kids crafts: create a recycled village!

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i’m so glad people like jen are around to think up and execute such fun and creative crafts with their littles ones for me to copy! i would have never thought of something like this on my own. it looks like such fun to create together but also a genius idea of a homemade gift for one little friend to give to another. thanks for sharing, jen!
jen says, “Hey Everyone! I love doing quick and easy projects with my little ones, but sometimes I like to mix it up a bit and introduce a project that takes a few days to finish. I like the idea of teaching them that persistency and working towards a goal can be fun. This recycled village is a great project to break up over 2 or 3 days.

My daughter, Rowan, had a great time working towards finishing her little village and decorating all the people. The best part about this project is that it’s fun for them to make, but then when it’s finished, it provides endless hours of fun as well! It was definitely a project to work on side by side as there were many parts that she needed some help with.
Let’s get started!
1. Collect a bunch of small boxes and containers from your recycling. I chose to quickly spray paint them. Although you could paint them white or even just leave them and decorate with paper or fabric. Work with what you have!
2. After the spray paint/paint is dry, start to decorate your village. Cutting windows and doors where you’d like. Adding colorful roofs. Let your little one dictate what they’d like and help with the cutting. You could add colorful paint, pretty fabric, etc… Have fun with this! We chose to keep our little town white, black and neon yellow.
3. That is usually enough for a day or two. It took us a while to spray paint and then decorate all the buildings for the town. Next up will be creating the town people.
4. Using the wooden pegs, create a fun group of people to live in your village. Rowan and I made all kinds of ballerinas, a few girls with crazy hair, a Mom, a little brother and even a ninja.  Get creative here! Use pom poms, felt or yarn for the hair. Warp yarn around the wooden pegs to make them wear a sweater. Make yarn pom poms for a tutu or design some cute dresses. This was by far Rowan’s favorite part. She could have designed people and their outfits all day if I let her. I used hot glue to adhere a lot of the items to the pegs. It makes for quick and easy drying time.
5. Set up your town, give it a name and spend the afternoon playing house!! Rowan has asked to bring out her little recycled village everyday since we made it. I love hearing the little stories she makes up as she plays with all the dolls.
Have fun guys!
thanks again, jen!
see more project ideas from jen here and here! and also on her blog, jen loves kev.
  1. So adorable, this is an awesome idea, especially for some long weekends at home we have coming up!

  2. Definitely doing this with my baby sis!

  3. Jamie

    I’m not going to lie this made me want to have children immediately. Such a sweet idea!

  4. kiely

    i spy endless hours of entrainment up in here! that is genius, i will have to remember this to play with my future kiddos :)

    xo, k

  5. wow~~ Amazing post!Love these litle things.

  6. Mary

    I cannot handle how cute the town’s residents are- what a fun kid’s craft! I’m definitely filing this idea away for the future.

    xo Mary of Mostly Salty

  7. This is so super cute! I love the people – too funny! In first grade we had to make a miniature version of our homes using cardboard paper and a cereal box- I had so much fun! Pinning this :)

    Warm Regards,

  8. renata

    Oh, i love this, we used to do this when we were kids at my home, so much fun!

  9. This reminds me of the time when I was in grade 5 and we had a project where we needed to build an alternative world. Everyone was making “cloud world” or “rainbow world” or “horse world” and I was like, “I’m doing recycle world!” I was always an environmentalist ;)

    Thanks for this cute little craft. I babysit kids often and always need ideas of what to do with them.

  10. mallory

    We did this with a big moving box to make a (semi-temporary) playhouse barn for my girl’s first birthday. An extremely lazy version of this:

    5 months later it’s still in her room and with occasional duct tape reinforcing, it’s holding up and she loves to play in it!

  11. Charlie

    This is adorable ! I have done the same thing with my niece and nephew last year except I helped them do a halloween haunted house version of the village and I still use them as little lanterns every October. Such a fun and creative way to keep children busy !

    xo, Charlie

  12. Nikki

    Tell your friend that she should be careful when using the term “crazy hair” to describe the dolls, seeing as how all of them were given styles that could quite easily resemble natural African-American hair. You may be rolling your eyes and thinking that this is overreacting but, all I saw was little poof balls that could resemble afros and yarn that could easily pass as braids. Just because someone’s hair is not bone straight does not make it “crazy”

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