5 Recycled DIY Projects for Kids

Posted by Robert Afsari on

Making Sustainability Fun for Kids

It’s never too early to start teaching kids about leading  a sustainable lifestyle! While it’s a big concept, interactive exercises and games can make learning about sustainability fun and easy.  

One way you can inspire your kids to think sustainably is by repurposing items that you already have around your home during your next arts-and-crafts time. By upcycling items that would otherwise be thrown away, you’re preventing new refuse from entering the waste cycle. Also, by “shopping” your own home instead of heading to the store, you help reduce your carbon footprint that would result from traveling to the store—not to mention helping to cut down on the pollution caused by plastic packaging and shopping bags.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll help instill an eco-conscious mindset in your little ones. They’ll learn to be creative and resourceful as they begin to understand that trash doesn’t just vanish into thin air after it’s tossed in the garbage can. Read on to discover five kid-friendly DIYs that give new life to common household items!

5 Recycled DIY Projects for Kids

Paper Roll Bird Feeder

Don’t just throw out your old cardboard rolls from your toilet paper or paper towels! Instead, turn them into recycled bird feeders for your backyard. Not only will this help keep cardboard out of landfills, it’s a great way to teach your kids about local wildlife and how their actions impact the animals around them. 

For this project, you’ll need the following household items:

  • Cardboard roll 
  • Peanut butter
  • Bird seed
  • Scissors (optional)
  • String (optional)

If you plan on hanging the bird feeder from a tree, start by cutting two holes into the top of the cardboard roll. Next, help your toddler cover the cardboard roll with peanut butter. Then, pour some bird seed onto a plate and roll the cardboard across the seeds, completely covering it in bird feed. Finally, thread the string through the two holes and tie into a knot at the end, creating a loop for you to hang the bird feeder. Then, stand back and get ready to meet some new feathered friends!

Tin Can Wind Chimes

Keep your leftover metal cans to create homemade wind chimes! Every time your little one hears their wind chimes blow in the wind, it’ll be a reminder of their efforts to recycle. 

All you need for this project is:

  • String
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Several cleaned and emptied metal cans
  • Sandpaper
  • Decorating materials 
  • Washers (optional)

Carefully punch a whole in the bottom of the metal cans using a hammer and nail. Then, insert the string through the hole, top to bottom, securing it at the bottom end with a washer (or more if you want a noisier chime!). Tie some extra metal washers to your cans for some extra chime noise! 

Be sure to file down any sharp edges using sandpaper, then it’s time for the fun part! Let your kids go crazy with glitter glue, paint, stickers, and any other decorating materials. To display the chime, gather the strings together, arrange the cans at various heights, tie the strings all together (be sure to create a loop!), and hang from a hook.

Upcycled Planters

This is one of the easiest recycled DIYs on this list, and it’s great for the environment in more than one way! With this upcycling project, you’ll be turning old metal cans and glass jars into eco-friendly planters

For this project, you’ll need the following household items:

  • Clean jars or cans
  • Stones
  • Dirt 
  • Seeds
  • Decorating materials

Before starting, be sure to clean the jars and cans and remove any labels. Then, allow your kids to decorate their jars however they like! They can use glitter, stickers, and paint to let their creativity shine. 

Once the jars have dried, help your kids add a layer of stones to the bottom of the can and fill the rest with dirt. Then, add your choice of seeds to each planter, burying it about one inch under the surface. Try growing your own food or herbs in the planters as an extra sustainability initiative! 

Each day, spend time with your kids watering and caring for the plants. As your little ones watch the plants grow, explain the importance that plants play in our environment by keeping our air clean! 

Glass Jar Luminaries

There’s nothing quite like the warm glow of candles, especially when staying inside during the winter! This DIY glass jar luminaries project is the perfect winter activity for your little ones. 

For this project, you’ll need the following items:

  • Glass jars, milk jugs, plastic cups, or paper bags
  • Tea candle or rechargeable tea light
  • Sand

Start by having your kids decorate the outside of their recycled container with paint, stickers, and other decorating materials. Once the container has dried, help your children fill the bottom of the container with some sand. Finally, simply nestle a regular tea candle or a rechargeable battery-powered candle into the sand, illuminate the candle, and enjoy the festive flicker!

Eco-Friendly Hand Puppets

This upcycled DIY project is the perfect craft to teach your children about sustainability and encourage them to use their imagination! Using upcycled socks and other materials, you can create eco-friendly hand puppets with your children. 

For this project, you’ll need the following items:

  • Socks or paper bags
  • Cardboard or construction paper
  • Glue
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Fabric decorations

First, cut a circle from the construction paper and fold it in half. Insert the paper circle into the top of the sock and fold the toe of the socks into the folded paper. This will be your puppet’s mouth. 

Next, help your kids decorate the sock puppets with your yarn, pom poms, and other materials. You can use yarn to add funky hairstyles and pom poms for eyes! For some extra fun, use other recycled materials to create backdrops and props and have your little ones put on a show! 

Excite Kids with DIY Eco-Friendly Ideas

It’s important to start teaching kids about sustainability from a young age, but it can be hard to present such a complicated subject in a way that keeps your kids engaged. DIY arts-and-crafts make the learning process fun by transforming the topic into something tangible: a cool craft they’ll be excited to show off to their friends and family!

While trying these upcycled DIY projects, explain to your kids how they’re giving new life to the recycled materials. Teach them the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling in order to keep our planet clean. 

Looking for more ways to get your little ones excited about sustainability? Our fun Socktopus Ink characters help teach your kids about different aspects of recycling and keeping our oceans clean! 

Make sustainability fun for your kids with our eco-friendly Socktopus Ink socks!

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