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#SocialParenting: Crafts for Kids to Make with Recycled Materials

#SocialParenting: Crafts for Kids to Make with Recycled Materials

Did your family celebrate Earth Day earlier this week? If not, there’s still time! Pull out some recyclable materials and get crafty with the kids this weekend. We asked Bright Horizons teachers to share some of their favorite Earth Day craft projects to make with recycled or re-usable materials.

Recyclable Materials Craft Ideas for Kids

Cardboard Box Rocket Ship

Recycled Rocket Ship Art Project for Kids“The children helped me choose two large boxes from the recycling closet. I cut one small side from each box. I then stacked them on top of each other (open side to open side). The children helped me tape them together with clear packaging tape. We chose a large sheet of blue paper. I cut out a rocket ship shape and we taped it to the front of the box. I then cut out some flames from construction paper to add to the bottom of the rocket ship for the “Blast Off” effect. The last thing we did was cut a window out in the front for the children to look out of.” 

Corn Cob Painting

“To help my class begin to understand their senses we decided to explore foods. First, I provided real corn cobs for the children to touch and feel. While the children explored the texture and color of the corn we talked about what they were experiencing. Then the children helped shuck the corn cobs by themselves. Afterwards my class used the corn cobs to paint with. I provided pieces of recycled paper and different colored paints for the children to paint with. They used the corn cob to roll into the paint and then on their pieces of recycled paper.”

Corncob Painting Project for Kids

3D Objects Collage

3D Recycled Art Project for Kids“Starting with a sturdy cardboard base, children built a collage using glue and a variety of collected objects (i.e. plastic bottle caps, tape rings, sponges, old puzzle pieces, small cardboard pieces etc.). Paint can also be offered as an option to enhance the finished product.”

Shoe Garden

“Children are active learners who learn best from activities they plan and carry out themselves. In keeping with this educational philosophy we decided to let our little scientists create, take care of and maintain a vegetable and flower garden. This gave them the opportunity to set goals for their garden, plan its design, reflect on the daily changes, and take responsibility for its care and maintenance. We also incorporated a “Shoe Garden” that decorates our fence. They brought in old shoes which we planted with seeds and hung up in the sun. They eagerly check their shoes to see how much their flowers have grown. Our parents brought in a large rain barrel that catches the water off of our shed so we not only have a wonderful source of water but we’re reinforcing the importance of water conservation and recycling!”

Recycled Shoe Garden Project for Kids

Clothespin Butterfly

Recycled Butterfly Art Project for Kids“To celebrate the coming of spring and new life emerging, the infants made butterflies to hang inside the room. The teachers taped down a single coffee filter for each infant, and then the children used different-colored markers to make designs on the coffee filter. After each child’s design was complete, the teachers sprayed water onto the coffee filters until they were completely saturated, causing the colors to bleed and form new, colorful designs. Once they dried, we gathered the coffee filter in the middle to resemble a butterfly. We then fastened the clothespin over the middle, creating the body. Older children can decorate the clothespin and/or add antennae to personalize the butterfly. Finish it with fishing line, yarn, or string so the beautiful butterflies can be displayed in the children’s room!”


Looking for more ideas? Check out these Earth Day art activities for kids – which include tips for Earth painting, directions for making homemade bird feeders and rock decorating fun:

Earth Day Art Projects for Children

Earth Day Virtual Art Showcase

Earth Day Art ShowcaseHow will your family make a difference this Earth Day? Put your creative caps on and join our Virtual Recycled Art Showcase. Share photos of your recyclable arts and crafts for a chance to win!

This contest has now ended. Thank you to all who participated!


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