With school out for the summer, crafts for kids are a great way to keep them occupied and stave off boredom when they’re not playing outside. With these fun summer-themed crafts made from recycled materials, you’ll spark some creativity in your children, while also teaching them to respect the environment and minimize waste.

Pinwheel Wreath

This colorful wreath is a great addition to your summer décor, and it’s so versatile. The pinwheels are made from scrap paper, so the wreath can be themed however you like, and you also have the option of using ready-made pinwheels to save time.



Instructions credit: Things I Can't Say

Water-Bottle Wind Spirals

Plastic bottles are a huge source of chemical pollution. Make better use of your plastic bottles by creating a beautiful garden decoration with the kids with these colorful wind spirals. All you need are plastic bottles, permanent markers and scissors.



Instructions credit: CBC

Pool Noodle Sailboat

These pool noodle sailboats can be made with supplies you have on hand, plus they’re a cheap alternative to expensive pool toys and can be enjoyed by kids of all ages.



Instructions credit: Penny Pinchin' Mom

Newspaper Kite

Kites are a fun summer pastime, and though they’re not necessarily expensive, this is a good craft to teach children to recycle and reuse. These are inexpensive and easy to make as is, but feel free to add some paint, stickers or other embellishments to personalize it. 



Instructions credit: Living Well Spending Less

Mermaid Eggs

DIY fantasy mermaid eggs are an excellent way to make use of all the keepsakes from a beach trip, such as stones and seashells, and create a custom souvenir. The eggs themselves are made of aluminum foil and air-dry clay, but the embellishments can be anything from paint to beach glass to rhinestones.



Instructions credit: Adventure-in-a-Box

Sponge Water Bombs

These DIY sponge water bombs are more economical and eco-friendly than water balloons, plus they’re much easier than filling up water balloons for a backyard water battle. Some colorful sponges, twine and scissors are all you need for this quick and easy craft.



Instructions credit: The Homespun Hydrangea

DIY Bunk Bed Playhouse

If you have an old bunk bed lying around, or you come across one at a thrift shop, this is one of the simplest ways to get more use out of it. Turn the bunk bed into a sandbox/treehouse, or have the kids decorate it in a pirate ship or castle theme to encourage outdoor play and get their imaginations going.



Instructions credit: Vintage Annie

Upcycled Tire Seesaw

The metal seesaws sold in stores are heavy and difficult to move around, which makes it difficult to add one to your backyard. However, this seesaw made from an upcycled tire is smaller and lighter, so it’s easier to move around or store, and it can be customized however you want.



Instructions credit: DIY Projects

Tire Climbing Tower

A climbing tower is a great way for your kids to develop strength and coordination, as well as to get some quality outdoor time. Plus, it’s easy to make and helps you recycle your old tires. Just be sure to secure the posts into the ground and check that your tower is sturdy enough for climbing.



Instructions credit: Blessings Overflowing

Fairy Lanterns

These fairy lanterns are a fun, whimsical summer craft for kids, not to mention they make beautiful lighting additions for your backyard or patio. Make this craft “green” by substituting conventional spray paint for an eco-friendly variety, and have some fun with different cut-out designs and colors to make the lanterns your own.



Instructions credit: Adventure-in-a-Box

Pool Noodle Coral Reef

This is a fun and simple summer-themed craft using old pool noodles and wire hangers. The coral reef could easily be used for ocean-themed parties or a playset as well, and with how inexpensive pool noodles are, it could be as large and intricate as you want.



Instructions credit: Crafty Morning

Pool Noodle Campfire

Summer is primetime for camping, so why not have a backyard campfire with the kids, minus the flames? All you need for this is a few pool noodles, some eco-friendly paint, felt and a flashlight to simulate the look of a real fire once the sun goes down.

Don’t forget to check out these felt food patterns to make some felt campfire snacks!



Instructions: Homemade Mimi

Pool Noodle Race Track

Take the racing fun outside with this pool noodle race track. This is a quick, simple craft to make with only a few household items, like pool noodles and toothpicks, to create an exciting outdoor racetrack for your child’s toy cars.



Instruction credit: Hot Wheels

Ocean in an Egg Carton

This ocean playset is great for helping kids learn about sea creatures and display their treasures from a beach trip. All you need for this craft is a few egg cartons, glue, scissors, tissue paper and foam or felt. The embellishments, like the seashells and stones, are all up to your imagination.



Instructions credit: The Imagination Tree

Thumbprint Flower Pots

Thumbprint art is a great way to create darling designs on terracotta pots for your garden or backyard, since thumbs can easily be made into ladybugs, butterflies and other cute insects, as well as flowers and leaves. You probably already have some flower pots lying around, but use your imagination to see what other containers would also work well for this craft.



Instructions credit: Mom Always Finds Out

The long days, warm weather and days off from school give you many opportunities to take your crafting outdoors with the kids and teach them about nature and environment. Let these summer crafts for kids inspire you to use your regular household items and create something fun and interesting. Don’t forget to check out our array of eco-friendly craft supplies for all your summer crafting!

Trying out one of these fun summer crafts for kids? We’d love to see it! Tag us on Instagram @ecofriendlycrafting.


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