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5 Recycling Craft Ideas for Toddlers

5 Recycling Craft Ideas for Toddlers

As parents of toddlers, we’re always looking for creative teaching moments. When it comes to teaching them about recycling, what better way to learn than by a fun craft? Crafting helps develop your little ones’ fine motor skills. Whether they’re using a paint brush or scissors, practicing those muscle movements will help them later to button up shirts, tie their shoes, write and more! We also love arts and craft activities because it helps impart a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in children, boosting their self-confidence.

Let’s talk about recycling. Why does it matter? And what does it have to do with our children? We’re glad you asked. By reducing our waste, reusing products we already own, and recycling new materials, we can help to protect our planet so that our families may enjoy a healthy, green Earth for generations to come. Introducing crafts with reused materials is a great way to practice this at home.

Toddler boy wearing white t-shirt

Spoiler alert: They are going to make a mess—And that’s okay! Pro Tip: Order some oversized tees to use as their designated art mocks to avoid staining their other outfits.

Without further ado, let’s go green and get crafting.

1. Plastic Water Bottle Sun Catcher

Finally, a fun way to reuse plastic water bottles! With this simple craft, we will be creating a sun catcher out of a plastic bottle to hang outside.

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic water bottles
  • Permanent Markers
  • String/Fishing Line
  • Clothespins (optional)
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Remove the label from your bottle (and recycle!).
  2. Using the permanent markers, let your kids color and design their sun catchers.
  3. Cut to remove the base of the plastic bottle.
  4. Starting at the base of your bottle, cut at a diagonal and spiral all the way ‘till the bottle begins to narrow.
  5. Using your string or fishing line, tie a knot at the top and screw the cap over the knot.
  6. With your clothespin, hang your suncatchers outside in a nice sunny spot.

2. Milk Jug Fairy House

Create something magical for your little one with this easy DIY milk jug fairy home. Not only will you give your little one a new home for their little toys, but you’ll find a better home for your empty milk jugs. 

Materials Needed:

  • Empty milk jug (washed out and dried)
  • Scissors or craft knife (only to be used by adult)
  • Decorations: Colorful sharpies, stickers, etc.

Instructions:

  1. With your clean milk jug, determine and trace where you want a door and window to be placed.
  2. Using a craft knife (and caution), cut out the door and window.
  3. Whether it’s with glitter or stickers, let your little one choose how they would like to decorate their new fairy house!

3. Toilet Paper Roll Jet Planes

Cardboard is a crafter’s best friend because the sky is the limit with possibilities! Today, we’re using a toilet paper roll and a cereal box to make jet planes for your kiddos.

Materials Needed:

  • Toilet Paper Roll
  • Piece of Cereal Box
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Paint, stickers, markers, etc.

Instructions:

  1. Take your piece of cereal box and cutout a bell shape.
  2. Cutout an oval to the top of the toilet paper roll. This will allow your kids to place their favorite little toys in the top as the pilot!
  3. Let your kiddos decorate their toilet paper rolls and cereal box piece with their own supplies.
  4. Add a line of hot glue to the base of the toilet paper roll and to the center of your cereal box piece.
  5. Press down and secure the two pieces together as the glue dries.

4. Egg Carton Treasure Box

This one is probably the easiest craft on our list. All you need is an empty egg carton! Let your kids decorate how they wish, and then let them fill it up with treasures they find outside. Share their filled treasure boxes with us on social by using #GCWbaby.

5. Plastic Bottle Planters

Not only is this craft sustainable, but it’s also educational! Teach your children about the plant cycle and get them excited by letting them decorate their own planters made of recycled material. 

Materials Needed:

  • Empty Liter Plastic Bottle or Empty Milk Jug
  • Permanent Marker
  • Scissors
  • Crafting Knife
  • Paint

Instructions:

  1. Draw your cut line on your bottle.
  2. Make an incision and cut around the bottle.
  3. Using your crafting knife, poke holes in the bottom of the bottle for drainage.
  4. Let your little one paint and decorate their planter! They can paint, draw funny faces, write their names—anything they imagination can think of.
  5. Plant a seed and enjoy watching it grow!

Did you know recycling not only saves energy and reduces landfill waste, but also stimulates our economy and creates jobs?

If you’re not already recycling at home, check with your local recycling department to figure out what and where you can recycle. Set up some bins to separate paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum, and educate your family on your new practice. For more ways to teach your children about sustainability, read this blog post.