Whether you’re looking for something to do for Earth Day or just for a way to craft with kids that won’t cost you tons of money there’s loads of reasons to try our some recycling activities for kids.
I think that kids are naturally interested in our planet (as we should all be!) and these simple and fun activities are a great way of encouraging that.
What You'll Find on This Page
Recycling Activities for Kids
With over 30 activities this post is split into two separate parts to help you find the ones that are perfect for your child.
First of all it’s time to take a look through the recycling bin or at things that haven’t made their way to the trash yet for some crafts you can make with recycled materials.
I’ve also written up a little (ok, pretty big) list of materials that you can use for kids crafts in case you need a little inspiration when looking round your home.
Then you’ll find a list of resources with worksheets and printables to help you do some recycling activities for kids at home, in at preschool or in a classroom. I hope you’ll find those helpful too!
What Recycled Materials Can You Use For Kids Crafts
- Toilet paper rolls
- Plastic bottle lids
- Bubble wrap
- Cardboard (cereal boxes, cardboard boxes etc)
- Aluminum cans / tin cans
- Scrap paper, old magazines and newspapers
- Plastic bottles
- Milk cartons
- Egg cartons
- Glass jars
- Old material
- CDs and DVDs
- Birthday and Christmas cards
- Paper bags
- Yogurt pots
Crafts Using Recycled Materials
This construction site made from recycled materials by Hello Wonderful looks gorgeous and is well worth saving those cardboard tubes for.
Aluminum cans are obviously ones that you need to be careful with crafting with kids but I’ve used them successfully with my own children and we really enjoyed making this unicorn pencil holder – my son made a Batman themed one! I’ve shared a video to this page showing how I made this recycled craft although obviously you can check out the written instructions if you’d prefer.
This mosaic paper recycling craft is perfect for this theme as you use scrap paper to decorate a recycling symbol.
We’ve made a lot of paper bag crafts for kids- our local bakery was a source of many craft materials for a while! This paper bag princess craft was a big hit with my preschooler and a good excuse to practice her scissor skills too.
We used old plastic bottle caps to make some DIY stamps. This is a really simple art activity that I did with my daughter when she was a toddler and was a big hit round ours as you can see from the pictures.
For a change from using the normal scissors this torn paper Earth craft is perfect for Earth day and uses a free printable as well as scrap paper.
I made this bird feeder with my daughter using an old egg box.
Use cotton reels to make this easy butterfly craft.
This paper hedgehog craft uses pieces of old paper to make the hedgehog’s spines. I’ve used a paper bag but you could use whatever you have in your recycling bin.
My kids enjoyed making this recycled CD spider craft and I had a good excuse to get rid of some old CDs.
Upcycling an old cardboard box is such an easy way to recycle a material for kids crafts and while it might not be the most Pinterest friendly activity we’ve ever done I can confirm that turning a cardboard box into a Batmobile is one of the activities that we’ve made that has been the most popular with my kids.
This foil painted campfire craft uses a recycled material to make a simple art activity.
Collages make great recycling activities as they’re a fun way to reuse any paper, card or anything else suitable that you can find around your home or classroom. For this polar bear craft I’ve found lots of different items from writing paper to foil and used glue to create the background.
A couple of years ago I did an advert for a company talking about cardboard box crafts for kids. While some of them use the materials in their kit there was also a cardboard box pizza oven we made using a spare box we had at home and it’s something that I think could easily be recreated, you just need to cut a flap out of a large box to make the oven shape and a circle for the pizza itself.
In The Playroom have a tutorial to make your own recycling game. It uses some recycled materials too which make it great for this subject.
Rather than making a craft out of toilet paper rolls, for this owl craft we’ve used them to paint with.
Use plastic bottles to make this bubble blower from Hello Wonderful, this is a great recycling project for kids as you can play with it in your backyard afterwards.
We used old newspaper for this heart craft for kids that I did with my daughter. You can of course change it to any shape that suits you.
Recycle CD’s to make this Valentines craft for preschoolers.
In The Playroom shares a post on making puzzles out of recycled Christmas cards, a bit seasonal for you? You could easily adapt this to use birthday cards or greetings cards and it would still be fun!
Toilet roll crafts are always a winner, I guess because it’s something you can be certain everyone has. These toilet paper roll monsters from Your Therapy Source look great for kids to make.
This milk jug craft is one that I did with my toddler and was a good way to cheer her up. We made it as Easter decorations but you could adapt it to whatever shape or season works for you.
Another Earth craft! This one was painted using some bubble wrap that we’d received in a a parcel as packaging and as we weren’t able to recycle it we used it for a craft instead.
This swimming pool craft from Barley and Birch looks amazing for small world play and reuses a takeout container and scrap cardboard to help make it.
Fancy a STEM challenge? Little Bins for Little Hands have got you covered with this paper Eiffel Tower activity that uses recycled newspaper.
This art project from Our Family Code uses plastic bottles to create suncatchers.
Artsy Craftsy Mom has a recycling activity that’s bound to put a smile on anyone’s face with these gloriously cheerful egg carton flowers.
These t-shirt yarn bracelets from Blue Bear Wood are probably one for older kids but they look gorgeous and are a craft I think lots of us would enjoy wearing as well.
This recycling symbol template is perfect for some easy arts and crafts or you could just cut it out and stick it on a bulletin board.
We’ve got a big pack of printable free recycling activity sheets for kids that are perfect for this subject or for Earth Day activities! The pack includes a recycling sorting activity, tracing and choosing what you can recycle, re-use or compost.
Our Earth Day scavenger hunt is great for getting kids to search around your neighborhood or school for planet friendly items.
Recycling got you thinking about our planet? Make sure to grab our free printable Earth template.
Party and Bright shares some cute printables including a Earth Day reflection sheet where kids can fill out what they’ve done and a recycling and sorting activity.