ARTICLE by Charlotte Gelstharp

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids

 |  Reading time: 6 minutes
B_for_Blog | Natural Baby Shower

Arts and crafts are the perfect crowd pleaser for children that can keep them occupied for hours, every parents dream right!? It could be you simply need an activity to pass the endless days at home, or if you’re anything like me, you actually have a little soft spot for arts and crafts and can’t help but get involved too.

Rule 1 of arts and crafts is you have to accept it’s going to get a little messy! Prepare for it by placing down sheets on the floor and work space, also make sure your little one’s clothes are protected with an apron. The key to fun arts and crafts is keep it simple, yes that means keep the paper mache for when they’re a little older!

But we also believe a key part of arts and crafts is finding a second use for things around the house to help towards your recycling efforts. The core of every good arts and crafts, in our opinion, is re-using and recycling old objects that would have otherwise ended up in the bin, and finding a new life for them.

This will teach your children that objects have more than 1 purpose and to use their creativity to create something beautiful out of “rubbish". You will obviously still need the classic arts and crafts essentials such as paint, coloured pens, glue and some coloured card, but we love making the core of the project recycled objects.

Keep reading to check out our perfect eco arts and crafts perfect for recycling old objects to bust that summer break boredom. We promise they are super simple too!

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids


Cress Heads

This one is an absolute classic, and we have fond memories of doing this as a science experiment when we were in school. It's a great way of showing your children how things grow in a relatively short period of time so that your child can see the whole growing process from start to finish and be involved throughout. You can use all sorts of containers or pots to grow your cress in, but we find that a good old simple old egg shell works perfectly and again injects new life into something that would have simply been thrown away.

Simply prepare the egg shells left over from breakfast. Once you have the egg shell with nothing in it, wash them out so that there are no ‘bits’ left that will begin to smell a few days down the line. Draw a little smiley face or something fun on the shells to bring them to life. Pop a little cotton wool in each egg shell, and sprinkle with cress seeds. Sprinkle the seeds with a little water, and wait for the magic to happen! Water them a little every few days and after only 10 days, we have our Cress Heads. Simply give the Cress Heads a little hair cute and voila! Egg and cress sandwiches anyone?

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids


Sponge sailboats

These are so simple and your little ones will love them! They can be played with in the bath, in the garden in a make shift tub or you could even have a race down a nearby stream. Plus, it’s a great use of those old sponges that were only destined for the bin.

Simply clean and cut the sponges if necessary into a rectangle shape for the boat. Cut coloured paper into a large triangle shape, and make a hole in the top and bottom of the triangle. Then get yourself a wooden kebab skewer and slip this through the hole’s in the paper. Now you’re ready to set sail!

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids


Can bowling

This one is fun for the whole family and can be used time and time again once they have been made. You can take them along to the park, summer vacation or even family bbq’s. Dive into the recycling bin and find those old tin cans, it’s time to add a little fun into them!

Find old cans that are all in good condition with no dents in them, similar size and weight. Give them a little clean, and it’s time to get the paint out. Let the kids have fun with this one and let them paint them any colour or design they want. You could add numbers on them afterwards to make them look even better. Then simply get yourself a foam ball from the garden or something similar and get playing! Who can get the first strike?

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids


Toilet Roll animals

Toilet rolls really are the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to arts and crafts. You always have plenty in the recycling bin and they have so many uses if you add a little bit imagination. From rockets and cars to animals you really can make these into anything for your children to enjoy making but also play with afterwards.

Our favourite thing to do is make animals out of them. Here are just a few of our favourite creature creations from the good old toilet roll!

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids

Pasta Jewellery

These may not get mistaken for a Tiffany & Co piece and there definitely are no diamonds, but we can promise you your little ones will love making these and will be showing them off for the rest of the day. 

You will need uncooked pasta for this, any pasta that has a hole in the middle can be used. Then simply let your little one paint each pasta in what every colour or design they want to bring their masterpiece to life. You will need to measure a piece of string or yarn and cut it to the right size if it’s a necklace, anklet or bracelet so it fits your little one. Then start threading on the dried pasta tubes on to the string, tie a knot and you’re done!

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kidsv

Tie Dye T-shirts

Do you have a white t-shirt that is now looking a little more grey than white? Or has your little adventurer got his favourite t-shirt grubby from adventure time? Well we have the perfect answer to inject brand new life into old clothes that are looking a little, meh. It’s tie dye time!!! It will get messy so start by covering all work surfaces with plenty of newspaper and wear gloves and an apron.

To get started start bunching sections of the t-shirt tightly with rubber bands to create areas. These areas won’t be dyed and will create the tie dye look. Prepare the dye according to the packet instructions. Fill a large bucket with hot water and dunk your shirt in, and wring out. Now pop the t-shirt into the dye mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Leave in depending how dark you want the colour to be. Remove once you are happy with the colour, rinse under warm water, then cool water until the water runs clear then lay flat to dry. There you have it, goodbye old t-shirt, hello tie dye master piece. Peace man!

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids


Egg Carton

This is another item that is in every household that has so much potential for arts and crafts fun. Add some paint, perhaps a little glitter and loads of imagination you can transform your egg cartons into so many things! We especially love making something that our children can play with after the arts and crafts activity has finished so it really does give the egg carton a second life. The egg carton train is always a winner in our house!

Cut the egg carton cups out of the box, we tend to keep them in couples and sections of 2 to make the train a bit easier to assemble. Then paint and set aside to dry. Whilst these are drying you can get to work on the wheels, we suggest simply cutting circles out of paper to keep it simple. With a hole punch make hole in each of the egg cup “train carriages” at the front and back. Then tie them all together with a piece of ribbon or string. Glue on the wheels. Then for the front of the train we always simply use a toilet roll and a single egg up for the chimney. Your little one can pop their favourite little dolls as passengers into the carriages for the ultimate play time fun. Choo Choo!

Recycle arts and craft ideas for kids


We hope you love getting involved and a little messy making these recycled arts and craft ideas as much as we do with our families. They will all teach your children a great lesson that what other’s deem as rubbish can have a whole new purpose and life injected into them. Please do share your recycled arts and craft masterpieces with us by tagging us in your pictures!