Recycled Art Ideas for Kids
We all like to express some creativity, and art projects are a fun way to do it. By using recycled materials, you can be creative and help protect the planet at the same time. Recycled art projects are easy and you can find most of the things you need around your home or school. Most households have different types of used paper that make good art materials, including old newspapers, junk mail, and shredded documents. Cardboard is another great media, and most households throw away lots of it, including cereal boxes and packaging. Aluminum cans work "as is," but paint, tape, or glitter can transform their look into something more fun. Any safe, non-toxic household materials may work for recycling projects – the only limit is your imagination. Combine any of these materials with a few basic items, like a pair of scissors, white glue, and some tape, and you will be ready to make beautiful, recycled crafts.
Recycled Art Ideas for KidsInstead of throwing out empty cereal boxes, use them to make a decorative mask. Start by cutting the box in half. Turn the box inside out, so that the plain, brown side of the box faces out. Carefully use a sharp knife or scissors to cut eye and mouth holes in the front. Using a hole punch, make a hole on each side of the box and tie a small piece of string to each; use these strings to tie the mask behind your head once you are done decorating it. Decorate the mask however you like using markers or poster paint, and attach glitter, buttons, feathers, or stickers to help finish.
If you would like to make a stuffed animal, use an old sock to create a fun, cuddly octopus. Start by stuffing the toe of an old sock with crumpled newspaper. Shape the newspaper into a ball, and stuff it all the way inside the sock. Tie a small piece of string around the sock, behind the newspaper, so that it stays in place. This part serves as the octopus's head and body, so draw eyes and a mouth on him with a permanent marker. If you like, you can cover his body with stripes, spots, or blotches as well. Once you are finished decorating the head and body, use a pair of scissors to cut the open end of the sock into long strips. Give your octopus eight tentacles, just as the real animals have. For extra fun, you can glue pipe cleaners to the tentacles, which will allow you to pose him however you like.
You can also make utilitarian crafts that serve a specific purpose, such as a flower vase. Start with an old bottle made of plastic or glass. Cover the entire bottle in small pieces of masking tape, which will give the vase a very interesting texture. Color the masking tape using paint or markers. Use the colors to create a picture, interesting pattern, or an abstract blend of melting colors. Be sure to let the markers or paint dry completely before filling the vase with water. If the tape gets wet, the colors may bleed.
- Mini Muppet Finger Puppets
- Easy to Make Masks
- Paper University
- Fun and Easy Projects (PDF)
- Found Object Art (PDF)
- Make a Toad House
- Recycled Arts and Crafts Guide (PDF)
- Turning Trash Into Treasures
- Plastic Bag Jump Rope
- Recycled Napkin Holder (Video)
Why Recycle?Even though the world is a really big place, there is only a limited amount of space for all of the plants, animals, and people to live. Whenever we make trash, we must find a place to put it; most often, this means adding to our quickly growing landfills. This may work for now, but eventually, people will run out of places to put their trash. Also, many of the materials people use to make new things – called resources – may eventually disappear if humans use them all. One way people try to fix these two problems is through a process called recycling. Recycling happens when people reuse things, instead of throwing them away. This helps keep some things out of landfills, and allows people to make new things without having to use as many resources. Any materials you use for an art project will not take up space in a landfill.
- Environmental Education for Kids
- Meet the Greens
- Children's Recycling Quiz
- Eco Facts
- Kids Be Green
- Roscoe's Recycle Room
- Can It!
- Recycling Activity (PDF)
- Art Safari
About the Author:
Clare Tames is a self-employed freelance graphic designer, formidable cook, and avid reader. She written on contemporary and classical art in various print publications, and is just now beginning a writing career online. She works out of her home office in California, where her two children attend high school.