Letter R Craft: R is for Recycling

This fun free printable letter R craft helps you celebrate Earth Day, or really any day! You can use this to teach your little ones not just about the letter R and its /r/ sound, but also about the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling.

"Letter R Craft" title across completed craft glued onto bright green paper, colorful scissors, and subtitle "Free template"

We already have a popular Earth Day craft here on this site, a list of meaningful Earth Day books for kids, and even roundups of Free Printable Earth Day Activities and Earth Day Literacy Activities (which I need to go and add this new post to). But I just couldn’t resist adding one more educational activity to our Earth Day collection!

I’m really excited about how cute this turned out! I think a class set of these colorful letter crafts would look pretty on your classroom or hallway wall.

Materials Needed

Here’s everything you’ll want to gather before you start:

  • Free printable template (see the end of this post to get a copy)
  • Full sheet of colored paper, preferably from your recycling bin
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Scrap paper in a variety of colors
  • Crayons (Optional) – If you print the black & white version of the template you’ll also want crayons or markers to color the earth and recycling symbol with.

To make this letter craft as earth-friendly as possible, try to print the template on the back of some paper from your recycling bin. Then, raid your colored paper scrap collection to decorate with.

blank template, scissors, bin of colored paper scraps, glue stick

How to Make this Letter R Craft

You’ll probably want to complete steps 1 & 2 below as preparation unless you have kids with advanced scissor skills.

  1. Cut out the letter R, the smiling earth, and the recycling symbol from the template.
  2. Cut or tear colored scrap paper into small pieces.
  3. Glue the colored paper scraps onto the letter. (I know the photo shows it differently, but on reflection, I think it’s best to do this step first.)
  4. Then, glue the recycling symbol and the earth onto the top of the letter as shown.
  5. (optional) You may want to trim the edges a little if the kids have gone too wild with gluing on their scraps. Just do the minimum to make it recognizable as an ‘R’.
  6. Finally, glue the entire letter collage onto a full sheet of paper.
in process craft with the edge of a hand holding a glue stick

Teaching about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When you make this letter R craft you’ll also want to teach your kids about “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” To explain these concepts, keep it simple and relatable:

  • Reducing means using less.
  • Reusing means finding new purposes for things (like we’re doing to make this craft!).
  • Recycling means turning old things into something new. (If you want a major project you could even make your own paper!)

You’ll also want to talk about the recycling symbol used in this craft. I found some kid-friendly information on it here. The arrows represent the steps in recycling: collecting recyclables, processing them, and then buying items made from recycled materials.

Letter R Craft with glued on title that reads "R is for Recycling" shown next to small container holding colorful paper scraps, scissors, and a glue stick

Teaching Kids the Letters of the Alphabet

Once children know the letter names from singing the alphabet song, you can start to teach them the letter shapes. You don’t necessarily need to teach the letters in order or have a “letter of the week“, although I recognize how popular that is.

I think that using letter crafts is a fun way to introduce letter shapes as well as to teach letter sounds. Which part of that equation you emphasize will depend on each student:

  • For children who are just learning what the letters look like, be sure to talk a lot about the letter name before, while, and after they work. You can also mention that “recycle” starts with the /r/ sound, but don’t make that your main focus.
  • For children who can already recognize the letter R, you can focus more on why we’re decorating it this way. You can emphasize the /r/ sound in the words reduce, reuse, recycle, and even talk about other words that also start with the letter R.
partially complete craft

Download the Letter R Craft Template

Ready for the free printable template for this craft?

To get your very own copy, you can sign up right here:

    I’ll add you to my weekly-ish newsletter too – it’s full of ideas and more free printables. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.

    Letter R Craft with glued on title that reads "R is for Recycling" shown next to colorful paper scraps

    The goal of this craft is to introduce children to the letter R as well as teach them about recycling. I hope this activity meets those objectives for you.

    Happy Earth Day,


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.