Innovation. It’s what sets entrepreneurs and leaders apart. They’re able to see new ways to solve problems, turning old frustrations into new solutions! One way to help our kids develop this skill is bymaking upcycled crafts.

Upcycled crafting takes stuff that would normally be useless and destined for the trash pile, instead using those items in new and fresh ways! We’ve got five of our favorite crafts listed below. Plus, you can head over to our Upcycled Crafts Pinterest board for more ideas.


We’re firm believers in process over product. In other words, the act of creation is why this type of crafting is useful. Kids need to be free to create and explore. They may come up with something that’s never been on Pinterest before! Don’t stress if they’re not following all the steps. Instead, create and learn with them, praising whatever they come up with.

Photo credit: Molly Sabourin

One way to do this type of crafting is to lay out the supplies and share the end goal as something that COULD be created. Some kids really, really need this type of structure and will get frustrated otherwise. But also emphasize that if they come up with another idea, then by all means pursue it!

Upcycled Kids Crafts: Top Five

  1. Paper Bag Bracelets – This jewelry project combines painting and fine motor skills, while also making use of leftover paper bags. Grab some metallic paint to make this project gift-worthy!
  2. Fabric Pom Poms – Our girls have loved making pom poms! This upcycling craft teaches a method that also works with yarn and other pom pom making materials. The pom poms can be used for zipper stops, backpack charms, bunting, etc. Don’t worry about buying a pom pom maker though. Just use cardboard! 
  3.  The Old Sweater Slippers – This craft is a great way for kids to work on beginning sewing skills, as well as to refine cutting skills. Plus, if you live in a place with cool weather, who doesn’t love some warm cozy socks on chilly evenings? One of the best ways to upcycle your clothes is by giving them a second life at a thrift store. But for sweathers that are stained or too worn out, this craft is the bomb!

  4. The Many Uses of Mint Tins – We love Altoids at our house! But what to do with those left over tins? Pull out some scrapbook paper, buttons, stickers and Mod Podge. Then have a blast! This is a great open ended crafting experience which can be enjoyed by ages PreK to PreTeen.
  5. The Scary Glove Monsters – It’s rare for my kids’ gloves to make it through a winter with the pairs intact. We usually end up with a pile of lone gloves. Sometimes I can convince my children to wear two non-matching gloves (“It’s cool! Really!”), but when I can’t, what to do with the gloves? This fun craft lets your kids’ imagination run wild as they create their own sock monster.

Those are some of our favs! Share upcycled crafts your kids love in the comments below.

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