Earth Day Crafts for Kids

Make your house more eco-friendly this Earth Day with easy, fun crafts and creative tips from our readers.

  • Photograph by Laura Moss

    Towel Tags

    Here's a way to be sure everyone knows whose towel is whose so that they stay on the hook and out of the laundry hamper longer. Use a permanent, waterproof ink pad to stamp a name onto cotton twill tape. Trim the tape with pinking shears (to prevent fraying), so that there's about 4 1/2 inches extra after the name and a few inches before the name. When the ink is dry, set it by covering the tape with a cloth and pressing it with a hot, dry iron. Fold both edges of the tape under about 1/4 inch and crease the folds with the iron. Sew the folded edges to the towel.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Laura Moss

    Name a Napkin

    Cloth napkins aren't just for special occasions anymore. Personalize a set or two with each family member's initial and have your crew use theirs for several meals, then pop them all in the wash. For each, cut a 5-inch square of Con-Tact paper. Trace and cut a 2 1/2-inch circle from the center. Trace a printed letter on the circle, and cut that out. Peel the backing from the square and the letter and adhere both to a prewashed cloth napkin. Dip a foam or stencil brush into a shallow dish of fabric paint, then dab (don't brush) the paint onto the napkin. After the paint dries, peel off the Con-Tact paper. Set the paint according to the manufacturer's directions.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Laura Moss

    Snack Packs

    Repurpose a milk or juice carton into a reusable snack container. For an eco-friendly trifecta, fill it with treats from your supermarket's bulk bin! Start with a clean, dry half-gallon carton. Measure, mark, and cut the carton so three sides are 4 inches tall and one side is 7 inches tall. Trim the tall side into a curve. Pinch the front and back panels together while tucking in the sides of the carton, as shown. Fold the curved flap over the front of the carton. Cover the outside with colored duct tape, if you like. Add an adhesive-backed Velcro square to the inside of the flap and the front of the carton.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Laura Moss

    Make the Switch

    A cute felt critter reminds kids to hit the lights every time they're leaving the room. Download our owl template at familyfunmag.com/printables. Trace and cut out the shapes from felt. Cut a copy of the largest piece from cereal-box cardboard and adhere it to the matching felt shape with tacky glue. Use a craft knife (an adult's job) to cut out the rectangle for the switch. Assemble the felt pieces with tacky glue and let dry. With letter stamps and a black ink pad, add a message to the white felt word balloon. Attach the owl to the switch cover with glue dots. To protect your wall's surface, use removable double-sided tape to mount the word balloon.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Laura Moss

    Paper Monster

    Turn two grocery bags into a friendly monster that wants nothing more than to be fed with paper scraps. Once it's full, pack up the whole shebang and send it to the recycling center. Cut a large oval hole in a large brown paper bag. Use a glue stick to attach a row of pointy, white paper teeth inside. Add paper eyes. Open a second paper bag and slip the first bag over it, overlapping the edges an inch or two. Seal the seam with masking tape.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Laura Moss

    Scrap Saver

    Make it easy to reuse those single-sided school flyers, computer printouts, and office memos by stacking them, blank side up, in accessible bins. For each bin, assemble a sturdy cardboard shipping box. Cut off a portion of it at an angle, as shown. (Our shorter top panel is 7 1/2 inches, the bottom panel, 9 inches.) Use double-sided tape to cover the boxes with patterned paper. Use letter stamps (or a marker) to print "scrap paper" onto the top half of a piece of card stock, fold the bottom half back, and tape the label in place.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Laura Moss

    Time Out!

    This cheerful whale can help reduce the length of your family's showers by giving a friendly "ding!" when it's time to finish up. Bonus: Using the timer just might make the morning routine go more smoothly. Download the whale template at familyfunmag.com/printables. Cut one whale shape from felt and a second backing shape from cereal-box cardboard. Join the two with tacky glue. Attach the eye and adhere the whale to the timer with glue dots. On the timer dial, adhere a red felt arrow at your target shower length (time your shower, then try reducing it by a minute or two). Glue a matching arrow on the whale, pointing to zero.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Sabrina Helas

    Walk This Way

    Any kid can become upwardly mobile with a pair of classic tin-can stilts. For a sturdy platform, puncture the sides of two 29-ounce cans of tomato sauce, instead of removing their lids with a can opener. Drain and rinse the cans, then paint them as desired. For each, tape a 5-foot length of clothesline to the end of a bamboo skewer and thread it through both holes. Have your child stand on the cans, then tie each clothesline into a loop that's as tall as her hips. To stilt-walk, kids pull up on the lines to hold the cans against their feet.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Monster Mags

    Our recycled-cap faces are quite attractive -- literally, as they're magnetic. To create them, attach craft foam, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners with tacky glue to plastic caps. Add details with markers. Before attaching a magnet to the back of each cap, glue a scrap of cardboard or two inside so that the magnet will be flush with the cap's edge.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Silly Snake

    Turn a cardboard tube from the recycling bin into a colorful, flexible reptile.

    1. Paint the inside and outside of a toilet paper tube. Let it dry.
    2. Cut the tube into one long strip.
    3. Add decorative paint, then use tacky glue to attach googly eyes and a red paper tongue.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Workin' at the Car Wash

    Yeah! Get toy cars pretend-clean as they drive through this carton corridor. The simple design invites creative customization.

    1. Cut an empty half-gallon carton in half. Cut doorways in each side of the two sections.
    2. For each of the felt scrubbers, cut a 1-inch-wide, 7-inch-long strip of felt into fringe. Using glue dots or tacky glue, attach one end of the strip about 2 1/2 inches from the eraser end of a pencil. Wrap the strip around the pencil, moving down towards the eraser and adding glue as you go. Poke two holes in the carton where shown and insert the pencils.
    3. Create the curtain by laying a piece of duct tape sticky side up on a table and pressing 4-inch lengths of clothesline onto it. Adhere the tape to the inside of the other carton.
    4. Create blowers by poking two more holes and sliding lengths of flexible straw through them as shown.
    5. Make a paper sign, tape it to two skewers, and insert the skewers into a carton.

    Originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun