Things to Make - 27 Easy Projects From the Recycling Bin

We use the recycling bin a lot, mainly because it's cheap and it's there.

Here's a list of some of the things it has helped us create. What have you made from recycling bin lately?


Milk Cartons
1. Rocketships - Wrap a milk carton in construction paper, fold in the top, add rocket wings and Barbie is ready for the moon.
2. Cradleboards (backpacks to carry dolls in) - An old milk carton + a belt or ribbon = a backpack for carrying dolls. Easy peasy.


Toilet Paper and Paper Toll Rolls
3. Story sticks - The Pima Indians of Arizona kept records of things that had happened in their lives on story sticks, so we drew pictures on flattened paper toll rolls to tell our own stories.
4. Doll slides - All you need is a toilet paper roll and a paper plate for Polly Pocket to have some fun.
5. Doll castles - Once Polly Pocket tires of her slide, she can relax in a beautiful castle.
6. Instruments - Make some noise, just add beans and seal the ends of a paper toll tube. Now you're ready to rock.

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Large Cardboard Boxes
7. Castle - A large painted box can become almost anything with a little imagination. Why not give your children a kingdom to reign over?
8. Boat - Add a broom with a construction paper flag on top so everyone will know from where you sail.
9. Posters - Just cut up the cardboard into large pieces and decorate. Now hang on the wall and you have some art.

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Small Cardboard Boxes or Bowls
10. Decoupage bowls - A great use for old shoe boxes or produce bowls.
11. Cardboard boats - Use a straw with a construction paper flag to make a sail. Blue construction paper makes great water. Just don't put in real water.
12. A Pueblo Indian house - A great way to learn about American Indians and reuse small old boxes.


Grocery Store Paper Bags
13. Purses - Every girl needs some bling in her life.
14. Mail carrier bags - To make this more fun use stickers as stamps and put some stationary out on the table. Encourage kids to write and deliver notes to each other.


Plastic 2L Bottle
15. A homemade lava lamp - Oil, water, and alka- seltzer = fun.


Packaging Paper
16. Tissue paper tie-dye - All you need are liquid watercolors or food coloring and rubber bands to create beautiful (though fragile) tapestries.
17. Butcher paper town - Just smooth out the brown packaging paper that comes in Amazon boxes and draw a town. Add various toys and lego buildings to decorate. Play.


Old Magazines
18. Necklace Beads - All you need are old magazines, glue, and cord to make a beautiful necklace.
19. Decoupage bowls - Also included as #10. A great way to use up old magazines, stickers, and other random scraps of paper. And now you have a place to store knick knacks too.


Gently Used Construction Paper (we often use new construction paper, but if you have some that is slightly used or cut, all these projects would still work)
20. 3D Pictures - Because everything is better in 3D.
21. Sunprints - Leave construction paper in the sun for a day or so with objects on top and check out all of the pretty patterns that result.
22. Ice cream cones - Circles and triangles glued together = delicious fake food.
23. Handprint puppets - Use your imagination and add some popsicle sticks. Now put on a show.
24. Toddler Designed Hidden Pictures (a fun game for older kids to play after a toddler has already doodled on the paper) - This is one of our favorite games to play with T's old "art".
25. Teepees & headbands - A great craft for Thanksgiving. Add a little paint and some homemade paper dolls and you have a whole activity set ready to go.


26. Paper Mache Bowls - Add some homemade "paste" (flour, salt, and water) to newspaper, wait until dry and paint - awesomeness.
27. Paper doll chains - Basically an instant toy.

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