This guest blog post, shared with us by Harper Stanbridge and Natalia Kolkowska from Blue Starling Media, is chock-full of fun ideas for parents to make at home with their kids.  The goal is to be as creatively upcycled as you can.  Share your creations with us by emailing adaniels@kpwb.org!

6 Fun Activities Parents Can Do with Kids Using Recycled Materials

 

Environmental awareness is growing among people of all ages these days. Especially the young try to live their lives in harmony with nature, so it’s not surprising that they try to incorporate their beliefs and green habits into the lives of their little children. If you are such a parent, then you probably know the struggle; how can you teach your kid to be environmentally-friendly without making it sound boring? How can you entertain your little one without using popular plastic toys? Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Pages like parentcenternetwork.org can help you find the right equipment, while we will provide you with fun ideas. Here are some of the best activities you can do with your children using recycled materials and educating them a little bit.

 

  • Wreaths

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    Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash

     

 

It’s not only about making cute daisy chains; creating wreaths is an art that can be easily made on your own. Take some old t-shirts or any other kind of fabric and braid them together, forming a circle. Then, take your kids for a sort of a scavenger hunt – gather flowers, leaves, berries, and anything that draws your attention; you can also search your house and see if there are any unused decorations. Attach them into the crevices and secure them with a fishing line, hot glue, or anything you have to use and think may keep it all together. You can attach the ribbon or another piece of fabric to be able to hang your wreath as a decoration.

 

  • Bug hotel

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    Photo by Tania Malréchauffé on Unsplash

 

This activity will not only require creativity, but it will give you an opportunity to teach your children about nature and work on their sensitivity. You can do it by cutting two-liter plastic bottles into two cylinders. Then, walk around your garden, the nearest forest, or a park to find a variety of sticks, pine cones, barks, and other natural materials usually occupied by all kinds of bugs. Stuff it all into the cut bottles and make sure it’s packed tightly. Take a piece of twine or yarn to loop it around the two cylinders and hang it somewhere in your garden – from a tree branch or a fence.

 

  • Quilt

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Photo by Devon Divine on Unsplash

All kinds of fabrics constitute a considerable part of municipal solid waste. If you don’t want to contribute to that, don’t throw away clothes, curtains, or anything you don’t need anymore. Instead, you can use it all to teach your children to reuse old materials by putting together a pretty, cozy quilt. Then, you can all lay on the couch under your home-made quilt and watch a movie together sipping some hot chocolate. Sounds nice, right? And it’s even nicer when the quilt is made by all of you from things that used to mean something to you.

 

  • Hanging garden

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    Photo by K8 on Unsplash

 

You can teach your children how to take care of something (someone) by allowing them to have their plants, keeping track of their progress, and creating the whole ritual of watering. Plus, you can do hanging gardens together – it does not only look cool, but it can also be made of recycled materials. All you need to do is cut a one-way hole in a plastic bottle, add the amount of soil proper to your chosen plant, and make two smaller holes for the ribbon, twine or lace to hang it somewhere in your children’s room. 

 

  • Build a robot

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    Photo by Lenin Estrada on Unsplash

 

If your kids are into science-fiction stuff (and whose children aren’t?), they will be more than excited for the perspective of building their own robot. And you can do it with materials that probably lay around your house and irritate all family members. Things that you may use for the project: soft drink lids, old boxes, yogurt containers, cardboards, tin foil, old clothing, ice cream containers, straws, paper, crayons, and whatever you feel like using! It’s best to start with a big cardboard box; children can glue or tape boxes together to form the shape of their robot, and then they can use all the other materials to complete it. 

 

  • Bird feeder

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    Photo by Grayson Smith on Unsplash

 

Just like a bug hotel, a bird feeder can help you teach your children to be sensitive and empathetic, especially towards nature. There are many ways to build a bird feeder with eco-friendly and recycled materials, and what’s great about it is the fact that all of them are also much cheaper than non-eco-friendly methods. One of the easiest ways to build a bird feeder is by using toilet paper rolls. You cover it with peanut butter (or any other sticky natural substance), then roll it in the bird seeds until all covered. Thread a piece of twine or a ribbon through the toilet paper roll and knot, and it’s ready to hang it in the place where birds can enjoy it peacefully.

Creativity is the key

These are only several from tons and tons of activities that you can do with your kids using recycled materials and helping them to learn more about the environment. Get creative! Everything that lays around your house can be used to do something fun and educational. Discover your inventing, creative side, and teach your children to do the same. It really is a big step towards spreading awareness and improving the state of our planet.