3 Earth-Friendly Kids’ Crafts

by Sara Kendall

Not everything destined for your garbage can is rubbish! Some of that trash can become treasure—in this case, in the form of creative and unique craft activities. With just a bit of sorting and saving, you will have most of the items needed for all three of these fun projects you can do with your kids. Not only will you and your children have fun doing these together, but your children will gain a greater awareness of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.


Tie-Dyed Butterflies

After you’ve enjoyed your morning cup of joe, don’t toss the filter out with the grounds! A few creative touches will transform coffee filters into beautiful butterflies. Then showcase your child’s artwork by hanging the finished butterflies around your home.
Materials Needed:
• Used coffee filters (one per butterfly)
• Colored markers
• A water-filled spray bottle
• Pipe cleaners
• Hanging materials (fishing line, string or yarn)

1. Gently rinse the grinds from the coffee filter. Lay flat to dry.
2. Completely color the coffee filter using a variety of different colored markers.
3. Lay the filter on a surface you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.
4. Spray water onto the colored coffee filter until completely wet. The marker colors will bleed together, resulting in a tie-dye look. For best results, spray immediately after coloring.
5. Lay flat or hang to dry.
6. Pull together the center of the coffee filter, and wrap a pipe cleaner around it. Twist to close, and shape the ends to form antennas. Fan out each wing.
7. Pull the hanging material under the pipe cleaner and knot.
8. Hang your child’s beautiful butterflies in your home.

Newly Decorated Recycling Bins

Old newspapers, magazines, kids’ drawings and school papers that you normally toss into the recycling bin can be used to decorate! In those stacks destined for a shredder somewhere, you have most of the materials needed. Just add a pair of scissors and bottle of glue.

If you have good recycling bins, assist your child in wrapping these bins with the collected papers. Cut out letters to label for paper, plastic, glass, etc. Cut out photographs to show examples of what goes in each bin.

If you have old bins, create new ones by using cardboard boxes. Line the box with a garbage can liner to protect from moisture. Your children can decorate the box with various types of collected papers, and then let them have free rein on the final decorating.

Mother Earth Collage

Maybe you don’t need to throw everything into the trash. Recycled items can be a child’s medium in creating a collage.  Use an old box or bin for collecting possible items for the work of art. Get your child involved by having him or her fill the box with potential items. The possibilities are endless and below are some suggestions.

Possible Materials (some of these items will need to be washed before using):
Drinking straws
Cereal boxes
Catalogs, newspaper and old comic books
Plastic lids
Used plastic bags and aluminum foil scraps
Yarn, ribbon or string scraps
Tissue boxes and gift boxes

Unfold a saved box; it will be the canvas for the collage. Use glue to attach collected items. Crayons, paint or any other art supplies can be used in the creation of the masterpiece. Let your child’s imagination run wild. Hang to serve as a family reminder to protect the environment through reducing, reusing and recycling.

By creating these three earth-friendly crafts, your children will not only have used their creativity, but will have actively engaged in helping our planet by saving garbage from ending up in a landfill. By learning new habits, your children will play a longterm role in helping our world be healthier and our resources last longer.

Sara Kendall is a freelance writer and mom of two daughters.

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