Need an idea for a new craft project? Look in your recycling bin. See an old juice carton? You can turn it into an organizer for crayons, markers and other art supplies. Got a cardboard box? Create a stage for puppets to perform in. Your kids will be amazed by what you can do with old newspapers, cereal boxes, coffee cans, and milk jugs. Plus, by working on these recycled craft projects together, your kids will have the opportunity to see the power of recycling and reuse first hand. So take stock of what you have on hand in your home recycling center and follow our easy how-to instructions to make something great, and green, with your kids.
If you have a box … make a puppet theater!
Let your child be a set designer, screenwriter, actor and director all in one day when you build and play with a DIY puppet theater. All you need is an old cardboard box, some felt or fabric scraps, white paper or a brown paper bag, scissors, glue, packing tape and markers or crayons. First, you’ll cut the box into a theater shape following our step-by-step instructions. Then, you’ll cover and decorate the box with felt or fabric scraps design the set on a piece of blank paper or the inside of an old paper grocery bag, and then tape it at the back of the box, or puppet theater. This box-turned theater is the perfect venue for your child’s puppets, or you can repurpose old socks into sock puppets to star in the show.
If you have a plastic bottle … make a piggy bank!
Does your child need somewhere to store those hard earned pennies or tooth fairy loot? Make your own piggy bank using a few recycled materials. Start with a large plastic bottle — our crafter used a gallon-sized water bottle, but a 2-liter soda bottle or any big plastic bottle would do. Next, you’ll make homemade papier mache paste and use old newspaper strips to cover your bank. Once it dries completely your child can use eco-friendly paints to give the bank some pizazz. Now, it’s time to start saving!
If you have a small glass jar … make a snow globe!
Is there a baby food jar or an empty glass jar from jam, olives, or anything lurking in your recycling bin? Then you’re on your way to making your very own snow globe. You’ll also need to encourage your child to scrounge up an old toy they’re willing to give up, or at least willing to let it live in the snow globe going forward. The toy will also need to be small enough to fit in the jar you’ve chosen to reuse. Follow our step-by-step how to for all the details, but with a little glitter or hole punched paper for snow, some glycerin, eco glue, and waterproof epoxy, you’ll have a magical snow globe!
If you have an empty juice carton … make an art supply organizer!
Do your kid’s art supplies all get thrown in an old shoe box, or worse yet, under the bed? Then, it’s time to organize them in a fun to make, and fun to use, orange juice carton desk organizer. Start with a clean empty juice carton from your recycling bin. Here at Inhabitots the OJ carton is one of our favorite recycled craft supplies! An adult (you) will need to use a craft knife to cut the appropriate holes in the carton, following our step-by-step process. Then your child can have fun fitting their crayons, makers, glue stick, colored pencils and more into the appropriate holes and slots.
If you have a plastic milk jug … make a LEGO scoop!
This easy peasy project requires little more than cutting away part of a clean empty milk jug. Then, you can let you child go to town decorating the scoop with markers. The scoop is great for making toy cleanup fun — kids will love gathering up their LEGOs, other blocks, or any type of small toy. In fact, some toddlers might make a game of scooping and dumping over and over again. This scoop is also great for sand and water at the beach.
If you have a cereal box … make a marble run!
Not so fast – don’t break down that empty cereal box for recycling just yet! With a pair of scissors and some tape, you can cut strips from the box and stick them back inside to create a marble run. Your kids will love dropping their marbles through a hole (that you cut) in the top of the box, watching them zig zag to the bottom.
If you have a variety of wrappers, bottles, cups and caps … make jewelry!
Not only is making your own recycled jewelry fun, but also it’s better than donning potentially lead-laden costume jewelry any day! This project is perfect for completing with your child — since there is a fair amount of cutting, some steps are for adults only. Let your child dream up what types of jewelry they want to make from each of their recycle bin finds. Our crafter made a bracelet from a soda bottle, a pair of earrings from leftover fruit snack bags and juice pouches, and a necklace from plastic yogurt cups.