Trash to Treasure Ideas: Art Recycle Box

Written by contributor Melissa Allen of Green Owl Art.

Earth Day is a great time to teach children the responsibility they have to our planet. They are the future and the future starts with us. Let’s get ready to explore some trash to treasure ideas with our kids. I have been talking with Emma and Grayson about ways to recycle and why we recycle. In our house, we have five recycling bins: paper, plastic, glass, compost and art. Yes….art. This is where we recycle anything we think we may use for art in the future. So why not start your own Art Recycling Bin?


Start your own Art Recycling Bin:

  1. Use a box that is an accessible size for children. This box should be kept in a place where children can add and take from very easily.
  2. Decorate the box as a family and talk about different things you could start to save for art projects.
  3. Lead by example. I added the first few items to our box, before I knew it Emma was thinking of all sorts of the things to add. I also pull items out and start creating without directing her in anyway. I just let her watch and eventually she is creating on her own. These are always the best creations in my opinion, no direction, no right, no wrong. Just art from the mind of a child.


Things to save:

Paper rolls, berry baskets, jars, caps, broken crayons, egg cartons, cardboard boxes, milk jugs, fabric and yarn scraps.

Think outside the box. I promise your child will find an innovative way to use most anything.


Talk to your children about recycling

You want your children to grow into earth-responsible adults who are making a difference in the world. But, you don’t want them to hear the negative effects of not caring for the earth at this point. I think it is a lot to put on a little child’s shoulders, and you don’t want to create a hopeless feeling in these early years. So when you talk about recycling and taking care of our planet, do it in a positive way.  You want your child to see the impact they can create with the small daily things they do each day. You want them to feel like they have the power to keep this world a beautiful place, as they do.

For more recycled crafts from Melissa, head on over to Green Owl Art.


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5 Responses to Trash to Treasure Ideas: Art Recycle Box

  1. Jadah Sellner April 18, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    I am definitely going to start a recycle art box in our home. We love using recycled items for art projects. Zoe can’t throw away a toilet paper roll or glass jar without reusing it first.

  2. Wendie April 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    We do most of our craft projects from items out of the recycling can! I like that my kids are willing to put their creations back into the recycling can after they have enjoyed them for awhile (my home would be overran with craft projects if they didn’t). My kids like knowing that their creations will go on to be recycled into something new for someone

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