5 Fun Recycling Projects for Children

There are so many ways to enjoy recycling projects that can easily be done at home or in school. Here are five unique and fun projects that children can enjoy while learning the benefits of keeping the environment clean.

Read more: 9 interesting facts and statistics about littering

1. Eco Froggy Bank

Every day, children use plastic cups for their cool refreshments at school and in most outdoor activities. The trash could pile up by the end of the school term. Instead of just throwing these plastic cups away, recycling them into coin or money banks can help children to be more conscious of keeping the environment clean and at the same time, teaching children to save up. This project hits two birds in one stone.

Here are the material list for this project:

1 Plastic cup with domed lid
A small piece of waxed paper
3 Acrylic paints: green, lime green, aqua, white
1 Cosmetic sponge
1 Pop-up sponge
1 Fine line paint brush
1×12 inches craft foam – lime green, orange, black
2 Plastic water bottle caps
2 Flat black marbles
1 small Super Thick Tacky Glue
1 Craft knife
1 Pencil
1 pair of Scissors
1 Small hole punch
Some wood embellishments – heart and bug
Patterns for legs, arms, and stomach

Next, wash the plastic cup so that this is clean and then let dry or wipe with a clean piece of dry cloth. Pour a small amount of the green paint on a clean waxed paper. Dab the cosmetic sponge on the green paint and then dab this same sponge with green paint onto the plastic cup with lid to cover the entire surface. Let the first coat dry and then apply a second coat to make the color thick and vivid. Trace a stomach pattern on the front of the painted cup using a pencil. Paint the inside line of the stomach pattern with the lime green paint using another piece of cosmetic sponge. Cut another set of cosmetic sponge in small squares and dab it in lime green paint. Stamp the square sponge onto the plastic cups to make square patterns. Line the outside of the square patterns with aqua paint using the paint brush. Also make swirl patterns using the paint brush to make cup more attractive and fun.

To make the legs and arms, print the patterns and then trace and cut using the craft foam. Glue the legs and arms using the tacky glue and hold for a few minutes until they stick. Cut a hole at the front of the cup to make the mouth using the craft knife. Cut a small piece of orange foam for the tongue and attach this unto the hole of the mouth. Glue the wood embellishment onto the tongue. Trace a mouth pattern around the tongue. Cut a piece of black craft foam and glue this onto the mouth line.

Paint the water bottle caps white and let dry. Glue the caps together. Glue the marbles on top of each cap to make the eyes. Glue the eyes to the top of the lid above the mouth. Your froggy bank is finished.

2. Drink Carton Gift Box

Empty drink cartons at home can be a very economical way of wrapping gifts. Here is a very earth-friendly gift box that makes gift-giving more fun and attractive for children.

For this project, prepare the following materials:

1 Empty Juice or Milk Carton
1 pair of craft Scissors
1 Hobby Knife
1 Aluminum Ruler
1 Paper Edger Scissors (optional)
First, clean the empty juice or milk carton by rinsing it with water. Cut the top part of the carton using the craft scissors. Wipe the inside of the carton with a dishtowel to dry. Measure and mark 3.75” up on all 4 corners of the box. Using the craft scissors cut all four corners stopping at the marks. Score a straight line and connect all four marks using a ruler and hobby knife. You will have a cube shaped box with 4 square flaps. Fold the flaps inward along the scored line.

Make a horizontal score line halfway across two opposing flaps. Carefully cut the handle out of the top half of the flaps using a hobby knife. Fold the handles pointing upward along the scored line. Cut out the excess carton around the handles to make a desired shape of the handle. Cut vertical slots in each of the 2 remaining flaps for the handles to pass through. You can leave the carton as is or cover it with decorative paper or cloth to achieve a preferred design. Your carton gift box is finished.

3. Oatmeal Box Pencil Holder

Pencils can easily become clutter on the study table or around the house. Here is a very cool and simple project for children to organize those pens and pencils to make study more fun and systematized.

You will need to prepare the following materials:

1 – 18 oz. oatmeal container
1 Mod Podge glue
1 Acrylic paint of your choice color
1 Gold acrylic paint
Leftover yarn
1 yarn needle
Single hole punch
Some pictures (copy of photos, magazine, catalog or computer generated pictures) on thin paper
Step (1) Remove the label from oatmeal container to make it neat and clean. Draw a cutting line of 4 ¼ inches from the bottom around the container.

Step (2) Paint the inside part of the container, the bottom underneath and ½ inches of outside top of container. Use acrylic paint of your choice color. Let the color dry before working on the next step.

Step (3) Cut out the pictures to make a design of your choice. Coat the outside part of the container with glue. Coat the back of the cut out pictures and press on surface of container with glue before it dries. Cover the pictures with more glue carefully not to move it out of its place. Dry for about an hour and put on more coat of glue. Dry for another hour.

Step (4) Smoothly blend 1 tablespoon of glue, 1 tablespoon of gold acrylic paint and 1 teaspoon of water to make “combo glue”. Paint the whole container with the combo glue inside and outside. Let dry 24 hours.

Step (5) Mark small dots around the top of container about every ¼ inches using a pencil. Punch a hole on each dot. Sew the yarn from the front of container through the holes, up, over and through back to front, making a thick line around the top edge of the container. Tuck the end of the yarn inside to make a clean and neat weave. Your pencil holder is finished.

4. Robot Cans

Here is a really cool project for children that will awaken interests in science and at the same time help keep an earth-friendly environment.

Prepare the following materials for this project:

1 empty tin can
1 roll of Electrical tape (optional)
Some hardware and various recyclables such as bottle caps, keys, etc.
Hot-glue gun
Strong disk magnets
First, open the tin can with a safety can opener so there are no sharp edges. If there are still some sharp edges, line the inside of the can’s rim with electrical tape. Be careful on working on the tin cans to avoid injury. If you can wear gloves while working, it would be much better. Wash the can and let dry.

Second, look for items around the house like old unused bolts, brackets, hinges, keys, wing nuts, switches, bottle caps, washers, knobs and other similar hardware materials. This can be used for the facial features, arms, etc.

Hot-glue the items carefully to strong disk magnets and shape into desired design of robot. Be as imaginative as you can.

5. Donald’s Hoopla Game Bottle

This project is very simple and can be fun for little children, while at the same time, making an educational learning activity for children on recycling.

First step is to prepare the following materials:

Template for Quacky Hoopla
1 pair of scissors
Some craft or scrapbook paper (white, light gray, and orange)
1 Craft knife
1 Glue stick
1 Black craft paper or black marker
1 Clear packing tape or self-adhesive laminating sheet
1 Recycled plastic water or beverage bottles (500 ml or smaller)
You will need to print the template for your pattern in cutting the different shapes. Cut out the head shape from white paper, the eye panel from light gray paper, and the beak from orange paper. Be careful in cutting as you will be using a craft knife.

Next, place the eye panel by slipping its top under the flap in the head. Cut out the pupils (1/2-inch ovals) from black paper or draw them on with black marker inside the eye. Draw lines on the beak for the mouth and nostrils. Attach the beak to the head using glue and tuck in its top under the head flap. Draw feather lines on the top of the head to make a gruff expression.

Make this Donald Duck face for each bottle to set up the game. You can also make photocopies of the first one and cut them out to make the craft work faster. Use a transparent tape over the face onto each bottle to fasten. Your Hoopla Bottle is finished.

Read more: 3 great examples of successful litter prevention programs

5 Fun Recycling Projects for Children
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