5 Fun Crafts to Make with Recycled Materials

Hey there, parents! Summer vacation is here. It’s exciting… and slightly terrifying. We all love our kiddos and can’t wait to see what wonderful messes they get into this summer. We love spending time outdoors, swimming, hiking, canoeing, camping and showing out kids the natural world. We love playing board games on rainy days, reading favorite books and going to matinees, catching fireflies, and spontaneous adventures. But there comes a day – that fateful day – sometime in July, when we hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored!”  Well, not to worry. We’ve got you covered.

We rounded up some fun crafts from around the world wide web. These projects are fun for kids and parents alike, and best of all, use recycled materials. Show your kids that it matters to you not to create more waste, to make more from what we already have on hand, and that you don’t need a thousand new toys in order to be happy and have fun. Upcycle and make old things new again. Get to making, you guys!

Mini Banjos by The Craft Train

Upcycled Object: Jar Lids


Mini Lid Banjos-The Craft Train

Mini Lid Banjos-The Craft Train

Kids are noisy by nature. They love to make sounds and rhythm, and we want to encourage their musical tendencies. This craft is super fun because each child can customize their mini banjo. Some kids will spend an hour decorating, while others want to get right to playing tunes. Sing along to favorite old records and listen to the stories your kids tell through spontaneous songwriting. This project is good for kids of all ages, especially on rainy summer afternoons.

Bird Feeder

Upcycled Object: Coffee Cans


Recycled Can Bird Feeder-Momtastic

Recycled Can Bird Feeder-Momtastic

Bird watching teaches us lessons about quiet and observation; we can talk about colors, animals, gravity and flight with our children, as we watch blithe birds in their joyful effort. Having a bird feeder in the yard brings all sort of magic on a summer afternoon, and, as a bonus, also helps keep bugs away naturally! Kids love creating objects that work. They are so capable of building, using their artistic abilities to decorate the feeders, and decide where the best place is. With older children you can keep a journal of which birds are attracted to your yard and find patterns in their behavior. Get outside!

Tote Bag

Upcycled Object: Tee-Shirt


Upcycle Crafts

T-Shirt Tote Bag-Mommypotamus

Give your kids a homemade tote bag and let them wander through the farmer’s market, picking out things that are appealing to them. It’s a great way to start conversations about different kinds of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, where our meat and eggs come from, and what they want for dinner! Use an old shirt in a fun design to make this no-sew market bag. Also great for collecting acorns and pinecones, finding yard sale treasures on a weekend morning, or for a light trip to the local library.

Wind Chimes

Upcycled Object: Metal Washers


Upcycle Crafts

Metal Washer Wind Chime-Crafty Morning

What is a more idyllic summer scene than sitting on the porch in the late afternoon, sipping lemonade and staring at the sky while our children run like crazy, chasing butterflies or kicking balls? Add the mellifluous sounds of a wind chime, tinkling in the breeze. This craft can be as crazy as you want it to be. Let your kids go nuts adding beads and shells and anything else that will clang and clatter. These make an especially great gift for grandma!

Fairy Houses

Upcycled Object: Milk Cartons


Upcycle Crafts

Milk Carton Fairy Houses-STLMotherhood

Finding magic in the world is one of the greatest pleasures of parenthood. Our kids believe in a way that we might not anymore. Building a fairy house with little boys and girls is one of the sweetest ways to spend time together in nature. Keep childhood wild and free for a little while longer. This is a project your kids will love doing and you will save as cherished objects of their whimsical little-hood long after they’ve left for college.

There’s no time like now to be present with our kids. Summer is the perfect season to talk with them about reusing and recycling, making new things instead of making waste. Create fun and memories this vacation! The future is theirs.

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