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Little children behind bins of recycled goods holding up trash items to turn into crafts

Recycling Craft Ideas- activities to encourage kids to get involved

Upcycling is a great way to creatively encourage your children to get involved in sustainability and teach them about the importance of recycling. And what better way to learn than through play? It's time to show your little ones that one person's trash is another person's treasure. So put your trash to good use, and teach your kids about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling your household waste. They will love to get involved in these exciting recycling projects.

Toilet Roll Monsters

1 Blue background crafts, painted toilet rolls scattered

When you think of toilet rolls, it doesn't often bring to mind images of fun. But they make surprisingly good monsters among other fun upcycled creations. 

Fun fact!
Did you know that we use 27,000 trees worth of toilet paper every day? Upcycle the empty roll to help make a positive impact on the environment.

What you will need for this activity:

  • Empty toilet roll tubes

  • Acrylic, poster or homemade washable paints and paintbrushes

  • Pipe cleaners

  • Googly eyes (optional)

  • Pom poms (optional)

  • Glue

  • Scrap paper

  • Marker

2 Blue background crafts, with scissors

1. Cover your work surfaces with newspaper, felt, a tablecloth to protect them from the paint. Don't worry if you get paint on your clothes because OMO is here to help with stain removal.

2. Start by asking the kids to paint the toilet roll tubes – the bolder and more colourful, the better! You could add stripes, spots, or even glitter, the possibilities are endless. Leave the paint to dry for a little while before you move on to the next step.

3 Blue background crafts, kids hands with paint three
4 Blue background crafts, painted toilet rolls four

3. If you're using googly eyes, get the kids to stick them on their monster; if you're not, they can paint the eyes on instead. Monsters can have any number of eyes, and in any location you like. There are no rules, so let your kids' imaginations run wild!

4. To give your monster arms, pierce a hole on either side of each roll – it's best if you do this part! Then, help your little ones to insert a pipe cleaner so that it goes in one hole, through the middle of the tube, and out of the other side through the second hole. Ask the kids to style the arms by bending and shaping them.

5 Blue background crafts, painted toilet rolls scattered
2 Blue background crafts, with scissors

5. To give the monsters even more character, you can cut the scrap paper into thin strips or triangles, and stick them inside the top end of the tube, so that it looks like hair. Remember to supervise little ones when using scissors!

Your monsters should now be ready to play with! Your kids will love playing with figures they have designed and created themselves. Who knew that empty toilet rolls could make such fun recycling projects?  

If you are looking for more creative ways to repurpose toilet roll, take a look at some more toilet roll crafts


Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder

7 Bottle hanging with green and yellow decor

What better way to teach your little ones to care for nature than to combine recycling for kids with a way for them to look after their local birds? This bird feeder is very simple to put together, and the kids will love watching the birds enjoy their creation.  

Fun fact!
There are approximately 850 recorded bird species in the country - this means that there is plenty to keep an eye out for. Encourage kids to learn about the birds that visit your garden using bird books from your library or online sites and applications.

What you will need for this activity:

  • 2-litre plastic bottle

  • Birdfeed

  • One chopstick or equivalent

  • Acrylic, poster or homemade washable paints  and paintbrushes

  • PVA glue

  • 1 length of string

  • Scissors

  • Black marker

  1. Cover the table with newspaper to protect it from the paint. Not to worry if your clothes get dirty because learning how to remove stains is a cinch with OMO.
  2. Ask your child to draw two large tennis ball sized holes on either side of the plastic bottle.
  3. Carefully cut out the holes using scissors (you may prefer to do this part).
  4. Pierce two small holes either side of the bottle, just below the bird holes that you have created, and insert the chopstick so that a length sticks out of either end. This should create a horizontal perch for the birds to sit on.
  5. Mix a dollop of PVA glue with the paint and ask your child to decorate the exterior of the bottle. Make sure some of the container is left clear so that the kids can enjoy watching the birds peck at the feed.
  6. Tie the string around the bottle top (make sure the lid is screwed on) and hang from a tree in the garden.
Stand back and watch the birds enjoy your handwork! If you don't have shop-bought bird feed, you can easily make your own using a mixture of seeds, nuts and dried fruit. You can also find more ideas for making your own bird feeder here.


