As a parent, one of my favorite things is finding new and creative ways to keep my kids entertained. Either way, recycled toys are a great option! Not only are these toys fun and creative, but they’re also eco-friendly! We’ve gathered 50 of the best-recycled crafts and toys. From simple creations that even preschoolers can make to more elaborate projects perfect for older kids, we’ve got something for everyone! So get your recycling bin ready, and let’s get started!
Homemade Toys from Recycled Materials
Kids tap into their creativity by playing, and there’s no reason you, as a parent, should miss out on the opportunity to get just as creative! Not only is it a fun project, but it’s also something that will prevent you from spending money on expensive kid’s toys.
As well as saving cash, you’re also contributing to a happier, healthier environment. You’ll find an unbelievable list of innovative goodies to inspire your creations to help get the juices flowing.
So let’s get started!
1. Cardboard Box Train
A cardboard box train is easy to put together and will give your child a great way to get creative with recycled items. Have your child start thinking of what boxes to save, in different shapes and sizes. It only takes only three steps. Just glue, paint and draw.
- Cardboard boxes
- Black permanent marker
Cardboard box train tutorial from Kids Activities Blog
2. Cardboard Space Shuttle from Pink Stripey Socks
What kid doesn’t love space? The idea of traveling to outer space is just too dreamy. A cardboard space shuttle is a perfect excuse to learn about the area while creating something that can be used as a toy or on display in their bedrooms.
3. Recycled Little Cars from Crea Mamma
Cars are one of the most sought-after toys. And by creating a car from recycled materials, you can make an array of different designs and colors.
I was wondering how to make a toy car out of recycled materials. This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step tutorial.
4. Coffee Can Drums
If you have any empty coffee cans in the house, you’ll love this creative craft-turned toy. It lets kids create music with their very own coffee can drums. Kids tap into their creativity by making their drums, and then they can spend hours fine-tuning their musical prowess by banging on their homemade instruments. Call it the best bang for your buck.
- Coffee can
- Packing tape
Coffee can drums from Kids Activities Blog
5. 3D Arctic Fox Craft from The Craft Train
This one is as simple as printing out this template to make a 3D Arctic fox craft with a pop-out paper snout.
6. Animal Circus Train from Mer Mag
Create a cardboard train made from simple leftover pantry items, such as empty tea boxes. Fill the train with your kiddie’s favorite toy animals and let them whizz around on the carpets.
7. Race Cars from Kifli es Levendula
Kids can paint an old toilet roll their favorite color and transform it into a racing car. Create little disks to be the wheels and a hole for the driver. Lego men are brilliant race car drivers!
8. Robots and Rockets from Sweet Paul Mag
Learn how to transform old paper towel rolls into fun and colorful rocket launchers and robots. They can feature any playful design you like, whether it’s space-inspired, striped, or rainbow colors.
9. Tin Can Drums from (Cool) Progeny
Children love absolutely anything that makes a sound. And while it might be a pain for parents, you can escape the noise by allowing the kids to play in the garden. Create homemade tin can drums and let them pound away all afternoon!
10. Play Kitchen from Mer Mag
Repurpose some household items, like empty boxes, and recreate your idea of the perfect kitchen. Create stovetops and fridges that’ll keep your kids entertained all day long.
11. Animal Dropbox from Meri Cherry
Don’t throw away an empty box. Instead, create an animal dropbox by cutting holes and adding some color. It can be used as an educational game to drop the toy animals in particular colors that match the paint on the animal.
12. Egg Carton Camera from Let’s Do Something Crafty
How often does it feel like kids are drawn to cameras? Photography is a wonderful hobby, whether they’re taking selfies on your phone or snapping sneaky photos on the camera.
For the youngsters, transform an empty egg carton into their snazzy camera.
11. Recycled Toy Robot Monsters from Alisa Burke
Making toy robots is always fun because they’re unique each time you make one. Different-sized boxes, colorful pens, and stickers are all you need to make your robot come to life.
12. Cardboard Sewing Machine from Little Red Window
A DIY cardboard box sewing machine is something you’ve probably never thought of making. So it’ll be all the more fun attempting this quirky design.
