Upcycling Recyclables with your Children

Upcycling Recyclables with your Children


We all know the basics of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) that were taught to us in schools at an early age. The concept is  simple, but each year as the human population increases and global warming effects get worse, recycling becomes more important. One of the ways we can make a difference is to teach our children recycling from a young age and allow them to develop recycling habits through projects that will engage them.

These five crafty recycling projects for kids are fun, creative and downright awesome! It's time to dig into the recycling bin, gather your recycled arts and crafts supplies, and turn it into an afternoon of fun that your whole family will love.

Let's start off by exploring the difference between recycling and upcycling.

Recycling is a practice that takes an item and targets it for reuse, returning it back to the cycle of daily contribution to society rather than discarding it.

Upcycling is the reuse of material without degrading the quality and composition of the material for its next use. The next time you're about to throw something away, stop to think if you can reuse or transform it into something.

For example, when you recycle plastic bags, it just gets broken down. Upcycling plastic bags however, allows you to work with the material from plastic bags and transform them into new objects. Take a look at the infographic below for the breakdown:


Infographic sourced from Hipcycle

As the school holidays begin, bonding time with your children can be just as simple as finding inspiration in the recycle bin. You can learn how to make musical instruments from flower pots to coffee can drums! As fun as it is to complete these projects, it will also impart important lessons to reduce, reuse and recycle or in this case, upcycle.

Here are some fun and easy projects you can do with your kids:

1. Zoo Rolls by Wonderbly

  Photo & Project Credit: Wonderbly

All you need are toilet roll tubes, scissors, craft knife, paints and paintbrushes. Let your kids get creative and create their own little zoo of animals. You can use these zoo rolls to decorate their rooms or even use their imagination to make story time interesting!

2. Angel Place Names by Wonderbly


Photo & Project Credit: Wonderbly

Look around your house for thick papers, polystyrene balls, felt pens, toothpicks, blu-tac, translucent tissue paper, scissors, a craft knife, sellotape (transparent adhesive tape) and glue. Once you're done creating these angels, you can place electric tealights in them to make them glow. The glowing angels are great on the nightstand or even just as a quirky room decoration for your kids. Use the initials of your names to make it your own special angel.

3. The Robot Book from Look, Love, Create Blog


Photo & Project Credit: Look, Love, Create Blog

With your next purchase, save those boxes and get some tubes and tins along with poster or acrylic pain, PVA glue, buttons or coloured matchsticks and coloured A4 papers. For a nice effect, you can use surface primer before painting over the tins or boxes. You can also mix a gel medium with your paint for a glossy finish. These comical robots are great for afternoon playtimes for your little ones.

4. Egg Box Turtles from Emma Owl


Photo & Project Credit: Emma Owl

    Save all those empty egg cartons and look out for some green cardboards, coloured pompoms, plastic googly eyes and three different shades of green paint. The different shades of green will help to create a mottled effect for the turtles' shells. Don't forget that egg boxes do vary, so remember to make sure there are two sizes. Want to take it up a notch? You can even create your won little aquatic tank filled with different animals.

    5. Plastic Bottle Planters by OneLittleProject


    Photo & Project Credit: OneLittleProject

    Once you're done with a water bottle, save those bottles and gather acrylic paint, plastic googly eyes, small sharp penknife, plants and glue. These planters are seriously easy to make! You can pop in succulents that are easy to handle and take care of. Perfect for you little ones to take care of them and teach them some responsibility at the same time.

    At the end of the day, the most important thing is to encourage your kids to practice environmentally friendly habits. These projects will motivate them to learn as much as they can about recycling and upcycling. At SAFRA, you can look for quarterly ARTS@SAFRA programmes that happen across the SAFRA club houses. You can experience a wide array of art forms and activities specially tailored for families and children such as SAFRA Earth Hour.


    If you have completed all these quirky little art projects with your little ones and looking for art studios that your children can take part in during their school holidays? Check out ARTARY, a popular children's art studio in SAFRA Punggol. The studio offers programmes for children aged three to 14 years of age and students get the chance to learn and experience art through various forms.

    Related Links
    Activities & Courses
    WSQ – Study & Serve Wine
    A fun & relaxing way to acquire the skills & knowledge about wine
    Exploring Arts with Dance
    Exploring Arts with Dance!
    10 Singaporean Chinese New Year Facts!