Create and Play with Items From Your Recycle Bin

 create box

One of the easiest ways to promote creativity in your home or classroom is to set up a ‘create box’!

We have a black crate for our create box easily accessible in our play room. Before I throw something away or put something in our recycle bin, I always stop and decide if it would be something the kids could use for creating. If so, I drop it in the create box instead of getting rid of it.  

Over time our create box is usually full of leftovers from the kitchen or packaging like toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, plastic containers and string. When the kids are looking for something to do, I frequently find them getting materials from the create box and creating!

Our create box

Our create box

Today I did something a little bit different. As a part of the 100 Days of Play Blog Hop, I decided to set some time aside and use the create box with the kids myself! 

I placed a large sheet on the ground. (I find it sometimes helps keep materials contained when there’s a designated area to work.) I spread out all the materials from our create box and paper scrap box onto the sheet, as well as some additional supplies like tape, scissors, glue and crayons.


Materials out and ready for creating!

Materials out and ready for creating!

Busily working

Busily working

I invited Lucy and her friend to join me, and we just started making things! I had so much fun talking with the kids as we shared ideas. We made necklaces, instruments, toy boats and houses for imaginative play. I helped the girls attach items that were difficult to get to stay the way they wanted, while they helped me brainstorm ideas for materials I was working with. 

Lucy playing with her boat

Lucy playing with her boat

A little house for her stuffed animals

A little house for her stuffed animals

Lucy's friend made a dinosaur play area complete with little house and see saw!

Lucy’s friend made a dinosaur play area complete with little house and see saw!

I was only planning on doing this for about 30 minutes, but we sat and did this for at least an hour. Our create box is actually almost empty, and in its place are lots of new creations to play with. But the best part was spending quality time connecting with the kids! 

As Earth Day approaches, why not take the opportunity to set up your own create box and use it throughout the year. You can help teach your kids about reducing trash and reusing items while promoting creativity as well!

Setting up your own create box is easy~ just find an old box or container, set it somewhere in your home where it’s accessible, and begin filling it with leftover items. You’ll be amazed at what your child comes up with! 

This post is being shared as part of the Mommy Playdate 100 Days of Play hosted by Sun Scholars and Life at the Zoo. 100 bloggers from around the world are taking part in the challenge of connecting with our kids through play and are sharing our ideas with you from April 1st thru July 9th. We hope you find some ideas that inspire you to play and connect with your kids!


100 Days of Play Blog Hop
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New ideas shared each day from 4/1 – 7/9.  
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100 Days of Play

100 Days of Play is brought to you by these wonderful bloggers
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  1. Chelsey, what a super idea for our 100 Days of Play! I remember kids constantly going through the recycle buckets and creating things in the garage with items from them… they spent hours doing this. Why I never thought to just have a designated “This stuff is ok for you to use” box, I am not asking myself! haha… Thanks for being a part of the 100 Days of Play! So happy to have you! Your post has officially been shared everywhere I am! 😉

  2. What a great idea to have all these things easily accessible!

  3. When my oldest was a toddler we had a “Special Fun Craft Box.” I was JUST thinking that I need to do the same with my younger ones- and boom, here’s your post to motivate me! All of the kid creations came out super cute… It’s amazing what they can come up with using just a few simple materials! 🙂

  4. So cool! I have a tub full of things I’m saving for my son to make stuff with, but it’s way up high on top of a shelf…doh! Need to get our remodel done so I have somewhere to put it down at kid level.

  5. cute!! Love the boat and the see-saw!!

    Thanks for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  6. Love using things from the recycle box! That little house for the animals is just too cute!!!

  7. Something we always love to do!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  8. This is wonderful. I love how simple and easy it can be to come up with crafts…and we literally have a similar idea, written about and waiting in our drafts! We are featuring your post on Share It Saturday today…as part of our round-up of tips to keeping a life with kids simple and easy. Stop by and check it out if you like,

    We truly hope to see you again at Share It Saturday!
    Colleen at Sugar Aunts

  9. This is such a great idea! I actually have an “activity bag” with recycled items that I take with me everyday to my job as a nanny! I dump out the contents onto the floor and let the kids go to town! Your idea of using a blanket is awesome! I will definitely try that because there ARE days when their kitchen looks like an art explosion because of my “Creation Time”s!

  10. I love this idea! There are so many possibilities with something like this. Great creations!

    • Thank you, Stacy. I can’t even keep up with the Create Box lately~ the second something is put in it, it’s pulled out almost immediately and used for some project by the kids!


  1. […] box? A lot if you use your imagination! Great lesson for kids (and adults)! It reminds me of our Create Box system we have at […]

  2. […] house we have a box where we put paper scraps from leftover projects, as well as a larger “create box” of materials (like toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, old cereal boxes […]

  3. […] free moment, you will most likely find them searching through the art supplies or digging into the create box looking for just the right materials for their creations. Watching their joy while making […]

  4. […] searching through our create box at home, we came across the perfect materials to make a little pumpkin. It turned out so cute […]

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