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20 Toys To Make From Trash

Toys to make from Trash

Big Spring Environmental is a waste management and recycling company in Huntsville, AL.  We gathered the below ideas to help others create something from trash instead of just throwing it out.  These ideas are not our own and the ideas and images came from the links below.

1. Tin Can Telephone

telephone made with common recycling item tin can

Teach your kids a science lesson and give them a new toy to play with. The tin can telephone is made by puncturing a small hole in the end of an already opened tin can (smooth-edge can opener preferred), securing a string and connecting another tin can. It will provide hours of entertainment and learning for your young ones. Next activity is to teach them how wireless devices work (good luck)!

2. Balloon Carton Catch

water balloon carton catch for kids

Water balloon carton catch is a wet and wacky game to help kids cool off on sweltering summer days. Only two players are needed! Once you have the bottoms of the milk jugs cut out – instructions here - decorate them by painting them and attaching ribbon. See how high and far you can toss water balloons to each other without breaking them. Remember to pick up the popped balloon pieces when you’re done :)

3. Paper Towel Tube Wall Decor

wall art made of paper towels

Isn’t it amazing what you can do with paper towel or toilet paper tubes? Simply cut some spent paper towel tubes into 1″ pieces, flatten them and glue them together for a masterpiece your kids will love! See details here. Some additional suggestions for you to consider are pasting a picture in the center, hanging several of them as snowflakes or using it as a countdown for special holidays (kids would love tearing it apart piece by piece). After it’s all put together, paint them up!

4. Tool Training With Tees

Training Your Carpenter With Tees

Styrofoam can take up quite a lot of space in your garbage. Instead of throwing it away, teach little Mr/Mrs Fixit how to use a hammer and nails safely with styrofoam and golf tees. This hammering game is a great activity to help strengthen hand-eye coordination! When they’re all done with it, it will most likely be broken down and will fit more easily in your trash! Can’t beat that.

5. Milk Jug Igloo

Igloo made of empty milk jug cartons

This igloo is made entirely of empty milk jugs! It would obviously take a while to collect this many, but asking friends and neighbors to save their cartons would help speed up the process. Moreover, when the time comes to tear it down, look at all of the recyclable goodness you will have accumulated! Start saving them today!

6. Mini-Marshmallow Poppers

toy made of plastic cups for kids

It’s pretty obvious how much kids love spongy sweets, so you can imagine how much they’ll enjoy this game. Cut the bottoms out of these paper cuts and slip balloons over the base to create these springy mallow launchers. You can have them shoot them into a bowl, into each others’ mouths or just to see how far they can go.

7. Cardboard Biplane

Airplane made of empty toilet paper roll

With a little creativity, you can do extraordinary things with some of the most common household items.  This model airplane is made with a small Dixie cup, an empty, a spent toilet paper roll, a cereal box and masking tape. You can’t get much more ordinary than that!

8. Milk Jug Pom Pom Toss

milk jug game for kids

For this classic game, all you need is a yarn pom-pom or wiffle ball and an empty milk jug, then just add string. Swing the object into the milk jug and try to catch it. You can decorate it for added fun! Visit here for detailed instructions on how to make this fun little game. It’s cheap and it makes great use of one of the most commonly thrown away objects in modern households.

9. Paper Mache Light-Up Globes

light up globes made of old newspapers
Light up globes made with newspaper

There are many good uses for old newspapers around the house, but this one takes the cake. With the help of some balloons, paste, newspapers and lighting, you can build these light-up globes. They’re awesome. The next time you’re about to throw away tissue paper or newspaper, give this activity a try! Go here for a detailed how-to.

10. Fizzy Balloons

fizzy balloons with empty plastic bottle

Put a little science into your day with this fun activity using an empty plastic bottle! Add some vinegar to the bottle and baking soda to the balloon. When you attach the balloon to the top of the bottle, the baking soda will fall into the bottle creating a chemical reaction which will then inflate the balloon with gas. Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous and the instructions are easy.

11. 2 Liter Sprinkler

sprinkler made of 2 liter bottle for kids

Kids are easily entertained, well most of the time. One of the many activities or toys you can make for your kids involving plastic bottles is this 2 Liter sprinkler! Make one this summer for kids to cool off for cheap. All you have to do is save that 2 Liter soda bottle, have your kid poke some holes and hook up a hose!

