Kids Recycled Christmas Decoration – Handmade and Homemade Too

Christmas has a very special kind of magic; a kids recycled Christmas decoration is a way kids can make some of that magic and pass it along to others. In Big Sister’s own words after she made something to give away, “I feel good.”

toilet paper roll star craft

Just a quick search oh Google gives so many ideas for items kids can make. Check your recycling box and she what kinds of treasures are in it. Paper towel and tissue rolls are nearly always in ours. There are a few water bottles and cereal boxes too. Along with a few scraps of fabric, buttons, wrapping paper, magazines, ribbon, and whatever else you can find in the craft basket, there’s plenty of material for little hands to explore and recycled Christmas decoration

Last week, when doing some Christmas pattern fun with paint dabbers we used some stiff cardboard and made candy canes. You could also draw a circle on a big enough cardboard and let kids paint a wreath. This wouldn’t have to be in a pattern, just a few sports of red to make berries and green all around.


Cut out stiff paper in any shape, such as a heart, star, circle, candy cane, and let kids paint the background color. When it’s dry they can use markers and crayons to draw or print a message.


These two Nativity scenes were made by the children of friends and readers, one with recycled water bottles and one with tissue paper rolls. Instead of just passively seeing the Christmas story, when children are involved in making different people and animals for themselves, they take on a much deeper role almost as if they were participating in it. Depending on your family traditions, recycled decorations may be much different. Tissue paper rolls can become the candles in a Menorah.


Old Christmas cards offer other options for making ornaments. Four circles folded in half and glued back to back make colorful balls to hand on a tree.

handmade Christmas decoration

Three toilet paper rolls can be opened up and flattened to make a six-pointed star. Add some color and glitter and enjoy it for years. An alternative is to have kids paint several of these with white as snowflakes. After all, we need more reasons to use glitter.

toilet paper roll star craft

Christmas isn’t just a season for receiving, it’s also for giving. Handmade and homemade items are ones that come from our hearts. A kids recycled Christmas decoration is sort of like giving one to Nature, isn’t it?



Wood-scraps Dragon Castle Craft – Recycled Treasure for Play

Some bits of wood made for a fun and exciting wood-scraps dragon castle craft. Along with some glue and paint, the kids created their own toys and fun.

dragon castle craft

After adding some shelves in the garage, we had a few bits of wood left over. Instead of recycling them, I gathered them into a box and gave them to the kids to use. Wood absorbs glue so they needed a couple of refills to the small dishes of white glue. Before getting the glue, I gave them a chance to build with the wood scraps and try them in lots of different ways. After quite a few minutes, they were ready to attach their creations together. Using popsicle sticks they slathered on the glue and stuck the pieces together. They were having so much fun, they wanted more, so we found some corks to add. Their castles were quite elaborate.

dragon castle craft

Glue needs time to dry so once they each finished their wood-scraps dragon castle, we carefully put them in a safe place and cleaned up. It was hard for them to wait and not just for an hour or two but the whole rest of the day and overnight. The next day the castles were ready, so out came all the paints and another good chunk of time. To do this, we spread newspapers over the floor to catch the drips. Even though the paint lids were carefully set to one side, Little Sister managed to stick her toes into a couple of them and paint the bottoms of her toes instead. This was tremendously funny. A couple of rags tidied that up and the paint lids got moved even farther away.

dragon castle craft

Toys don’t have to be something we buy for kids. These wood scraps had and continue to have wonderful play value. Besides the building and the painting, the kids have played with these castles several times. One day, they used some dragons and another day, some different small plastic figurines. The castles transformed into schools during another play session. The dragon castle craft turned into an imaginative and creative toy.

dragon castle craft

To find wood scraps, you may have to be creative and ask around. Lumber stores may have a bin of bits of wood, or a building site. Is there a new house going up in your area? Usually, once you let a few people know, they will watch for you and save some for your kid-dragons. Small boxes will also work. Cereal and other food boxes, toilet rolls, and items in the recycling basket are other treasures. Dragons may need to be reminded—no breathing fire on this dragon castle craft. What other recycling treasures can you suggest?

Geo Pumpkin Craft Fun with Pins, Elastics, Yarn, and Buttons

Today’s geo pumpkin craft fun was inspired by the photos on several sites for Halloween activities.  This gives us another day for pumpkin play and learning.

geo pumpkin craft fun

What is a geo pumpkin? The name geo pumpkin comes from the math resource known as a geo board. This is a square board with pins or nails placed in evenly-spaced rows. Kids wrap elastic bands around the pins to make geometric shapes and other designs. You may remember playing with them at school. Now, they are a more common learning toy.


Geo pumpkins can be decorated with a variety of materials, like pins, golf tees, nails, elastic bands, ribbon, yarn, and buttons. To make our geo pumpkins we started with push pins. These were easier for Little Sister to hold. Because I sew quite often, I have a couple of pin cushions that the kids like to touch. They take out the pins and rearrange them. Big Sister used both push and straight pins.

Once the pumpkin had a few pins stuck in, with repetitions of owie, owie, the kids began adding the yarn, elastic bands, ribbon, and buttons. Mostly these were scraps that live in the bottom drawer in the sewing desk. They weren’t limited by any preconceived ideas of what they should look like. They were able to create as they wanted. On one point, Little Sister asked for a different elastic band because one was too big. I showed her how to attach the elastic to a different pin farther away. She looked for a minute and then noticed it now made a triangle.

geo pumpkin craft fun

Fingers and fine motor skills got a work out manipulating all these little pieces but so did brains. Just a few thinking skills included are problem-solving, planning, predicting, visualizing, and creating. As they played, there was a great deal of talking and explaining. Little Sister used self-talk, whispering, “Push it in, push it in.” Big Sister who goes to school used several bits of fabric and stretched the elastic around pins to make a jack-o-lantern mouth.

geo pumpkin craft fun

The season for pumpkin play is relatively short. Geo pumpkin craft fun was a great way to play with one before we carve it into a jack-o-lantern. Another time, we made faces on one with play dough. What ways does your child play with pumpkins?

Olympic Games #3: Make A Flag Craft for Kids

The Opening Ceremonies for the Olympic Games, where each country’s team will have a flag and flag bearer, inspires this make a flag craft for kids. Last month, both the United States and Canada celebrated their major holiday. For each of these, we made flags. To make a sort of US flag, use a rectangle … Continue reading Olympic Games #3: Make A Flag Craft for Kids

Make a Flag for Canada Day Craft and Celebrate with Friends

This week the US President, the Canadian Prime Minister, and the Mexican President had a Three Amigos meeting. Today, make a flag for Canada Day. Amigo means friend, and the meeting was to support friendly ties of the three countries that make North America. July 1st is Canada’s national holiday. This year, that holiday is … Continue reading Make a Flag for Canada Day Craft and Celebrate with Friends

Paint Fireworks Craft for New Year’s Eve

Staying up for fireworks can be hard for kids—and adults. Instead, kids can enjoy this paint fireworks craft in all their favorite colors before bedtime. Besides paint, use a couple of toilet paper rolls. Because the rolls are harder to cut than thin paper, adult hands need to do the scissor part. Cut many narrow … Continue reading Paint Fireworks Craft for New Year’s Eve