13. Shoebox Princess Castles from Art Bar
It doesn’t get more adorable than shoebox castles. Build castles as high as you can by attaching the boxes, use toilet rolls for extra structure, and decorate with funky decor – glitter glue is a great idea.
14. Pirate Ship from Mollymoo
Inspired by the iconic children’s movie Peter Pan, a pirate ship is a versatile toy made of recycled materials that can be used anywhere. Bring it along on a trip to the beach, a camping holiday, or a visit to the grandparents.
15. Cardboard Plane from Small Fry
If you’re looking for a bigger project that requires more time, a cardboard airplane is a brilliant craft that allows your kiddy to captain the plane. Build the plane around your child’s body size, and soon, they’ll be ready for take-off.
16. Stick Bow and Arrow from She Knows
Who knew a popsicle could be so much fun? Turn your summer treat popsicle stick into a stick bow and watch your paper arrow fly through the air.
17. Straw Structures from All For The Boys
Create any kind of intricate structure with colorful straws and craft pipe cleaners. They can be used in dollhouses or made to create building blocks.
18. Cardboard Building Logs from Kix Cereal
If you always have toilet and paper towel rolls, use them as DIY toys for kids. By cutting out notches in the rolls and painting them different colors, you can assemble them into different shapes.
19. DIY Toys for Kids Ring Toss Game from La Maison de Loulou
Ring toss is a fantastic game for either indoor or outdoor, but particularly lovely in the summer. It’s an easy and fun craft, made of old plastic bottles and cardboard.
20. Recycled Kids Egg Carton Mask from Picklebums
Create all kinds of funny and creative masks from an empty egg carton. They can be made into bird beaks, like an adorable penguin or a quirky made-up animal face.
21. Sailboat Toys with Recycled Materials from Nalle’s House
Make a little sailboat from bits and bobs lying around the house. Using plastic bottles as the base means your child can play with the bark on the water, and it’ll be like a real one!
22. Woodland House from Tried and True
Be inspired to create little woodland creatures and houses that can be used to decorate the bedroom or simply used as play toys. To create a fairytale village, you can use pinecones, apricot caps, and wood sticks.
23. Puppet Theater from And We Play
Kids have the most fantastic imagination. Let their imagination go wild and help them construct a homemade theater with adorable puppets who strut the stage. There’s an endless amount of characters you can draw up, so this is a project you can always come back to.
24. Jet Packs from The Pinning Mama
Looking for a last-minute Halloween costume? Build your DIY jetpack that’s fueled with colorful paper fire, complete with a shiny, outer space-inspired silver coating.
25. Puppets from Lisa Storms
Making toys from recycled materials can be as simple as painting a box to make it look like a funny face. Gain some inspiration from Lisa Storms and make some fun handcrafted puppets.
DIY Recycled Toys: Make A Summer Boredom Buster Jar
Making a summer boredom buster jar is easy to fill up the days’ activities with endless summer fun. Find out how to make an easy jar filled with ideas your kids can write down using pretty scraps of their old art. A great way to recycle kids’ paintings!
Recycled DIY Materials Needed
Here’s what you’ll need to create and fill your summer boredom buster jar.
- Pieces of your kids’ art (ones they don’t mind cutting up)
- Pen/marker and scissors
Instructions for Boredom Buster Creation
These instructions are simple enough for the kids to follow. Either give them a hand or let them do it independently with their siblings or friends.
Decorate your jar. An easy way to do this is by adding fingerprint dots in various colors around your jar.
Cut up old pieces of art. We used this pretty marbled oil and watercolor art my daughter created.
Ask your child to write down activities they would like to do this summer. This is a great way to practice writing!
Place your ideas in the jar and pull one out when you want to go on a mini adventure!
Toys from Recycled Materials
DIY toys from recycled materials are a great way to use unwanted home materials. It’s a way to save money, entertain the kiddies, and let them get their hands dirty!
These toys can be used repeatedly and transformed into new things when they become too dull.
What are some of your favorite recycled projects to do with the kids? And what are your favorite summer activities to do with the kids? Let us know in the comments below!