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Celebrate Earth Day with 30 Nature + Recycled Art Projects for Kids

by Rachel Withers
April 13, 2021

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Check out our list of nature art ideas and recycled art projects for kids that are fun to make AND more friendly for our Earth. 

Four Miró inspired magic animal masks with paint and scissors and cardboard

Updated April 2021

To celebrate Earth Day next week, our team gathered together a list of 30 nature based art activities and recycled art projects for kids.

Through art, there exists a great opportunity to teach children to be good stewards.  Children learn to reuse lids, caps and milk cartons. To turn a cardboard box into a castle, fort, or robot. To recycle cardboard tubes and create sculptures.

The possibility to assemble and make new things while recycling or upcycling the old sparks children’s imagination as they explore these non-traditional materials.

And a short walk outside with my son allows us the opportunity to breathe deep, soak in the sunshine and fresh air. To gather pinecones and sticks, some rocks and more sticks. Then to head home with our new treasures.

As we collect recyclables, save cardboard and consider how to give something old a new purpose, our kids are watching and learning this skill themselves. Below are some ideas that will hopefully inspire and put some of that recycling bin to creative use.

Happy Earth Day!

art projects for earth day pinterest

30 Nature Based + Recycled Art Projects for Kids

Recyled art projects for kids and nature based art for Earth Day

7 Recycled Art Projects Using Recycled Materials

  1. Painted Wood Block Sculptures on The Artful Parent by Danielle Falk. An easy sculpture project using wood scraps that’s fun to make for kids of all ages. 
  2. Cardboard Tube Sculptures on Art Bar. Put those cardboard tubes to good use with this fun sculpture project.
  3. 5 BEST Toddler Art Activities on The Artful Parent by Catalina Gutierrez. Paint a nature wall, create a collaborative recycled wall, reuse plastic caps and lids for sensory bins & use sticks, leaves and the like for set-ups!
  4. Milk Carton Sailboat on Art Camp. Perfect for the sailboat loving kid in your life–use a recycled milk carton to create an amazing little sailboat.
  5. A Happy Handmade Unicorn Craft on The Artful Parent. Create magical unicorns using empty cardboard tubes.
  6. Stacked Cardboard Sculptures on Art Bar by Shannon Merenstein. A wonderful sculpture project for even the youngest artist.
  7. Simple Flower Crowns for Kids from Paper Bags on The Artful Parent. Kids can feel like royalty with this awesome craft using recycled paper bags. 
Recycled art projects for kids – animal cardboard mask, cardboard easel and colorful cardboard robot puppet

14 Recycled Art Projects Using Cardboard

  1. Mixed Media Collage Portraits for Kids on The Artful Parent by Krista Simcoe. These adorable collage portraits are a great way to reuse a cardboard box and are SO cute. 
  2. How to Make Miró Inspired Magic Animal Masks For Kids on The Artful Parent by Catalina Gutierrez. Create wild and colorful animal masks with cardboard, paint, and a few other materials. 
  3. Make Cardboard Robot Puppets that Move! on The Artful Parent by Danielle Falk. These robot puppets are friendly on the Earth and SO fun to play with and create. 
  4. Monochrome Art– Beautiful Collage Paintings for Kids on The Artful Parent by Samara Caughey. Gather collage materials and cardboard to make these vibrant little collages.
  5. Colorful Cardboard Hearts on The Artful Parent by Rachel Withers. Great for Valentine’s Day, or any day really!
  6. Recycled Hanging Rainbows on Meri Cherry. Create a colorful rainbow mobile with cardboard and buttons.
  7. Drip Painting with Kids at a DIY Cardboard Easel on The Artful Parent. Explore gravity in art with drip painting that results in unique artworks every time.
Recycled cardboard stamps, picture frames and castle – recycled art projects for kids

Recycled Art Projects Using Cardboard (continued)

  1. Making Cardboard Masks with Kids on The Artful Parent by Danielle Falk. Create vibrant cardboard masks perfect for imaginative play!
  2. Cardboard Rainbow Collages on Art Bar. Use cereal boxes and old paintings to create these colorful collages.
  3. Giant Cardboard Donuts on Art Bar. Just looking at these giant cardboard donuts is sure to bring a smile to your face.
  4. Recycled Shape Art for Kids on Meri Cherry. A great way for young kids to work on learning their shapes through art.
  5. How to Make a Cardboard Castle for Hours of Pretend Play on The Artful Parent. Need we say more? 
  6. Make DIY Stamps with Cardboard on The Artful Parent by Joanna Walker. Design and create your very own stamps to print with.
  7. DIY Cardboard Frame with Kids Art as a Handmade Gift Idea on The Artful Parent. Display your kids’ art in style!
Recyled Art Projects for Kids – Nature art box, feather drawing, nature pinecone mobile, nature suncatcher, rock macrame necklace

9 Nature Art Projects Using Found Materials

  1. Make a Nature Mobile for Kids With Gathered Materials + Air Dry Clay on The Artful Parent by Abbey Donald. A beautiful craft that showcases nature’s little treasures. 
  2. Make A Magical 3D Nature Suncatcher From A Cardboard Box on The Artful Parent.  A unique and fun way to experiment with light, color, and natural materials. 
  3. Nature Collage on Cardboard on Art Camp. A stunning way to paint and display gathered nature materials.
  4. Feather Art in a Box – A Nature Drawing & Painting Activity for Kids on The Artful Parent by Samara Caughey. Kids can make their own feather art with this great opportunity to explore some of nature’s patterns, shapes, and lines. 
  5. Flower Mandala Suncatcher on The Artful Parent. A simple and beautiful project using light and color. 
  6. Macrame Rock Necklaces on The Artful Parent by Gina Vide. Showcase your kids’ favorite rock or other outdoor find with this DIY macrame necklace tutorial. 
  7. Make Your Own Nature Paintbrushes on Messy Little Monster. See what patterns and textures you can create with these DIY brushes made with materials found in nature. 
  8. Nature-Inspired Drawing Prompts on Playful Learning. A fun and simple way to slow down and appreciate nature through art. 
  9. Make your own craft supplies using things found in nature on Mother Natured. Suggestions for replacing traditional art supplies with nature-based substitutes.

More Spring Crafts for Kids

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