Half term arts and crafts on a budget using recycling

Half term arts and crafts on a budget using recycling

Arts and crafts can be a cheap half term activity – if you use household items destined for the recycling bin – while also allowing imaginations and educational opportunities to flourish.

We know you will be reusing your plastic bottles to refill your favourite Bio-D products, so here are some other household items you and the kids can transform.


Empty Bio-D washing powder bag

If you’ve used all your Bio-D washing powder, why not turn the paper bag into a crown or a kite?

For a crown, cut the top and bottom ends off the bag. On one end, cut the points for your crown (or tiara), and colour some jewels and gems to make it sparkle. Simply fold the bottom of the crown up by an inch or two to help support it, and you’re good to go!

For a kite, draw your chosen pattern on the paper bag (maybe stick some tassels or ribbons to it as well) and attach four pieces of string around the open end. Tie the pieces of string together to make a handle, and it’s ready for flying.


Empty Bio-D laundry bleach and Nappy Fresh boxes

Become a sustainability superhero with a mask made from leftover cardboard. Cut the sides from your chosen box and turn the pieces over so you have the plain cardboard. Draw your chosen mask shape, make it as colourful as you want and carefully cut it out. Use scissors to cut out the eyeholes and to pierce a hole at either end. Thread through some string or elastic and you’re ready to take on your chosen villain.


Meal delivery boxes

Before putting your boxes straight into the recycling, why not have some fun with them first? Use your favourite crayons and some scissors to make the perfect imagination hideaway such as a doll’s house, space rocket, haunted castle or steam train.


Empty toilet roll

If you’ve got a big family, one of the items constantly filling your recycling bin will be cardboard toilet roll tubes. But, before being recycled, they can be a brilliant base for arts and crafts.

You can create a fairy house by cutting an archway into one end of the tube and then cutting out or drawing on some windows. Create a coned roof out of a second toilet roll, which you can then glue on. If you have any moss or flowers from the garden, you could also attach them. Once you’ve decorated the fairy house, you can place an LED tealight into the cut-out arch and wait for the fairies to arrive.

Another way to use up empty toilet rolls is by creating a snake. Cut each toilet roll into three sections and then paint them whichever colours you fancy – don’t forget to use two pieces for the head and the tail. Thread a piece of string through the sections and tie one end, leaving a long piece of string at the front of the snake so you have a handle to pull it along.


Juice boxes

Once you’ve finished your drink, grab your paints to create some makeshift walkie talkies. Paint the box black and, once that coat has dried, use white or light grey to paint on details such as buttons and speakers. Use the straws as antennae.


Packing peanuts

If you’ve received a parcel recently and it contains packing peanuts, you can see if they’re biodegradable by putting one in water and seeing if it dissolves.

You can paint them to look like bees, butterflies or even people, but you’ll need to be careful what paint you’re using. If the peanuts are biodegradable, you will need to use non water-based paints.


Old magazines

You can make papier mâché from old magazines or newspapers using glue made from flour and water, making it free from any nasty chemicals.

Form your papier mâché around plastic bowls, then stick two pieces together and paint them to create dinosaur eggs, or put the papier mâché into a muffin tin to create the base for seed pots.