“When you put the whole picture together, recycling is the right thing to do.”– Pam Shoemaker
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. I would totally add Repurpose to this too, or upcycle if you will. We love raiding our recycle bin for fun crafts to do with the kids. Teaching the kids about sustainability is one of my long term parenting goals and I’m proud of how far we’ve come. Living by the sea, we take walks on the beach often. It’s easy to show our kids the problems with pollution and garbage. It washes up on our shore every day.
But as much as we try to reduce and buy sustainable, there is always something in our recycling bin that can be used as a craft. I know sustainable influencers and green bloggers are tossing around the words zero waste right now, but that is so much harder than simply using the hashtag. It involves skills and real planning. We are following a more realistic plan and trying hard every day to be more sustainable and eco-friendly.
One of the best ways to teach kids about sustainable living is through crafts. Crafting gives kids time to use their imaginations, teaches them to follow instructions, and talk about worldly topics like sustainability in a relaxed friendly creative environment.
I’ve gathered up so many fun upcycling and recycling crafting ideas for you, but just let these be a starting off point. Use what you have. Start a collection of fun crafting supplies. We recently upcycled a stack of old shirts into a tent, it was a complete fail but it was fun. I saved all of the buttons for my collection, and now I’m looking for a button upcycling craft! Are you a zero-waste family? Let your kids collect pine-cones, pebbles and leaves, there are so many crafts that can be done with nature and found objects.
So here are some of my favorite Eco-Friendly & Green Crafts from around the web!
This Toilet Paper Roll Butterfly from The Best Ideas for Kids would be such a fun craft for the spring, or even a cold day when you are missing spring. This one has a good use for my button jar too!
Messy Little Monster has this toilet paper bear craft that would be perfect for Valentines Day. It’s adorable.
Family Focus Blog upcycled a pair of jeans and a chip container into the cutest memory box for your family.
What a wonderful way to upcycle old water bottles and keep them out of the sea, turn them into beautiful art! I would love these in the boys bathroom hanging from the ceiling over the tub. It would be so fun. I bet I could use the buttons for their eyes too! Reuse Grow Enjoy has all of the directions on her cute blog here.
I actually have wanted to do these Recycled Paper Seed Cards for a while. They would be so adorable for Valentines, Christmas, or really any occasion. This idea is super cute from Fireflies and Mud Pies.
Normal Life Mom has a really cute motor skill recycling craft to do with all of those fruit pouches! It’s colorful and so fun!
Honey & Lime has a super simple way to use those plastic cups from Starbucks, turn them into cute planters.
CraftBits always has the cutest craft ideas. She upcycled a folgers jar into a lady bug.
We all have those see through yoga pants and sweats that need to be retired. This is an adorable way to upcycle yoga pants into a dog toy.
This is such a cool craft DIY for your big kids, you can upcycle an old ugly tote with a thrifted album cover! I would have totally rocked this in college.
This pouch is made from a candy wrapper, it’s bright colored and such a fun way to reuse those plastic bags!
How cute are these wild animals made from newspapers? We haven’t gotten the newspaper in years, but junk mail would make a cute animal too!
This is another fun upcycle for your pet! Ghastly Girl painted old toys and made a chic treat jar!
I’ve made bird feeders with ice cream pints, but these birdfeeders from About A Mom are so good, she also gives some great birdwatching tips.
I hate K-cups. I think it is so wasteful for one cup of coffee, but About a Mom has the cutest way to upcycle the little plastic cups.
How cute are these upcycled headband holders from Fun Learning Life? I need to make one ASAP because my headband drawer is a mess.
This is my next craft! How cute is this centerpiece made from recycled egg cartons? I need one on my table asap!
Get Your Holiday On has such a fun game made with card board and old flip flops. This is so fun!
I’m probably going to regret this one because my kids are so loud, but these Upcycled Percussion Instruments are so cute from Red Ted Art!
These DIY Upcycled Little Houses are so cute. I’d like a tiny village of them! From Finding Myself Young.
These bangles from Sustain my Craft Habit can turn old ugly bangles into colorful fun refreshed accessories. Your big kid will love this!
For more reading and Fun Upcycled Crafts, this list from Paper and Glue is so fun!