Saving the planet starts at home, which is why parents should make recycling ideas for kids a top priority to practice and teach. However, as Amy A. Whittle comments in the SFGate, “teaching your kids about recycling can be difficult, because the concept is often fairly abstract for younger children. Talking to them regularly about the benefits of recycling is crucial, but also be sure to participate in green activities that highlight that importance. Older children and teenagers should be encouraged to apply what they have learned to benefit the community by volunteering with recycling or composting programs at their school or other public facilities.”
If you’re new to recycling but feel inclined to start, here are just a few crafty recycling ideas for kids.
1. Host a Kids’ Clothes Swap Party
Instead of going shopping when the seasons change, consider inviting your kids’ friends over for some snacks, games and an all-out swap party. Kids are forever eyeing one another’s duds, so why not make a day of it while doing something positive for the environment.
2. Make a Storage Bag Tiara
What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess for a day? Rather than shopping for the latest Disney princess get-up, which she’ll likely outgrow soon anyway, consider transforming a clean plastic food storage bag into her very own customized tiara! Just cut off the bottom of the bag, and use scissors to cut pointy edges across the remaining plastic. The top will fit nicely on a young girl’s head. She can also color the points with permanent markers or decorate them with leftover ribbon for colored jewels.
3. Milk Jug Watering Can
Gardening can be an immensely gratifying family activity. Add the element of using recycled tools, and watch that sense of fulfillment go from good to great. Simply punch holes near the top of a clean jug with a sharp nail. Encourage your child to decorate the outside of the jug with markers or stickers, then fill the jug with water and quench your garden’s thirst.
4. Water Bottle Bowling
Sick of watching your kids glued to the TV set or iPad? Encourage a household bowling tournament, using old water bottles as pin.You can fill the bottles with colored water to add a touch of whimsy to the whole thing, and use a tennis or playground ball to strike!
5. Draft Blocker Snake Made of Old Tights
Make a cool snake out of a pair of old tights, that doubles as a draft blocker you can use to keep cool air inside in the summer and outside in the winter. Cut a leg off the tights and stuff it with strips of old fabric or rags. Sew the end closed and glue on felt pieces for eyes and a mouth. You can also decorate the snake with additional scraps, buttons or other materials for a playful creature.
6. Egg Cartons
Egg cartons are are a staple when it comes to creative recycling ideas for kids. You can make the infamous caterpillar, by using just half of the egg carton length-wise, decorating each “section” of your new crawler friend, and adding eyes and antennae with some pipe-wire or even bobby pins. You can also use an old egg carton as a DIY jewelry box, which kids can also enhance with drawings, stickers or words they love.
Related Video: Soda Can Tab Bracelet Craft Tutorial
7. Paper Towel Roll Rain Stick
Even though rain sticks (traditional musical instruments from South America) are made from the wood skeleton of a cactus, your kid can make one by cutting circles of cardboard slightly larger than the top and bottom of a cardboard paper towel roll. Simply tape one cardboard circle to the top of the tube (use masking tape) and add some rice or dried beans and some crumpled pieces of aluminum foil to the tube. Tape the other cover on the bottom and cover the whole thing with colored paper and decorations.
8. Crayon Art
Crayons are not just for coloring. The Melted Crayola Canvas, for example, is extremely popular, and all it requires are a canvas, crayons, hot glue and a blow dryer. Peel and affix the crayons (pointing down) to the top of the canvas with a strip of the glue, and blow-dry the row of crayons until they begin to melt downward onto the canvas, giving you and your kid an inner-Jackson-Pollack moment to remember.
9. Upcycled Inventor’s Box
Dig through your recycling bin for materials such as (but not limited to!) cereal boxes, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, berry baskets and packing material—and put them in a box with a special note to your child that will prompt his/her creative juices, such as: Create a gadget that will do your homework for you! Make sure there is glue, tape and safety scissors in the box and watch as your little inventor toils away.
10. Striped Scarf with Odd Balls of Leftover Yarn
This one is a no-brainer. Don’t toss leftover yarn. Instead, teach yourself how to knit a scarf—and while you’re at it, teach your kids to knit, too!
11. Baby Wipe Storage Boxes
What’s good for our bottoms are good for, well…everything! Rather than getting rid of empty baby wipe boxes, get your kids to decorate, label and use them to store odds and ends.
12. Decorative Cardboard Storage Box
If you love your shoe collection, you’ll also love what your kids can do with the leftover shoeboxes. Wrap a box with comics pages from a newspaper. Secure on the inside with tape. Cut out individual scenes from a comic strip to create a collage effect around the box. Then crush an aluminum can, making sure it’s as flat as possible. Use hot glue to secure the can to the lid of the box, and then use a marker to label the box with the child’s name or the items the box will hold.
Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by HoneyMaid, and their efforts to showcase the many facets of modern American family life.