When it comes to easy crafts for kids, there’s no need to head to the craft store to stock up on supplies. You and your little tree hugger can get creative with just a few upcycle projects using items you already have! From a DIY water wall made with plastic bottles to K-cup planters, we’ve found unbelievable projects that give your recyclables a second wind. Keep scrolling to see some of the best craft ideas that would make a perfect Earth Day activity.
Upcycled Under the Sea Charm Necklace
Using old strips of fabric and clear plastic containers, these upcycled Under the Sea Charm Necklaces from Handmade Charlotte make for perfect Earth Day attire. Kiddos can braid old T-shirt scraps and cut out and paint plastic shapes in this easy afternoon craft.
Don't toss those used K-Cups! These adorable mini drums from Sunny Day Family reuse those old coffee containers in a fun (and not too loud) way.
This genius idea from Made Everyday is bound to be a hit with your budding musicians. They’ll have a blast filling and decorating old plastic Easter eggs, not to mention the hours of entertainment once they’re done.
The ceiling's the limit with this ultra-pretty mobile from Buzzmills. This easy-breezy creation uses watercolors to create hanging flowers out of egg carton cups. The result is something worthy of a fancy window display—or maybe even a relaxing nursery.
Having children always means plenty of crayons on hand, many of which have seen better days. Instead of tossing the broken nubs, you and the kiddos can spend the afternoon melting them down into colorful new works of art that not only serve a purpose, but cut down on waste––and look pretty, too! Get the full details over at The Everyday Mom Life.
Darling Dream Catchers
Music and movies have almost all gone digital which is why that pile of plain CD's has probably been gathering dust in your closet. With a few supplies that include yarn and beads, your kiddos can turn those dinosaur compact discs into works of art. Get the full details on making your own dream catchers over at Pink Stripey Socks.
Play With Plastic
Turn empty water bottles into a dynamic water wall just in time for summer. Your little engineer can get hands-on, helping to mount the bottles at just the right angles to create splishy drops and splashy turns for maximum water flow. Get the know-it-all deets from Rachelle at Tinkerlab.
Coax spring songbirds into your yard with this adorable feeder, designed by Kersey at And We Play. Maybe this is how Cinderella did it!
In case you hadn’t heard, newspapers aren’t just for reading anymore. They also upcycle into structurally sound geodesic shapes perfect for indoor play on a rainy day. Find out how to make this dome from Annie over at Motherhood and More. Then unleash your little engineers for hours of imaginative play in their cozy new dome sweet dome!
Your kiddo grows like a weed. So it’s not surprising last year’s summer shirts don’t fit her anymore. Don’t hand all of them down…yet. Hold on to a few of the more colorful ones to make these adorable bracelets designed by Stephanie at Hello Glow.
Dive into this recycle project that transforms 2-liter bottles into scuba tanks for your little mariner. Put your own tinker skills (and some duct tape) to the test like we did, or follow these easy steps for a more polished look. Don’t forget the leftover sippy cup top that doubles as a respirator. It’s a two birds-one-stone upcycle!
Learn how to turn this breakfast staple into a bright-lights, big-city playscape with paint and a little imagination, thanks to Dinner: A Love Story. Add a few mini figs or other plastic people and the door to a whole new world of play just opened up.
Although your sidekick may not know what these are, that doesn’t mean he can’t claim them for (re)creative purposes. Just add Wikki Stix, creative planning and a few other items you can read about at The Journals of Giddy Giddy to make these ah-maze-ing labyrinths, perfect for on-the-go play. The box filled with empty cases at the back of your closet thanks you (really, it's okay to dump them), and so will your littlest puzzlers!
Finally! Something to do with all those squeeze pouch caps your sidekick leaves on the table, in the car and under…well, pretty much everywhere! Laura at Lalymom has a simply brilliant craft project to turn caps into wearable art for all.
Eye Spy TP
After hanging up the aluminum can birdfeeder, why not make binoculars so your sidekick can take in all the action? Who knows where this simple craft we found at Lu Bird Baby will lead. From the wilds of your backyard habitat, to the jungles of the neighborhood park, your little explorer will see it all through these creatively colored glasses.
Take those plentiful plastic bags piled up under the sink and put them to good use beyond picking up after Fido. Little hands can help cut and braid them into a colorful jumprope perfect for park play. Simply follow Katie’s easy tutorial at A Childhood List for a reuse project that tips the genius scale.
Help your little mover and shaker tinker her way through the construction of a functional dump truck, made from a dairy carton, straws, bamboo skewers and plastic caps, configured by Origami Mommy. Use this bad boy to haul loads of dirt around the backyard or LEGOs around the playroom. Multipurpose repurpose is the name of this game!
Whether you’re planning a new garden or adding to the old one, K-cups make for easy-peasy indoor seed sprouting. Add dirt, water, and of course let your little green thumb bury those seeds deep before setting these dainty cups on a sunny windowsill. Between planting, growing and replanting, this cycle is sure to keep your little sprout entertained the whole season.
Set your petite Picasso to task with paints and egg cartons, cut into bird-like masks by your skillful hand. Kate at Picklebums has all the tips and tricks you need to make this egg-cellent project.
—Allison Sutcliffe & Karly Wood