich pickings from charity and junk shops, antique fairs, car boot and jumble sales, folk festivals, even the local recycling centre, and my own household ‘rubbish’ like empty pill boxes, jewellery boxes and sweet tins. Friends’ donations of stuff they don’t need is handy too (like a box of horn buttons being kindly sent to me by my leatherworker friend Andy). I make (and you can too) some of the Box contents myself – like the balsa wood fish in the Seaside Box or the pill box shakers in the Music Box. I have of course spent a bit more on buying in various magnets, glass pebbles and ethnic musical instruments, but the majority of the items in a Discovery Box – depending on the Box – are pretty green.
If you want, you can make an entire bespoke box from upcycled items. It is lots of fun and can teach the kids all about upcycling. Simply cover a shoebox in fairly thick pretty paper (you could get the kids to paint on lining paper) and line it with more paper or fabric, (old fabric sample books are handy) and fill it with recycled items. You’ll have lots of fun hunting through charity shops and asking friends for household utensils, spoons, bowls, little bags and boxes, random objects and buttons. You can look out purses and make little drawstring bags, and decorate tiny cardboard boxes to fill with little treasures inside the big box.
If you are part of the Transition Network, it might be worthwhile contributing this idea to your group. I’m about to float the idea of a Discovery Box stall at my local Transition Town Harvest Fair. If it works I’ll be posting an update and photos on my Springboard Facebook page. 🙂