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Celebrate the Planet with These Upcycled Earth Day Crafts

Nature is beautiful and resilient—but it needs our help. Even little changes, like using less water when brushing our teeth and composting food scraps, help the planet stay healthy.  

Every year on April 22, people around the world celebrate the modern environmental movement working to protect Earth. This special holiday is known as Earth Day. 

An estimated 1 billion people celebrate Earth Day each year. Some plant trees or clean up their local community, while others spend the day brainstorming ways their family can be more eco-conscious. The holiday is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to environmentalism. Gather recycled craft supplies and sit everyone down for these Earth Day projects for kids and a chat about the importance of safeguarding nature.

Give Back to Planet Earth, One Craft at a Time

Earth is home to billions of humans, and vastly more animals, plants, and other organisms. And, as far as we know, it’s the only place anything can live! The global ecosystem needs clean air, water, and soil to survive, so everyone must do their part to ensure our planet stays healthy. 

This year, you can encourage your children to celebrate Earth Day by discussing ways to reduce waste and participating in Earth Day activities like a cleanup at school or gardening at a local park. They can even celebrate at home by turning unwanted items into fun Earth Day crafts.

The Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The three Rs of waste management are a great introduction to sustainable living and are super easy for kids to understand. They stand for three words: reduce, reuse, and recycle. But what exactly do these words mean? 

“Reduce” means to make a smaller amount of something. In this case, that something is pollution. There are several ways that children can help reduce a household’s footprint, including:

  • Drinking from reusable water bottles instead of single-use plastic ones
  • Walking or biking to nearby places rather than riding in the car
  • Turning off the lights in empty rooms to reduce electricity use

“Reuse” means to find a new purpose for an item rather than throwing it away. This prevents new waste from entering landfills and limits the pollution associated with making new materials. Your family can practice reusing in the following ways:

  • Hosting a garage sale instead of throwing away things you no longer need
  • Safely repairing items such as clothing, toys, and appliances to make them last longer
  • Buying gently used items

Finally, “recycle” means changing discarded materials into something new. Many people practice this “R” every day. In fact, about 32 percent of people in the U.S. regularly recycle. Your kids can recycle at home by: 

  • Sorting recyclables, like newspapers, egg cartons, and cardboard packages, into their designated bins
  • Turning food waste into compost to enrich your plants
  • Making crafts with recycled materials

Three Easy Crafts to Make on Earth Day

These DIY Earth Day crafts will inspire your kids to get creative while practicing ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The projects use materials you likely already have around your house and are a fun way to turn something old into something new.

A pair of hands holding a planet made using clay

Planet Earth Recycled CD Craft

If you have compact discs lying around that you don’t use anymore, give them new life with this cute and easy Earth Day craft. The miniature planets make for fun wall art and are a hands-on way to teach kids about Earth’s geography.

Children can perform each step of this activity themselves, but younger kids may need assistance from an adult.


  • Blue and green modeling clay
  • Recycled CDs (one per child)
  • World map
  • Plastic child-safe knives (optional)


  1. Lay a CD on a flat work surface. Cover the CD with blue modeling clay (approximately 0.5 inches or 2 centimeters thick).
  2. Flatten green modeling clay until it’s approximately 0.5 inches (2 centimeters) thick. Using the map as a reference, cut out shapes that resemble Earth’s continents with a child-safe knife or form them with your hands.
  3. Place the continents on the CD to create a map of the globe.  
  4. Allow the clay to air dry.

Bottlecap Tic-Tac-Toe

Did you know that 86 percent of plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. end up in landfills or as litter? While we can reduce that waste by recycling our plastics (and switching to reusable bottles), the plastic used to make water bottle caps isn’t always recyclable—it depends on the sorting equipment at your local facility. 

So, what should you do with all those bottle caps? We suggest a simple Earth Day craft that turns old caps into a travel tic-tac-toe game. Children can perform each step of this activity themselves, but younger kids may need assistance from an adult.


  • 10 bottle caps
  • Black markers
  • Small cloth sack (ideally with a zipper or drawstring closure)
  • Ruler


  1. Draw an “X” on 5 bottle caps with a marker. Draw an “O” on the other 5, or leave them blank.
  2. Use the ruler and marker to create a grid on one side of the cloth sack. Draw 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines to create 9 squares in a shape roughly resembling a hashtag or pound sign (#). 
  3. Place all 10 bottle caps into the sack and close it. Now you have a perfect on-the-go game for road trips, restaurants, and any other time you need some extra entertainment.
Seedlings sprouting out of an egg carton planter

Egg Carton Planters

Planting trees or flowers is a favorite Earth Day activity for kids of all ages. But what can you do if you don’t have space to grow plants outside? This fun craft can make a tiny garden anywhere, including indoors by a window.  

Children can perform each step of this activity themselves, but younger kids may need assistance from an adult.


  • Cardboard egg carton
  • Child-safe scissors
  • Garden soil 
  • Seeds for flowers or herbs 
  • Craft sticks
  • Black markers


  1. Use child-safe scissors to separate the bottom of an egg carton from its lid. Recycle the lid and set the bottom on the work surface.
  2. Fill the compartments of the egg carton with soil. Make sure to pack each all the way up to the top.
  3. Make a finger-sized hole in the soil of each compartment about 0.5 inches (2 centimeters) deep. Drop a seed into each hole and cover it with soil.
  4. If using multiple types of seeds, label each compartment. Write the name of each plant on a craft stick and push the craft sticks into the soil at the edge of each compartment.
  5. Place the carton on a window sill or in a sunny spot outside. Water the seeds every other day (or when the soil appears dry). Add just enough water to dampen the soil, making sure not to drench it.
A young girl draws Earth with sidewalk chalk outside

Enjoy More Crafts with Little Passports

Whether the family makes flowers from tissue paper, crafts with paper plates, or transforms used paper into seed globes, your kids can have loads of fun while keeping household materials out of the landfill.

If your kids love to create and blast through these projects, check out our Craft Discovery subscription box. Each month, they’ll receive a fun art activity designed for aspiring artists ages 5–8. Crafts cover topics including science, geography, and culture, so your children will learn about the world around them while they construct their masterpieces.