16 Unique Upcycled Crafts for Kids

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When it comes to upcycled 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 upcycled crafts using items you already have! From toilet paper roll crafts to K-cup planters, we’ve found unbelievable projects that give your recyclables a second wind. Keep scrolling to see some of the most unique upcycled crafts that are perfect for an Earth Day 2022 activity.

using tin cans for upcycled crafts
Julietta Watson via Unsplash

Tin Can Planters

Not only will you give your used tin cans a new life, but you'll bring joy to a windowsill, back step or fire escape! The kids can paint each can the way they want, then plant and watch your herbs, flowers or succulents grow. Get a tutorial (you'll need to make sure there's enough drainage) from Home Edit by clicking here

Handmade Charlotte

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.

using K-cups for upcycled crafts
Sunny Day Family

Mini Drums

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. 

Made Everyday

Maracas

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. 

Buzzmills

Window Mobile

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. 

The Everyday Mom Life

Creative Crayons

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.

using CDs in upcycled crafts
Pink Stripey Socks

Darling Dream Catchers

Music and movies have gone digital which is why that pile of CDs 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 upcycled crafts. Get the full details on making your own dream catchers over at Pink Stripey Socks.

Tinkerlab

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 drops and splashy turns for maximum water flow. Get the know-it-all deets from Rachelle at Tinkerlab.

Motherhood and More

Powerful Paper

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!

Hello Glow

Sweet T-Shirts

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.

Dinner: A Love Story

Cereal City

Learn how to turn this breakfast staple into a bright-light, 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.

Lalymom

Top Time

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.

Lu Bird Baby

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.

A Childhood List

Bag Jumps

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 jump rope perfect for park play. Simply follow Katie’s easy tutorial at A Childhood List for a reuse project that tips the genius scale.

Surf & Sunshine

Coffee Containers

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.

Picklebums

Egg-citing Art

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.

—Taylor Clifton, Allison Sutcliffe & Karly Wood

RELATED STORIES:

28 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste That Are Actually Doable for Families

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Raising a Global Citizen: Daily Habits to Start Young

10 Clever Ways to Upcycle Your Old Baby Gear

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