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My daughter’s favorite part of kindergarten was making “Junk”. Her teacher asked us to regularly contribute our recycling to her junk box. Every day, the children spent time with the junk, making anything they could dream up.

We do this at home now, too.

eco friendly crafts, crafts for kids, how to encourage creativity

It’s the best (eco-friendly) way to encourage creativity. You’re providing open-ended play for children to create what they want instead of giving step-by-step directions.

Without giving directions for each step, kids must problem solve and think for themselves. It’s also great for social skills to have your children work together to make something. It fosters their ability to work cooperatively.

Set-Up Your Own Junk Creations Area

  1. Get a large container for your recycled “junk”. We use a wooden crate.
  2. Put the junk in an accessible place – near a table or floor area where the kids can work.
  3. Keep other supplies nearby such as glue, tape, scissors, hole punch, markers, and stickers.
  4. Let kids go to the junk area to create.
  5. Sometimes give them prompts of what to make – it will challenge them to push their thinking a bit farther.

Give a Junk Prompt

how to encourage creativity, crafts for kids, eco friendly crafts

Giving kids a prompt for their junk creation helps them to be more creative in their problem solving. Don’t tell them HOW to build something, only give a suggestion for the end result. This is still open-ended because there is no right way to do it. You could suggest anything, but here are some of our favorites:








homes (for toys, pets, or outside creatures)

decorations (for your room)





tall buildings


Junk to Save

Not all junk is created equal, but most of your recycling can be reused creatively. Think about saving these things:

cardboard boxes

rubber bands

food containers

spice jars

bubble wrap

fabric scraps



plastic bottles

plastic cutlery

cloths pins

wine corks

old cards

wrapping paper



A junk creation station will provide brain-boosting creative play experiences for your children. And, it’s eco-friendly, too.