Welcome to National Recycling Day! Celebrated every year, Recycling Day promotes looking after our planet, a value we share at Cosy. The future is in the hands of our little ones after all - so it’s absolutely our responsibility as parents and practitioners to promote a love and reverence for the wonderful natural world. What better way to promote taking care of Earth than reusing the resources and packaging we use in play every day? Today we’re going to share some fun activities you might like to try out with items that might otherwise be thrown away.

Paper becomes new art 


While children love going wild with crayons and paint on a big blank piece of paper, we think you’ll find they get just as much enjoyment from using simple scrap paper to create magnificent pieces of artwork. If you have paper with a blank side, pop into your art continuous provision and see what magic your little ones come up with. Celebrate reusing your paper by having a washing line art wall for little ones to pin up their creations, too!

Papier-machê globes

The old childhood classic: papier-machê! Simply add PVA glue, blue and green paint and a recyclable balloon, and you’re ready to create a wonderful image of the globe while making use of the scraps of paper leftover from food packaging, used paper and more. Encourage children to use their fine motor skills to cut up your recycled paper into small pieces, then layer and glue onto a balloon (just make sure to leave a small spot free). Once it’s dry, pop the balloon and paint over your creation with green and blue to make your very own Earth. To be even more environmentally friendly, save balloons from previous celebrations, or ask your little ones to bring some in from parties that would otherwise have been binned.

Cardboard packaging becomes modeling and role play

Junk modeling

A true go-to in the early years - and for good reason! With the addition of masking tape, your little ones can go wild creating all sorts of wonderful crafts and creative pieces with a variety of different sized cardboard boxes. Everything from food boxes and egg cartons to the boxes of old toys, your cohort are sure to create things you couldn’t have imagined. Add crayons, pens, tape and scissors and see how children adapt pieces to create magical new things. You might like to add challenge cards to encourage particular constructions, or leave it up to the little ones and see what they create! 

Deconstructed role play 

Another great way to make use of cardboard boxes (especially larger ones) is to add them to your deconstructed role play provision. Combine these with tubes, if you have them, and see what scenarios children come up with. Smaller boxes might become tills, telephones and trumpets. Could tubes and boxes become a pirate ship? With adult supervision try adding scissors and tape and see how children can adapt different boxes for further purposes, too. Perhaps cut out a window of a large box to make a ticket desk, or create a shop out of old furniture boxes by sticking together several pieces. The list really does go on! 

Tins and pie lids become mud kitchen treasure

Providing all tins and metal packaging are free from sharp edges, these make absolutely  brilliant resources for mud kitchen play. Children can make use of these for scooping and pouring, as well as for making their very own mud pies! Give them a good clean before putting them out in provision, then see how your muddy chefs make use of them!


We hope our ideas will spur you on to make maximum use out of the resources the Earth gives us. Make sure to tag us on social media if you do have a go. Happy Recycling Day, everyone!

Take a look at some other National Recycling Day Activities activities over on our Instagram #cosyclubideas

We hope that you have got lots of ideas to take away from our National Recycling Day post. 

Don’t forget to share your recycling activities with us on our social channels!

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