Glass Jar or Bottle Terrarium

8 Glass jars with sand

An indoor planter can mean a whole world of possibilities, and it's a great upcycling activity for kids. Kids can venture into the garden and explore all of the possibilities for their indoor garden. Armed with a bucket and spade, encourage little ones to gather and dig for special pebbles, stones, plants and even soil from your garden. You can also use it as an opportunity to teach young ones about the water cycle, photosynthesis or simply to enjoy some messy play and enrich their imaginations. 

Don’t worry your little ones get mud on their clothes or grass stains on their pants because OMO is here to remove tough stains so that your kids can enjoy just being kids. 

Fun fact!
A terrarium is like an aquarium for plants - it can even be a self-watering garden if you get it right. Plants use their ecosystem to water themselves through transpiration. It's like a very tiny version of the water cycle.

What you will need for this activity:

  • Glass jar of any shape or size

  • Small Stones or Pebbles

  • Potting Soil

  • A selection of plants - air plants, succulents and mini-cacti are your best bets

  • Water

  • A sunny spot

  1. Cover the bottom of your terrarium with a 2 -3 centimetre-thick layer of small stones or pebbles. This layer of stones or pebbles will act as drainage for your terrarium. It's not essential, but a thin sprinkling of activated charcoal on top of your pebbles will help to keep water fresh and fight off any bacterial growth in your terrarium.
  2. Add a layer of potting soil. Make sure to add enough potting soil for your plants to form roots - roughly 5 centimetres is a good depth.
  3. Then, make a hole in the soil large enough to fit the plant. If you are using cuttings, make sure the cut side of the plant is deep enough into the soil to soak up water and nutrients.
  4. Encourage your children to start with the biggest plants first, followed by the smaller ones. Let your kids get creative and arrange them however they want. Use stones for small boulders or place little toys or figurines around the greenery for added effect.
  5. Water the plants and tightly seal the lid for a self-contained ecosystem. If you don't have a lid, water your plants roughly every two weeks or when the soil begins to look dry.
  6. Remember to place your terrarium in a nice sunny spot and watch your little world come to life as it grows!


Egg Box Flowers

9 Egg box flowers

Encourage your kids to get creative by creating 'flowers' out of egg boxes and pipe cleaners. As they're busy painting their flowers, teach them some recycling facts, like where the cardboard from the egg box came from and why it's important that we reuse and recycle cardboard.  

Fun Fact!
Most paper egg cartons are already made from recycled paper. Paper is cleaned, moistened and turned into pulp which is moulded into egg cartons. 

What you will need for this activity:

  • An empty egg box

  • Acrylic, poster homemade washable paints and paintbrushes

  • Green pipe cleaners or ice cream sticks

  • A vase

  1. Cover your working surface in newspaper to protect it from the paint. Don't worry if you get paint on your clothes because OMO can take care of tough stains.
  2. Tear the individual egg cups out of the egg box so that you have 12 individual little cups.
  3. Ask the kids to paint each of the egg cups, inside and out. These will be the petals of the flowers, so encourage them to use lots of different bright colours and patterns.
  4. Once the egg cups are dry, create individual petals by carefully tearing some of the outer edges of the cups.
  5. Help the kids insert the pipe cleaners into the base of each egg cup flower to create the stalk. Fold the pipe cleaner over at the face of the flower to hold it in place.

Your child can arrange their flowers in a vase to make a pretty table decoration or give them to a friend or family member as a present! Cardboard egg cartons are also great for budding gardening enthusiasts. Take a look at some more upcycling activities for green fingers

These recycling activities for kids are a thrifty way to entertain them and stimulate their imaginations, but more importantly, they will learn that recycling isn't just necessary – it's fun, too. Why not see what other recycling ideas they can come up with?