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A preschool-aged boy is participating in a craft that involves recycled tin foil.
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Money Saver: 15 New Ways to Use to “Same Old” Recyclables

Here are 15 new money-saving ways to use to “same old” recyclables in your children’s ministry. 


There’s no doubt about it —children’s ministers are a resourceful bunch. We’re always collecting—paper towel rolls, egg cartons, tissue boxes — for one creative project or another for kids. We love those recyclables!

Here you’ll find totally new, totally cool ways to use tons of things people toss out every day. Your kids will have a blast letting their imaginations go wild with these unique craft ideas —and so will you!

15 New Ways to Use to “Same Old” Recyclables

1. Noah’s Ark

Use old cereal boxes to make a Noah’s Ark kids can decorate and play with. Simply cut, fold, and tape any size cereal box using the provided template. Kids can decorate their arks using markers, paint, or construction paper and glue. Just add animals!

2. Shake It Up

Kids can create these colorful noisemakers using empty yogurt containers; various colors of electrical tape; and sand, pebbles, or jingle bells. Clean and dry the yogurt containers, then let kids pour a handful of sand, pebbles, or jingle bells inside one container. Connect the containers by sealing the open ends together using colored electrical tape. Kids can personalize their shakers by decorating them with different colors of tape.

3. Pringles Can Disciples

Pringles potato chips cans make great recyclable Bible characters. Just trim construction paper to fit the can, and cut out a circular area where the Pringles character’s face is. Glue the construction paper to the can (use rubber bands to hold it in place until dry). Then make a headpiece by topping the lid with cotton balls or fiberfill and covering it with a piece of fabric held in place with a rubber band.

4. Bug Jumpers

Use hot glue to attach six 4-inch chenille craft wire legs to the bottoms of plastic bottle tops. Bend the legs in a V shape and attach googly eyes and other decorations to complete the bugs.

Kids will love having bug-jumping races or playing bug Tag by pressing down on the bottle top and letting go.

5. CD Creations

Old CDs are a recyclable that offers endless opportunities for creativity. Glue two CDs shiny-side-out with a loop of yarn or fishing line between them fora hanger. Kids can add rhinestone jewels for attractive window hangings and ornaments. Or add round labels inviting kids to a special event or letting them know you’ve missed them.

Get really creative and design a classroom sculpture — your kids can design and assemble a giant fish, palm trees, stars, and more using old CDs and glue. Set your imagination free!

6. Treasure Boxes

Collect those cute Altoids candy tins, and encourage your kids to make their very own treasure boxes using acrylic paint, beads, glitter, letter beads, and glue. Kids can store special items that remind them of God’s love in their tins.

7. Tabletop Topics

Use a clear plastic CD multipack canister as a hot-topic game for kids and families. Simply print a variety of discussion-provoking, numbered questions in landscape format on an 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Trim the paper to fit inside the case, and reattach the CD drum. Children and families can play by spinning the holder or by rolling dice to find the number of the question they must answer.

8. Cities on Hills

Old cereal boxes and milk cartons are the perfect recyclables for making miniature cities and villages straight out of the Bible. Simply shape the boxes by cutting them, decorate with paint or construction paper, and assemble your village for a 3-D wall hanging or moveable lesson enhancer.

9. Crazy Critter Containers

Kids can create wacky creatures using baby food jars and other clear containers. Simply glue felt ears, pompoms, googly eyes, and other items to the jars. They make excellent storage for pocket change, craft ingredients, candy, and more.

10. Butterfly Beauties

Collect the insulating sleeves from coffeehouse beverages to create these recycled unique butterflies. Connect four sleeves at the fold using a chenille craft wire. Bend the ends of the wire for antennae, and let kids decorate their butterflies.

11. Egg Carton Stackers

Cut the lids off egg cartons and let kids paint the cartons in a variety of colors. Once dry, kids can stack the cartons just like Lego toys to create walls, forts, and more.

12. Marionettes

Use plastic lids to create marionettes. Kids can poke holes and tie together their puppets using yarn. Attach a 12-inch length of yarn to the top of the head to hold and maneuver the marionette.

13. Soft-Drink Can Wind Chimes

Make wind chimes with soft-drink cans. Just bend up the tabs, let kids spray paint the cans outdoors, and then hang them using 3-foot lengths of yarn. Each child can hang three or four cans at slightly different lengths so they’ll clang together. Finish the chimes by tying the top ends of the yarn together to form a hanger.

14. Fold-and-Go Checkerboard

Old placemats and soft drink bottle tops are a great recyclable to make a game of checkers. Just cut one end of a placemat to make it square, then color a checkerboard using a ruler and markers. Collect 12 pop bottle tops from two different kinds of soda (for a total of 24) for the game pieces.

15. Fancy Baskets

Kids will love making these attractive baskets using clean discarded plastic cups. Have kids cut the top half of their cups into 1/2-inch sections. Then they’ll fold each section down and under the next section until all sections are folded in place. Finish the baskets with chenille wire handles.

The combined creative talents of Suzi Jensen, RoseAnne Sather, Carmen Kamrath, Robin Reese, Mary Davis, Jennifer Hooks, and Rose Goble contributed to this article.

For more great ideas like this in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine!


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