There's nothing more fun and relaxing than getting your hands busy making something out of nothing—especially when that something is common items that you've repurposed. Gather your recyclables, call the kids, clear your table and your schedule, and get crafty with these eight eco-friendly activities!
Craft Supply Organizer
Before you start getting creative, you're going to need a place to store all your supplies: buttons, paper scraps, markers, etc. Grab all of your empty, clean jars and some natural, non-toxic paint. Remove the lids from the jars and let kids paint the lids with one color and label them using another. You can also create labels with leftover scrapbook paper, using Mod Podge it to the jars. Alternatively, you can cover the lids with scrapbook paper and use paint to write right on the jars. Make your own eco-friendly Mod Podge using this recipe.
Once filled, these jars will look super cute in your craft area or room.
Toilet Paper Roll and Tissue Box Robot
Children's art centers gladly accept donations of toilet paper and paper towel rolls for DIY projects, but you might want to hang onto some of these for yourself. While your kids paint fun designs on the tissue box "body," whip up another batch of homemade Mod Podge. Once the body is dry, use the Mod Podge to attach the toilet paper rolls as "arms" and "legs." Let dry and enjoy, or assemble an entire robot family.
Oatmeal Container Wind Sock
Using a recycled oatmeal container, create a wind sock for those brisk spring days. Once you've assembled it, you can either hang it outside or let your little one run around with it and "fly" it like a kite.
Tissue Box and Paper Towel Roll Banjo
This one's an oldie but a goodie. Trace the end of a paper towel roll onto the side of a tissue box, then cut out the hole using an X-ACTO knife. Let your child decorate the tissue box with markers, paint, or even scrapbook paper, then insert the "neck" of the banjo. Glue it and let dry, then let your child glue on buttons or other embellishments. To add the strings, help your child stretch rubber bands around the tissue box. They can then actually play the banjo. (For different sounds, use different sized rubber bands.)
Toilet Paper Roll Snowmen
I've seen this one floating around Pinterest for a while now. It's super friendly for younger children but fun enough for older kids to enjoy. Draw on your snowman's face with paint or markers, then use whatever you've got lying around the house for the hat, scarf, and other adornments. Check out these instructions for even more inspiration.
Handmade Greeting Cards
No matter what the occasion, homemade greeting cards are always fun to make and keepsake gifts to receive. Cut an empty cereal box into 4x6" pieces, then fold them in half. Your kids can Mod Podge scrapbook paper over the cardboard, or get creative by cutting pictures out of magazines and creating a collage style card. If your kids are particularly creative, they can paint right over the cereal box, adding scrapbook paper on the front and inside for a legible place to write their message. The lightweight cardboard is flexible enough to fit into a gift bag or envelope, but strong enough to be treasured for years.
Eco-Friendly Leprechaun Trap
This leprechaun trap is too cute not to mention—with just a couple Earth-friendly tweaks. Older kids can trace and cut out the shamrocks, while younger kids can help glue them on. Rather than buying paper straws to make the ladder, you can use more toilet paper or paper towel rolls—or roll newspaper into straws, then paint it green. Alternatively, you can use popsicle sticks after your little ones enjoy a special treat.
Jazz up old T-shirts that you've had for a while and grown a little tired of with some good old-fashioned tie-dye. Soak T-shirts in a bath of equal parts cold water and vinegar. Older kids can help tie off your T-shirt in sections, and kids of all ages will have a blast squirting the wet T-shirts with the food coloring. (We used a pin to poke a hole into the cap of a recycled water bottle.) Tie your T-shirts up in a plastic bag and let sit overnight. Wash shirts together in a separate load; color may bleed or run out of shirts entirely. For an extra fun touch, add eco-friendly clothing labels with your family's name!
What are your favorite eco-friendly DIY crafts?