Thursday, April 12, 2012

110) 47 Recycling Projects For Kids

When I first starting teaching art, I taught over 500 middle schoolers a year on a very limited budget. I learned not to throw anything away. I learned to see every thing as a possible art making material. I became a big fan of the saying "One's man's trash is another man's treasure" and gladly accepted any items people were willing to donate. Giant bags of glass baby food jars, collections of old beat up pots and pans, huge stacks of newspaper, yes please! Once I started looking at everything with the "what could I make with that" eye it became kind of hard to stop. Last year when I left my full time art teaching position to stay home with the girls, I found that I continued to collect materials. I mean how could I let all those cardboard boxes go, they had so much potential. So with all our collected materials we started making stuff, lots of stuff.  With Earth Day coming up it seemed like a good time to compile all our trash into treasure projects. I have listed all the projects with the recycled materials we used and the ages that the project might be good for.
Click on the project title to see a full description of the project.

1) Egg Carton Lacing Toy
Recycled Material: Egg carton
Ages: Toddler and Preschool
2) Juice Carton Treasure Boats
Recycled Material: Juice or milk carton, Snack wrapper
Ages: Preschool-Teenage
3) DIY Plastic Bag Jumprope
Recycled Material: Plastic bags
Ages: Elementary and up can make it, all ages can play!
4) Plastic Flower Garden Markers
Recycled Material: Plastic containers (applesauce or yogurt cups)
Ages: Toddler and up
5) Recycled Bottle Watering Can
Recycled Material: Detergent or juice bottle
Ages: Made by a grow-up but can be used by toddler and up
6) Hanging Yogurt Cup Waterfall
Recycled Material: Plastic cups (applesauce or yogurt cups)
Ages: Made by a grown-up but can be used by babies and up
7) DIY Watercolor Paints
Recycled Material: Egg carton
Ages: Pre-school and up

8) No Sew Socktopus

Recycled Material: Socks
Ages: Elementary and Up could make them all ages can enjoy them
9) Cereal Box Notebook with Crayon Holder
Recycled Material: Cardboard boxes
Ages: Middle school and up could probably make them toddler and up can use them.
10) Recycled Sweater Hats
Recycled Material: Old or outgrown sweaters
Ages: Made by a grown-up these can be worn by babies and up.

11) Paper Bag Windsocks
Recycled Material: Paper bags
Ages: Toddler (with a little help) and up
12) Milk Carton Bank and Bottle Cap Coins
Recycled Material: Juice carton
Ages: Toddler and Up
13) Chalkboard Book
Recycled Material: Old board book
Ages: Toddler and up
14) Cow Parade
Recycled Material: Cardboard
Ages: Preschool and up
15) Take Out Lid Tambourine
Recycled Material: Plastic lids
Ages: Baby and up
16) Shaky Bottles
Recycled Material: Plastic Bottles
Ages: Toddler and up

17) Cardboard Tic-Tac-Toe Board
Recycled Material: Cardboard
Ages: Preschool and up
18) Cardboard Play House
Recycled Material: Cardboard
Ages: Toddler and up
19) Cardboard House Magnets
Recycled Material: Cardboard
Ages: Toddler and up
20) DIY Gift Labels and Bows
Recycled Material: Tinfoil
Ages: Preschool and up
21) DIY Castanettes
Recycled Material: Bottle caps, cardboard
Ages: Toddler and up

22) Bubble Wrap Printed Wrapping Paper
Recycled Material: Bubble wrap
Ages: Preschool and up
23) Squirt and Roll Painting
Recycled Material: Medicine syringes, cardboard roll
Ages: Toddler and up
24) Sculpture Letters
Recycled Material: Cardboard, plastic cups
Ages: Elementary and up could make it, preschool and up could decorate
25) DIY Texture Combs for Painting
Recycled Material: Cardboard
Ages: Toddler and up
26) Recycling Bin Robot
Recycled Material: Anything in the recycling bin
Ages: Preschool and up
27) Felted Sweater Mittens
Recycled Material: Old or outgrown wool sweaters
Ages: Baby and up
28) Plastic Cup Printing
Recycled Material: Plastic cups
Ages: Preschool and up

29) DIY Doorway Puppet Theatre
Recycled Material: Tablecloth or shower curtain
Ages: Preschool and up
30) Make Your Own Stamps
Recycled Material: Cardboard
Ages: Toddler and up
31) Apple Printing Wrapping Paper
Recycled Material: Brown packing paper
Ages: Toddler and up
32) Pumpkin Chia Pets
Recycled Material: Plastic Halloween pumpkins
Ages: Preschool and up
33) Cardboard Box Light Brite
Recycled Material: Cardboard box
Ages: Toddler and up
34) Juice Box Stacking Blocks
Recycled Material: Juice boxes
Ages: Baby and up

35) Plastic Hanger Mobile (with fused plastic 
Recycled Material: Plastic bags and hangers
Ages: For a baby and up
36) Texture Printing
Recycled Material: Cardboard, pennies
Ages: Preschool and up
37) Rain Sticks
Recycled Material: Cardboard tube
Ages: Baby and up
38) Straw Sorter
Recycled Material: Plastic tub. straws
Ages: Toddler and up
39) Marker Holder
Recycled Material: Wooden crate or tin
Ages: Toddler and up

40) Cardboard Mailbox
Recycled Material: Cardboard
Ages: Toddler and up
41) Cardboard Connectagons
Recycled Material: Cardboard
Ages: Preschool and up
42) Milk Carton Coin Purse
Recycled Material: Juice Carton
Ages: Toddler and up (bigger kids could make their own)
43) Corn Cob Printing
Recycled Material: Corn cobs
Ages: Toddler and up
44) Recycled Plastic Knife Wreath
Recycled Material: Plastic knives
Ages: Teen and up could make them but they could be a fun wall decoration for a kids room.

45) DIY Paint Brushes
Recycled Material: Foam sheets
Ages: Toddler and up
46) Play Computer
Recycled Material: Cardboard, old keyboard
Ages: Toddler and Up
47) Play With A Box
Recycled Material: Cardboard box
Ages: Baby and up


  1. Thank you. I'm pinning it.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Great list! It's full of ideas for recycling projects and I'm sure my girls will be very glad to create some new stuff. They love to cut and glue things and drawing goes all the time they spend at home. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Excellent! I am happy that we have the same concept on environmental protection, our company INTCO recycling waste styrofoam to reproduce beautiful frame or moulding to replace wood or marble.