How to Make Simple Toys Using Recycled Materials Found at Home

How to Make Simple Toys Using Recycled Materials Found at Home

Way too often, toys are bought, used for a few days and then thrown away, only to end up in a landfill for hundreds of years. Instead of giving in to your child's next tantrum, why don´t you tell him that instead of buying a toy, you'll make one together! Making toys using recycled materials can be a lot of fun, benefiting you, your wallet, your kid and of course, the environment. Your child will really appreciate the toy that he has made all by themselves!

In this oneHOWTO article we provide some examples on how to make toys using recycled material.

Toy trucks from re-used plastic bottles

A very original idea is to make trucks with plastic bottles and bottle caps. The kind of bottles you need are those that often contain detergent, soaps, softener, etc. The handle of the jug will serve as a window, but you will also able to make more holes with the help of a utility knife. For the wheels we will use the tops and we will attach them with glue.

You can decorate the truck with adhesive tape or with permanent markers or paint them to turn them into an ambulance, a fire truck, a pizza delivery van, etc.


Alien spacecraft

Another option to make a toy from waste material is to re-use boxes of soft cheese, plastic egg boxes and lollie sticks. These easily-found-at-home items can be transformed into an alien spacecraft! To do so, you will have to:

  • Cut out one of the compartments of the plastic egg box and make a hole of the same size in the soft cheese cardboard box so that one tightly fits in the other;
  • In the other part of the soft cheese box it will be necessary to make four holes to insert the ice cream sticks; you can do this with sharp scissors or a utility knife;
  • To make the alien, find a top made of cork or plastic or another similar item that fits inside the ship;
  • To decorate the UFO and its driver, use water based paint, adhesives, etc.

Stone domino

Another option is to make traditional games like domino out of waste material. Instead of using recycled material you need flat stones of a medium size; ideal are those found on the banks of rivers or on the beach.

The complete set of dominoes consists of 28 pieces, so you will need 28 stones of a similar size. Then paint them with complete numbering from the double blank to double six.


Cardboard parking lot

A toy that delights children that can be made with recycled material is a multi storey parking lot where they can play with their toy cars. Take a look at our step by step guide:

You will need

  • Foldable cardboard, like that used for boxes.
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush


  1. Mark the path that the cars will follow.
  2. Make a cut in the ramp areas used to connect the top and lower floor.
  3. By joining both cardboard platforms, create the upstream and downstream paths through which the toy vehicles will transit. It is also possible to place the cardboard platforms on stairs and unite each step with ramps

Snake with corks

Cork bottle tops are another common element in all houses and one that is often discarded. In oneHOWTO we propose to use them to make this funny snake which can be as long as you like. Besides corks you will need:

  • String
  • A knife
  • A needle or sharp object to pierce the cork (to be done by an adult).


  1. You will have to cut all the corks into an equal size
  2. Make a hole in the middle through which to pass the string.
  3. At the end you will have to make a knot to serve as a stopper so that the snake does not come apart.
  4. Finally, use a pen to paint the face of the reptile.

Toilet paper roll bats

Whether they're to play with or to make a quick decoration for Halloween, toilet paper roll toys are the easiest and most versatile, as there are hundreds of animals and characters that can be made with just a cardboard cylinder.

You will need

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Paints
  • Cardboard
  • Googly eye stickers (optional)


  1. First of all paint your toilet roll with acrylic paint or similar.
  2. While it's drying, get some colored cardboard or paper and draw the features of your toy: eyes, nose, mouth, ears, wings...
  3. Cut the features out and stick them on when the glue is dry. To make the toy more fun, you can stick some googly eyes that will look really cool!

Can phone

This has got to be an all time classic and one of the easiest toys to make from recycled material. You'll only need two tin cans and a piece of string.


  1. Make a hole in the base of both cans, just big enough so the string can go though it.
  2. Pass the thread through each of the holes and tie a strong knot from the inside.
  3. In order for the phone to work, tense the string as much as possible.

For more fun crafts to make with your children, we recommend you take a look at our article on how to make crafts with waste material for kids too!

Egg box insects

Egg boxes are another typical waste material you may find at home. They are also one of the safest and most versatile. Apart from serving as a good place to mix colors when painting, you can also create lots of creepy crawlies with them.

You will just have to cut each individual cup out and decide what insect you want to make. You'll only need one for a beetle or a ladybird, but will need lots attached together by string if you're planning on a caterpillar.

You will need

  • 1 egg box
  • Colors
  • Googly eyes
  • String
  • Scissors


  1. Cut out each individual cup from the egg box
  2. Paint the egg box cups in the color of your preferred insect (green for a caterpillar, for example).
  3. Create holes near the top of each cup and turn the cup around so the base is facing upwards.
  4. Tie the string through the holes.
  5. Add the googly eyes for your caterpillar.

Tip: If the insect has legs, you can also use felt sticks to create them.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Make Simple Toys Using Recycled Materials Found at Home, we recommend you visit our Art & handicraft category.

  • Be creative and try to invent some toys of your own!
  • Encourage your children to come up with ideas on their own! It´ll stimulate their imagination and fill them with pride!