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Three Earth-Friendly Crafts for Kids

Three Earth-Friendly Crafts for Kids

Not everything destined for your garbage can is rubbish. Encourage your kids to create art instead.

By Sara Kendall

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Some of your everyday household trash can become treasure, just right for creative crafts your kids and their friends will love.Not only will you and your children have fun searching for materials to use, the kids will gain a greater awareness of the need to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Here are three easy crafts you can make from discarded household items.

Number One: Tie-Dyed Butterflies

After you’ve enjoyed your morning cups of joe, don’t toss the coffee filter out with the grounds. A few creative touches transform used filters into beautiful butterflies.

Once the butterflies are finished, showcase them around the house. Their fluttering prettiness will dress up any space.


  • Used coffee filters (one per butterfly

  • Colored markers

  • A water-filled spray bottle

  • Pipe cleaners

  • Hanging materials such as fishing line, string or yarn


Gently rinse the grinds from the coffee filter and lay it flat to dry.

Color the dried coffee filter with a variety of colors, using the markers.

Lay the filter on a work surface that can get wet and messy.

Spray the filter with water to saturate. The colors will bleed together, resulting in a tie-dye look. For best results, spray immediately after coloring.

Allow the filter to dry, either by laying it flat or hanging it.

Gather the center of the coffee filter and wrap a pipe cleaner around it. Twist to close and then shape the ends to form antennas.

Fan out the wings.

Attach the string, fishing line, or yarn to the pipe cleaner circling the body of the butterfly and knot it.

Hang your child’s beautiful butterflies throughout the house or apartment — anyplace that needs a little color and whimsy.

Number Two: 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 it. 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 kid in wrapping them with the collected papers. Cut out letters to label for paper, plastic, glass, etc. Cut out photographs to show examples of what goes in which bin.

If your town allows you to put everything in one bin, simply decorate it with likely images.

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

Number Three: Mother Earth Collage

Collect magazines, old calendars, food containers and similar materials that might work in a collage. You children should be the ones to collect most of the material, putting it all in a box or bin.

The possibilities are nearly endless, but below are some suggestions.Note that some of the items listed may require washing or rinsing.

Possible materials:

  • Drinking straws

  • Cereal boxes

  • Catalogs, newspaper and old comic books

  • Plastic lids

  • Cardboard egg cartons

  • Used plastic bags and scraps of aluminum foil

  • Corks

  • Yarn, ribbon or string

  • Tissue boxes and gift boxes

To create a canvas for the collage, unfold a saved box.

Cut out pictures from magazines and other publications, and select three-dimensional pieces that will look cool together or create a theme. For example, if your child wants to devise a mountain motif, use parts of the egg cartons to create texture and peaks.

Use glue to attach the collected items. Arrange them first; remind your kids that they can always move them around before they are secured. Afterwards, it’s not so easy.

Let the kids paint or color the empty spaces left by the collage pieces. They also can add splashes of color and shapes to the actual glued-on articles. Encourage them to let their imaginations run wild.

Be sure to display your children’s creations so that you can be reminded of their message — “reduce, reuse, and recycle” — and also can enjoy their artistry.

When they create earth-friendly crafts, your children will not only have used their ingenuity, they will have actively engaged in helping our planet by saving garbage from ending up in a landfill.

By learning new habits or reinforcing others, the kids will play a long-term role in helping our world be healthier and our resources last longer.

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Tagged With: kids, art, earth-friendly, recycle, moms

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