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With so much waste in the world around us, teaching children about the value of recycling or upcycling is important. Most of what we throw away on a daily basis is either recyclable or can be used for upcycling projects – from tin cans and plastic bottles, to bags, magazines and cereal boxes.

Be eco-friendly, teach children to recycle or upcycle. Recycling is good for the planet as it keeps rubbish out of our landfills. And it can be a good way to not only inspire an entrepreneurial spirit in our children, but also  Upcycling projects turn some of that rubbish into something useful, and children could even make some pocket money, selling their upcycled goodies at a school or community market.

Find out more about recycling here.

Here are some simple and fun upcycling projects children can undertake.

Money banks

Turn old tins into money tins by wrapping string around the outside or by painting them. Use plastic tin lids and cut a slot into the top before placing on the tin.

Paint plastic bottles with a mixture of pink paint and craft glue to make a piggy bank. Add stickers for eyes, pink felt ears and a twirly pink pipe cleaner for a tail. Cut a cardboard tube into four rounds, paint them pink and stick them on the base as legs. Cut a money slot in the top.

Desk accessories

Cardboard tubes or tins can be painted, decorated and stuck onto a wooden board or old plastic plate. This can be used to store stationary or kitchen utensils for mom, or to hold odds and ends in the workshop for dad.

Turn clean pizza boxes into a filing system. Cut off one side of each box, then stack and stick them one on top of each other.

Household helpers

Make colourful magazine coasters by cutting out strips of magazine paper. Cover one side of a strip with glue and roll tightly. When you get to the end, continue with a new piece until you reach the desired size. Once you have finished your set of coasters, spray them with a silicone or lacquer spray to help seal them.

If you have a sock monster in your house, and a whole bunch of single socks, make a snake doorstop. Cut the toes and heels off (keeping just the toes on two socks), giving you a whole lot of sock tubes. Sew these end-to-end to give you one long tube, ending with one of the socks with a toe. Stuff this with beans, sand or something that adds weight. Sew on the last sock with a toe. Add felt eyes and a tongue.

Something special

Paint or spray paint old picture frames or trays with blackboard paint to transform them into ornamental, functional wall hangings.

Turn cereal boxes into gift bags. Turn the open flaps inwards and stick them down. Punch two holes in each of two of the sides. Use ribbon or twine to make handles.

For the garden

Turn plastic bottles into bird feeders. Paint or decorate them, or simply remove any labels. Cut two small holes opposite one another and push a straight stick through to create a perch. Just above these, cut two larger holes. Fill the bottle to just below these holes with birdseed.

Convert tins into herb pots. You can paint or decorate them – try painting on herb names. Make a hole in the base of each, then fill with potting soil. Plant herbs like basil, thyme or chives in each and place on a drip tray or in a window box.

Take a look at these other crafty creations that can be made using recyclable goods.

Tamlyn Vincent