Earth Day Craft for Kids – Upcycled Plastic Suncatchers
Inside: An Earth Day craft for kids that uses plastic from your recycling bin!
Earth Day is around the corner. I’m joining with a group of talented bloggers to share upcycling activities for kids. This week’s theme is Plastic.
Earth Day Craft for Kids
We’ve been crazy for strawberries and blueberries here lately. I put blueberries in my oatmeal every morning. The kids eat strawberries for lunch just about every day. Unfortunately, the berries we buy always come in a clear #1 plastic box. When I started thinking of possible Earth Day activities, those boxes were calling out for some upcycling!
(Actually, we do a lot of upcycling here, but sometimes it takes Earth Day for us to remember to call it that! For instance, these Letter Sound Rings are also re-purposed plastic.)
At the same time, I’d been thinking of making another suncatcher for spring. An Earth Day craft for kids seemed like the perfect idea!
RELATED: If you have new readers or almost-readers, you may be interested in these personalized Earth Day Emergent readers in my own little store, or in my store on Teachers Pay Teachers. You type in student names on one page, can they “magically” fill in on every page of the little book.
Making Our Kids Earth Day Craft
I started by cutting out circles from the berry boxes. I couldn’t get the label off without leaving a messy residue. So the circles were fairly small. Unless you can find a larger piece of plastic, this is probably a better activity for older kids who can work on a smaller surface. (My 6 year olds surprised me and handled it well – but they have pretty good fine motor skills.)
Since I was working with smaller pieces, I decided to make them into sort of a mobile. But how to put them together?
The answer came from Liam’s Easter basket. He was in such a hurry to scoop up the maximum number of eggs that he grabbed up a small twig by accident. When he got home and sorted through his loot, he deposited the twig out on the kitchen table.
Because, you know — kids.
I have failed to train them not to do stuff like this.
Lucky for me it worked out this time, and I had the perfect accessory for our little Earth Day suncatchers.
You can upcycle any kind of clear, thin plastic. Berry boxes just happen to be what I have on hand. I think some takeout box lids might also work.
- Plastic berry box, or other thin clear plastic
- Permanent markers
- 1/8″ Circle Punch or regular hole punch
- Small twig
- Printout of clip art (optional)
- Cut out 3 circles of plastic. Younger kids may need an adult to do this part.
- Color each circle with permanent markers. Trace the clipart if you want to.
- Punch a small hole in each circle using the circle punch or hole punch.
- Tie each piece to the twig with twine.
- Tie a loop to the twig so you can hang up your finished suncatcher.
Learning About Earth Day
This craft can be a starting off point for teaching kids about reduce-reuse-recycle, and the greater meaning behind Earth Day.
You might like to read a few of these Earth Day books for kids – there are a wide range of excellent choices for kids from preschool through elementary.
You can even choose from a wide variety of these Earth Day literacy activities that I’ve rounded up for you.
Finally, the Earth Day suncatcher in your window can be a reminder to make earth-friendly choices.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Painted Earth Craft
For other fun upcycling ideas for kids, check out these creative ideas from the Earth Month Upcycle Challenge.
Using Plastic Containers for Seed Starters from Kara Carrero
Plastic Masks from Milk Jugs from Crafty Mama in ME
How to Make this Fantastic Plastic Bottle Terrarium from Witty Hoots
How to Build a Juice Jug Greenhouse from Nemcsok Farms
I love upcycled ideas.
This is such a great idea. A fun way to practice saving the earth while learning.
What a clever craft idea!
Got any ideas on how to get the permanat marker to not come off of the plastic?
It should stay on unless you scratch it. It will scrape off with a fingernail scrape — it's definitely meant just to hang in a window. I didn't try a sealer of any kind – I'm not sure whether that would work or not. I sort of suspect not. Let me know if you discover otherwise.
I like to upcycle plastic for sun catchers. In the past I have used plastic lids and white glue. A messy, complicated process so I stopped. I’ve also tried to use the scraps from the laminating machine. Thanks for your ideas!
You’re welcome I hope these suncatchers are easier!
How do you make, ( what do you use and directions ), the upcycled earth suncatcher on your website? Our theme next week is recycling and I would love to have my kids make these.
I’m not sure I understand. Were you viewing my post on some kind of third-party reader? If so, maybe they cut off the post?
The directions are in my full post under the heading “Making Our Kids Earth Day Craft” I blathered on a bit, but there are sub-headings under that with “Materials” and “Instructions” that should tell you everything you need to know.
This will be a perfect craft for your recycling theme, and I hope you and your kids enjoy making it!
Love these earth day crafts! We’ll be making some blue & green slime for earth day too! We just did DIY terrarium necklaces to learn about the water cycle and have a fun spring craft that I think would be fun for Earth Day too!