recycling logo held up with hands

Arts and crafts activities are a great way to put your recyclables to good use, but also an excellent way to teach your kids about the importance of reducing your household waste.

Get the kids involved in these exciting recycling projects and teach them some interesting recycling facts as you go. With ideas ranging from how to make monster models, to bird feeders and ring toss games, you’ll make recycling for kids extra fun.

 

Toilet roll monsters

Empty toilet rolls might not look like much fun, but they make surprisingly good monsters – all you need is a splash of paint and a bit of imagination. Don’t forget to teach your kids some recycling facts along the way – did you know that we use 27,000 trees’ worth of toilet paper every day? All the more reason to reuse and recycle those tubes!

 

You will need:

  • Empty toilet roll tubes
  • Acrylic or poster paints and paintbrushes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Glue
  • Scrap paper
  1. Cover your work surfaces with newspaper to protect them from the paint.
  2. Start by asking the kids to paint the toilet roll tubes – the bolder and more colourful the better! You could add stripes, spots, or even glitter, the possibilities are endless. Leave the paint to dry for a little while before you move on to the next step.
  3. If you’re using googly eyes, get the kids to stick them on their monster; if you’re not, they can paint eyes on instead. Monsters can have any number of eyes in any location you like. There are no rules, so let your kids’ imaginations run wild!
  4. To give your monster arms, pierce a hole either side of each roll – it’s best if you do this part! Then, help your little ones to insert a pipe cleaner so that it goes in one hole, through the middle of the tube, and out of the other side through the second hole. Ask the kids to style the arms by bending and shaping them.
  5. To give your monsters even more character, you can cut the scrap paper into thin strips or triangles, and stick them inside the top end of the tube, so that it looks like hair. Remember to supervise little ones with scissors!

Your monsters should now be ready to play with! Your kids will love playing with figures that they have designed and created themselves. Who knew that empty toilet rolls could make such fun recycling projects?

 

Plastic bottle bird feeder

What better way to teach your little ones to care for nature than to combine recycling for kids with a way for them to look after their local birds? This bird feeder is very simple to put together, and the kids will love watching the birds enjoy their creation.

 

You will need:

  • 2-litre plastic bottle
  • Bird feed
  • One chopstick or equivalent
  • Acrylic/poster paint and paintbrushes
  • PVA glue
  • 1 length of string
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  1. Line the table with newspaper to protect it from the paint.
  2. Ask your child to draw two large bird-sized holes on either side of the plastic bottle.
  3. Carefully cut out the holes using scissors (you may prefer to do this part).
  4. Pierce two small holes either side of the bottle, just below the bird holes that you have created, and insert the chopstick so that a length sticks out of either end. This should create a horizontal perch for the birds to sit on.
  5. Mix a dollop of PVA glue with the paint, and ask your child to decorate the exterior of the bottle. Make sure some of the bottle is left clear so that the kids can enjoy watching the birds peck at the feed.
  6. Tie the string around the bottle top (make sure the top is screwed on) and hang from a tree in the garden.

Stand back and watch the birds enjoy your handiwork! If you don’t have shop-bought bird feed you can easily make your own using a mixture of seeds, nuts and dried fruit. You can also find more ideas for making your own bird feeder here.

 

Homemade ring toss set

This is among the more ambitious recycling activities for kids: recreate the ring toss game they play at parties using recycled materials! They’ll enjoy making their homemade ring toss set as much as they’ll enjoy playing with it at the end.

 

You will need:

  • 8 paper plates
  • 3 bottles
  • Acrylic or poster paints and paintbrushes
  • Sand or water
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  1. Cover your work surface in newspaper to protect it from the paint.
  2. Help your kids to cut out the inside of the paper plates, leaving a rim of approximately 4 cm (remember to keep an eye on little ones with scissors, or to handle the cutting part yourself.)
  3. Ask the kids to decorate the plates with different colours and patterns. Paint the plates in pairs with matching colours, so that the game can be played in teams.
  4. Help the kids to fill the bottles with either water or sand, and then screw the tops on.
  5. Use the permanent marker to write ascending point numbers on the bottles (i.e. the bottle placed furthest away might be worth 10 points, the one closest, 2 points).
  6. Place the bottles on the floor according to their point system and give each player a pair of rings.
  7. Get the players to stand a couple of meters away from the bottles and have a go at throwing the rings onto the bottles.

Why not have a family competition with your new homemade ring toss set? Don’t forget to show your little ones how to keep score with a pen and paper.

 

Egg box flowers

Encourage your kids to get creative by creating ‘flowers’ out of egg boxes and pipe cleaners. As they’re busy painting their flowers, teach them some recycling facts, like where the cardboard from the egg box came from and why it’s important that we reuse and recycle cardboard.

 

You will need:

  • An empty 12-egg box
  • Acrylic/poster paint and paintbrushes
  • Green pipe cleaners
  • A vase
  1. Cover the surface in newspaper, to protect it from the paint.
  2. Tear the individual egg cups out of the egg box, so that you have 12 individual little cups.
  3. Ask the kids to paint each of the egg cups, inside and out. These will be the petals of the flowers, so encourage them to use lots of different bright colours and patterns.
  4. Once the egg cups are dry, create individual petals by carefully tearing some of the outer edges of the cups.
  5. Help the kids insert the pipe cleaners into the base of each egg cup flower to create the stalk. Fold the pipe cleaner over at the face of the flower to hold it in place.

Your child can arrange their flowers in a vase to make a pretty table decoration, or give them to a friend or family member as a present!

These recycling activities for kids are a thrifty way to entertain your kids and stimulate their imaginations, but more importantly, they will learn that recycling isn’t just necessary – it’s fun, too. Why not see what other recycling ideas they can come up with?