9 fun recycling garden projects for kids

Adult gardening gloves and children

Keep the kids busy with these free crafty gardening ideas using recycled materials.

1. Make an insect hotel

Cut the lid off an empty plastic bottle. Fill the bottom with stones and soil, then add layers of leaves twigs, rolled-up newspaper and pine cones. Place in a damp, shady spot in the garden and return each day to see which insects have made it into their humble home. Here's a handy downloadable insect hotel how-to guide to show an alternative way to create it.

Plastic bottle filled with soil, leaves, twigs, rolled-up paper and pine cones.

2. Juice carton bird feeder

Upcycle an empty cardboard juice carton into a cute bird house by cutting out a doorway, and painting and decorating it. Add seeds and a twig then hang from a tree. Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide.

3. Egg box critters

Cut the base of an egg box in half so you’re left with the humps, then paint them black. Punch holes through either side of each of the humps and thread through black pipe cleaners to make legs. Glue on some googly eyes and voilà. Download our handy how-to guide here. Make ladybirds and centipedes, too.


egg box ants hedgehog home

4. Make a hedgehog home

Cut an archway into a small plastic box, turn upside down and fill with strips of newspaper and leaves. Place in a shaded spot on the ground, camouflage with leaves and grass, then play the waiting game until Mr Hedgehog finds his home. Download our hedgehog home how-to guide here.

5. Mosaic art

Snap old CDs into small pieces and glue, shiny-side-up, onto old plates, tiles or frames to make decorative ornaments for the garden.

Flowers in mosaic plant pots | Recycling garden projects for kids | Tesco Living bubble snake

6. Bubble snake maker

Cut a plastic bottle in half. Take the top half and cover the end with an old sock, secured with an elastic band. Dip the clothed bottom in a bowl filled with a mix of washing-up liquid and water, take a deep breath and blow into the bottle to make long bubbly snakes.

7. Plastic bag kite

Form a cross using long sticks, cutting the horizontal stick so it’s slightly shorter than the vertical, and tie together with string. Cut a diamond shape from a plastic bag or bin liner and glue to the four stick edges, then attach a length of string to the centre of the cross. Tie a ribbon to the bottom of the diamond to give it some balance and your kite’s ready to go up, up and away. Download our plastic bag kite how-to guide here.

8. Create mini planters

Cut a plastic bottle in half, and paint a face on it. Pierce a few holes in the base, fill with a few stones then top with soil. Add a plant and let the kids be in charge of it.

Watch our recycled bottle cat planter tutorial

9. Create a maze from cardboard boxes

Have lots of empty cardboard boxes? Make a garden labyrinth. Tape boxes together by the corners so you have a grid, then cut out archways so little adventurers can crawl through the grid. Tip: map out the maze route on paper first so you know where to cut, and make it extra exciting by hiding treats throughout.

More making & doing ideas