7 Arts and Crafts Projects for Kids That Encourage Recycling and Reuse

by , 12/06/11


Need an idea for a new craft project? Look in your recycling bin. See an old juice carton? You can turn it into an organizer for crayons, markers and other art supplies. Got a cardboard box? Create a stage for puppets to perform in. Your kids will be amazed by what you can do with old newspapers, cereal boxes, coffee cans, and milk jugs. Plus, by working on these recycled craft projects together, your kids will have the opportunity to see the power of recycling and reuse first hand. So take stock of what you have on hand in your home recycling center and follow our easy how-to instructions to make something great, and green, with your kids.


This post is sponsored by Glad. We’re taking small steps to do our part and want to help you waste less too. Visit GLAD.com for more information.


If you have a box … make a puppet theater!

Let your child be a set designer, screenwriter, actor and director all in one day when you build and play with a DIY puppet theater. All you need is an old cardboard box, some felt or fabric scraps, white paper or a brown paper bag, scissors, glue, packing tape and markers or crayons. First, you’ll cut the box into a theater shape following our step-by-step instructions. Then, you’ll cover and decorate the box with felt or fabric scraps design the set on a piece of blank paper or the inside of an old paper grocery bag, and then tape it at the back of the box, or puppet theater. This box-turned theater is the perfect venue for your child’s puppets, or you can repurpose old socks into sock puppets to star in the show.

+ INSTRUCTIONS: How to Make a Puppet Theater from a Recycled Box

If you have a plastic bottle … make a piggy bank!

Does your child need somewhere to store those hard earned pennies or tooth fairy loot? Make your own piggy bank using a few recycled materials. Start with a large plastic bottle — our crafter used a gallon-sized water bottle, but a 2-liter soda bottle or any big plastic bottle would do. Next, you’ll make homemade papier mache paste and use old newspaper strips to cover your bank. Once it dries completely your child can use eco-friendly paints to give the bank some pizazz. Now, it’s time to start saving!

+ INSTRUCTIONS: How to Make a DIY Recycled Piggy Bank

If you have a small glass jar … make a snow globe!

Is there a baby food jar or an empty glass jar from jam, olives, or anything lurking in your recycling bin? Then you’re on your way to making your very own snow globe. You’ll also need to encourage your child to scrounge up an old toy they’re willing to give up, or at least willing to let it live in the snow globe going forward. The toy will also need to be small enough to fit in the jar you’ve chosen to reuse. Follow our step-by-step how to for all the details, but with a little glitter or hole punched paper for snow, some glycerin, eco glue, and waterproof epoxy, you’ll have a magical snow globe!

+ INSTRUCTIONS: How to Make a Snow Globe from a Recycled Jar

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7 Responses to “7 Arts and Crafts Projects for Kids That Encourage Recycling and Reuse”

  1. Yuka Yoneda says:

    The snowglobe is my fave!

  2. Lori Zimmer says:

    these projects are perfect for winter! I made a snowglobe when i was a kid

  3. Julie Seguss says:

    I love that these ideas are so resourceful — no need to run to the craft store to pick up a bunch of supplies before you can start your project.

  4. Kestrel Jenkins says:

    I’m going to make a puppet theater over the holidays, just for fun!

  5. danm says:

    I want to make a snow globe so bad now

  6. Brit says:

    These are the kinds of things I remember fondly about my childhood! Making something out of nothing can be so much fun.

  7. Jessica Dailey says:

    Great ideas… I made a plastic bottle piggy bank when I was little!

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