5 Upcycled Art Projects for Eco-Friendly Fun

Earth Day is April 22

By Natasha Bethea Goodwin, publisher of Macaroni KID District Heights, Md. April 26, 2023

Earth Day is a time to reflect on the state of our planet and the ways we can contribute to its preservation. 

We can teach our children about the importance of conservation, recycling, and reducing waste by participating in Earth Day activities. 

But what about at home? Encouraging young kids to create art using recycled materials sparks their creativity while teaching them valuable lessons about reusing resources and minimizing waste.

Here are five ideas for recycled art projects your kids can do for Earth Day.

Saffires Blue | Canva

1. Create a magazine collage


  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A large piece of paper or cardboard


  1. Have kids browse through old magazines and cut out images, words, or patterns that appeal to them.
  2. Arrange the cutouts on paper or cardboard to create a unique collage.
  3. Glue the cutouts in place and let the artwork dry before displaying it.

Learn how to help kids create a vision board.

Kara Murphy

2. Craft an egg carton flower wreath


  • Egg carton, empty and clean
  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Paint 
  • Paintbrushes


  1. Cut out individual egg cups from the carton.
  2. Trim the edges of each egg cup to create flower petals.
  3. Paint the egg carton flowers in various colors and let them dry.
  4. Cut the center from a paper plate.
  5. Glue your flowers to the outside of the plate.

Alternatively, if you have pipe cleaners, you can poke a hole in the center of each flower and thread a pipe cleaner through it, twisting the end to secure it in place. Then arrange the 'flowers' in a jar or bundle them together to create a colorful bouquet.

Read more:
5 Ways Your Family Can Help the Earth
How one innovative company is turning jeans into insulation.

Renae Gonzalez

3. Upcycle a carton into a bird feeder

What you need: 

  • Empty cartons
  • Knife
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or string
  • Paint
  • Birdseed


  1. Have an adult cut out the sides of the carton. The choice is up to you how many sides you would like to cut out — you can cut out one, two, three, or all four sides. 
  2. Now it’s time to decorate! Get creative and have fun! Use paint or markers that will hold up to the weather.
  3. Poke holes in the top of the carton, then string the yarn through the holes. 
  4. Fill the container will birdseed.
  5. Hang in a spot outside and wait for the birds to enjoy!

Nungning 20 | Canva

4. Transform a plastic bottle into a planter


  • Empty plastic bottles
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Soil
  • Small plants or seeds


  1. Cut the top off each plastic bottle, leaving a container with an open top.
  2. Paint the outside of the bottle with fun designs or patterns and let it dry.
  3. Fill the bottle with soil and plant seeds or small plants inside.
  4. Place the planters on a windowsill or in your garden to grow your own Earth Day garden.

Patrick Heagney | Canva

5. Construct a cardboard box castle


  • Empty cardboard boxes
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape or glue


  1. Collect various sizes of empty cardboard boxes and cut out doors and windows using scissors or a craft knife.
  2. Paint the boxes with colorful designs, such as bricks or stone patterns, and let them dry.
  3. Assemble the boxes to create a castle structure, securing them together with tape or glue.
  4. Encourage your kids to play in their Earth Day castle, using their imaginations to create eco-friendly adventures.

Celebrating Earth Day through recycled art projects is a fantastic way for families to bond while teaching children the importance of conservation and resourcefulness. These creative activities inspire children to think critically about the environment and provide an enjoyable, hands-on experience that instills eco-friendly values. Let’s get creative and celebrate Earth Day!

Natasha Bethea Goodwin is the publisher of Macaroni KID District Heights, Md.