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Recycle and Make Fun Holiday Crafts in the Preschool Classroom

written by: Sonal Panse • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 9/11/2012

Have fun with recyclable holiday crafts for preschool children. These projects are simple and enjoyable, and preschoolers can be creative while making them. It is possible to make interesting dolls, masks, pen-holders and ornaments with recycled materials.

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    Getting Ready for the Projects

    Recyclable holiday crafts for preschool children are a great way of learning how to be creative with any available materials, and also instructive in understanding how recycling can reduce waste and help protect the environment.


    • Yarn
    • White glue
    • Safety scissors
    • Waste newspapers
    • Plastic bottles
    • Empty tin cans
    • Ribbons
    • String
    • Large sequins or faux jewels
    • Colors – water-colors, gouache, acrylic
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    Notes to the Teacher

    • Ask parents if they will be willing to donate materials that the preschoolers can recycle and use to make ornaments. You can organize a 'Donation Day' to collect all the necessary materials.
    • Decide on making one or two things at the start, a doll or a hanging ornament, for example, and then get more creative.
    • Make sure all materials are safe and non-toxic, and supervise the children at all times.
    • Talk about how and why recycling is a good thing. It saves money, but, more importantly, it helps protect the environment, since we throw away less waste and less waste means less pollution.
    • Spread out the collected materials and let the preschoolers examine them.
    • Talk about what could be made from the materials. Have a "think" session and encourage the preschoolers to come up with some ideas of their own. Make a list of possible ideas.
    • Divide the children into groups of four to make the holiday crafts.
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    Suggested Crafts

    Make a Doll

    Tear or cut a newspaper into small pieces and soak in hot water overnight. The following day, drain away the water and process the soggy pieces in a mixer. You can do this in a regular food processor. Put the resulting paper pulp to one side and use portions as needed. Add some water diluted white glue to the paper pulp and stick and mold it around a plastic bottle. Add layer after layer. Show the children how to shape the pulp to form a doll. Once the pulp has been shaped as desired, leave it to dry for a couple of days. Then you can have the children paint on the face, hair and costume; it will help to paint on one base color and then paint the details on that. You can also stick on lengths of yarn as hair. Add a ribbon to the hair or the costume if you like.

    Make a Mask

    Cut a newspaper in an oval in an approximate size of a child's face. Cut holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. Now layer paper pulp on this template. It's best to let each layer dry before adding the next. Add three or four layers until the mask is nice and firm. Make holes at the sides to attach a string. Paint the mask.

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    Make a Pen-holder

    Take the empty tin can and adhere strips of paper in layers on the outside and the inside. Let dry and then let the children paint the can as desired. You can stick on yarn or ribbons for decorations.

    Make Ornaments

    Cut out lengths of string and fashion paper pulp into balls at the ends of each string length. You can also create different shapes, not just balls. Let dry. Paint the shapes in different colors and glue on some sequins or faux jewels. Paint the attached string too. You now have some nice hanging ornaments. Hang them up with some bells and you have wind chimes.

    It's fun and easy to make recyclable holiday crafts for preschool children, and the objects can make for wonderful, creative gifts. You can also display them in the classroom and have the children speak up about how his or her particular creation was made. Also have the children tell you what they understand about recycling and the benefits of recycling.