Recycling Crafts for Earth Day: Leftovers to Collages

From Ruffles And Rain Boots: Earth Day Craft with recyclables and scraps

If you are one of our newer followers, let me fill you in on a not-so-well-kept-secret:

we craft a lot in this house. A lot. 

No, I mean a ton. 

Stickers are not safe from the hands of our 2 year old. Crayons are her meditation medium.

From paint, pom-poms and perler beads to foam, feathers, and felt: we use it. 

That leaves a lot of ‘extra’ pieces of things that we need to either recycle, put in the landfill, or my favorite option: use in a new craft! 

Click on “Read More” to join us in exploring the creativity that can come from cast-offs.

I’m going to keep plugging away at the whole ‘shameless self-promotion’ thing and ask you to sign up for the newsletter. Your privacy is paramount – we never share or sell email addresses – so hop on over to the sidebar. I’ll wait ’til you’re finished. 

Our 2 year old already knows which bin is for garbage and which is for recycling, but I’m not sure much else about our Earth Day discussions is going to stick. She knows not to let the water run when washing hands, but if you aren’t there to stop her, she’ll set up a water park in the bathroom. 

If you’d like to play with her, I’m sure she’d only charge you an apple as your admission ticket. 

I store all small pieces of leftover craft supplies in a sealed bin because we use them for so many things. 

“Imagination Station” Crafts

We put out supplies and our daughter comes up with her own creation. She needs help crafting it right now, but I’m very excited for the day she completes one entirely on her own. “Me do it” is already showing up daily in craft time and I love it!  

An example is this little cutie you can read about here

From Ruffles And Rain Boots: Earth Day Craft with recyclables and scraps

Filler / Supplements / Finishing Touches 

There are many times we just need a tiny bit of something or other to properly finish off a crayon-colored monster. 

“All monsters need yarn hair, Mommy.”


We make so many quick puppets to accompany our books (or the library’s) because they make for such a great story extender. We also make a ton of puppets just to have fun with. Most of the puppets are built from a craft stick and cast offs from other projects: pieces of paper, yarn remnants, half a pipe cleaner, etc. 

Some of our puppets are interactive play puppets and the quick (but still so popular) “I just got assaulted by an appliance” puppet: 

From Ruffles And Rain Boots: Where the Wild Things Are, free printable, play garland, story garland     From Ruffles And Rain Boots: easy spider puppet, The Itsy Bitsy Spider craft

Nature Collages

We go on daily walks and end up back home with our pockets full of nature. Elise will attach pieces to contact paper to make her own sensory boards or art projects. 

Cast-Off Collages

This is such a fun activity to see how a child’s knowledge of a topic can really shine! I asked Elise to tell me everything she knew about the ocean. Leaving it very open, she described the colors of the water, anemones, coral, seaweed, fish (and their bubbles), and all types of other inhabitants. 
From Ruffles And Rain Boots: Earth Day Craft with recyclables and scrapsTo be perfectly blunt: I was floored by how much she knew; I was speechless at times as she described her understanding of the word. 
They really are sponges, aren’t they? 
Having taken out the large bin of scraps and extras, Elise was as giddy as could be to get to rifle through it. 
After she chose some items, I supplemented with stickers and pom-poms and she got to work. 
From Ruffles And Rain Boots: Earth Day Craft with recyclables and scraps
Right now, she is using a TON of glue on pr
ojects, so this took a while to dry. It took 3 days to completely dry, but those pom-poms aren’t going anywhere. Ever. 
From Ruffles And Rain Boots: Earth Day Craft with recyclables and scrapsThe picture on the right demonstrates her over-use of glue: see that dime-sized dome of glue? It’s for a very small feather. When I asked if perhaps she had enough glue for that feather, I was dismissed by the face you see there. 
We brought out her net that we use in the bath for our sponge fish fishing, because we had just read a story of villagers using a net to catch fish for dinner. This was a highlight of her day and would walk by the drying collage and then run to find her net so she could catch fish for dinner. 
What about you? Are you discussing Earth Day with your kids? Are you going to craft with recyclable materials to turn learning into play time? Let us know in the comments section – or better yet, find me on any of the social media platforms below. 
Don’t forget, you can Pin any of these images to Pinterest or share them on Facebook. Thanks for sharing our fun! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *