Recycle City

How to make a city out of the contents of your recycle bin

What do you need?
  • 2 pint cardboard milk or similar format cartons. Make sure these are properly washed out first
  • A4 coloured paper
  • PVA glue
  • Old magazines with photos of houses in
  • Scissors
  • Red or brown card, or felt
  • Empty cereal box (optional)

As with any activity, they will need an adult to help them.

  • How many can do this?
  • Will suit what age?
  • How long does the fun last?

This activity encourages children to see the potential in everyday throw-away items. Show them how to be creatively inspired by the contents of your recycle bin.

Step 1
Step 1

Get started by making your houses. Take the milk cartons and show your child how to cover them with a couple of sheets of A4 coloured paper, using glue and scissors.

Step 2
Step 2

Next get hold of some old magazines that feature lots of pictures of houses (Estate Agent flyers and magazines are great for this) and cut out pictures of the doors, windows, trees, plants, plant pots and even people. Stick these onto your covered carton to create the features of your house.

Step 3
Step 3

Finally, give your house a roof by sticking some firmer card on the top, reinventing the pouring spout as a chimney.

Step 4

To make a block of flats or a factory you can use a cereal packet instead by following the same steps as described above.

Step 5
Step 5

Get the kids to add extra buildings and features using other recycle box items. Egg boxes are great cut up and used as plant pots or rubbish bins, and screwed up bits of tin foil can make railings. And why not use strips of black and white paper to make a zebra crossing? Encourage the kids to position their creations somewhere ready to play. Bring in some toy characters from their toy boxes and introduce them to their new buzzing city.