12. Easy-Catching Carton

game for kids using milk jug carton

This is a great way to teach kids how to catch and develop their hand-eye coordination. It all comes down to an empty milk jug. Save yours today and make one!

13. Toilet Paper Roll Kaleidoscopes

kaleidoscope for kids using toilet paper roll

Do something fun and creative this 4th of July by turning ordinary trash into treasure! These homemade kaleidoscopes were made with spent toilet paper rolls. They’re a lot of fun to make and they work great. The instructions are laid out really clearly here.

14. Snake Bubbles Blower

plastic bottle game for kids

What did you do with your last Gatorade? This creative person turned theirs into a bubble blower by using an empty plastic bottle, a wash cloth, a rubber band, some dish soap and water. Those are all items you probably already have in your house! Kids will love watching the snake bubbles form, and you’ll get a kick out of watching them do it!

15. Soda Bottle Terrarium

thematic terrarium using plastic bottle

Take your recycling to the next level by creating an actual soda bottle terrarium! It’s a fun, economical way to have plans in a home, classroom or office. Detailed instructions can be found here.

16. Shoebox Guitar

shoebox guitar for kids

Custom build a toy shoebox guitar using a shoebox, a paper towel tube, rubber bands and popsickle sticks. What do these have in common? They’re all ordinary household items that get thrown away all the time.

17. Rice-Crispies Maracas

maracas homemade with toilet paper rolls

Add some maracas to the homemade instruments in your home for a fun crisp sound. You can make them with empty toilet paper rolls and filling them with Rice Crispies.

18. Pringles Can Carriers

carrying case for kids made of pringles can

This is a great design for kids. It’s cheap, simple and it works. Their small hands reach easily to the bottom of the Pringles can allowing them to retrieve their small toys and carrying items.

19. Milk Jug Storm Trooper Helmet

how to make a milk jug storm trooper helmet
storm trooper helmet for kids

Hands down, this is the coolest thing you can create with empty milk jugs (this and the igloo). Start saving recyclable items for fun dress-up ideas for parties this summer including Halloween! Click here for the milk jug storm trooper helmet instructions. It requires two empty milk jugs.

20. Bottle Bowling

Bowling with soda pop bottles

Bring the bowling alley by using empty bottles as bowling pins! We all know how many plastic bottles are in our landfills. Ideas such as this will help you save empty bottles by making fun games for kids and then recycling them later when the. Paint them as shown here and get ready to have fun!

BONUS: Tin Can Robot Kit

tin can robot assembly kit

If you want to really impress someone with your love for recycling, you can order this tin can assembly kit for your favorite soda can! The kit turns your recyclable can into a silly robot that can move. It takes some time to piece together, but it’s great fun!

For even more fun art projects, checkout the resources and other links at The Imagination Factory.

14 Responses to 20 Toys To Make From Trash

  1. tracy September 20, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    What do u stick milk jug igloo together w?

    • Foster September 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Using a hot glue gun will work best.

  2. Eryn@ Creative Parents September 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Some great ideas. I love the milk jug igloo. My son will love that!

    • Foster October 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      Glad you like them; you’ll have to send us a picture of your igloo!

  3. Bethany April 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Love these ideas! If you’re interested, I have two more ideas on my blog:

    • Foster June 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, Bethany!

  4. pagekal May 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    I love your ideas!!! I am having a “junk box war” it is a car what could i use to make wheels on it other than bottle caps?

    • Foster June 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      Thanks! Hmmm…maybe empty sewing thread spools or bobbins?

  5. sue August 20, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    great website, but does anyone have any ideas for a 3D forest animal out of recycled household stuff that my 6 year old and myself have to make by Friday for school !!

  6. latha September 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    really wonderful ideas.

    • Foster October 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      Thanks; glad you liked them!

  7. Erin at IOGoods February 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    Totally awesome ideas! Thanks!

  8. Splashyideas February 20, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Wow very good ideas. Felt like going back to childhood.

  9. Unique May 1, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    wonderful ideas liked it……….

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