Sustainable kids play ideas

Here are the 9 Easy Sustainable play ideas to do with the kids!

Are you tired of your kids playing with flimsy plastic toys? Do you want to encourage your little ones to be more resourceful and creative this summer? Well we’ve lined up some sustainable play ideas that will get your child's imagination at play and that use only eco-friendly materials that you can find around your home! The following ideas are the perfect way to teach your children about the importance of recycling and sustainability, whilst also enhancing their development through improving their creativity and fine motor skills. These ideas shouldn’t take too long to set up making them a quick and easy fix for when they tell you they’re bored! Keep reading to see our suitable ideas for 2-5 year olds.

1. Your empty milk cartons are the start of a whole tonne of sustainable play!

Kid growing plants using milk cartons

Do you need a little helper in the garden this summer? Do you also want to know how your empty milk cartons can be recycled into eco-friendly gardening tools that are perfect for little hands? If you answered yes then get ready to grab the empty milk cartons sitting in your recycling and introduce your kids to the power of recycling and sustainable play! Good news, tetra pak milk cartons are the perfect material for this activity as it's waterproof and sturdy so it works well as a DIY plant pot. To start, collect your empty milk cartons and wash them out thoroughly. Then cut them in half and fill the bottom half with soil. Once you’ve done you can get your child to pop some seeds in and give them their first water. Then as time goes on your kids can watch as the seeds they planted flourish in no time! For extra fun you make a DIY watering can by making some small holes in the lid of an empty milk carton and filling it up with water.

Sustainable DIY milk cartons plant pot ideas

2. Make a DIY robot for your next sustainable play day!

Do your children love robots? This next idea is all about how to build your own eco-friendly robot with your children! What makes this play idea sustainable is that we are only going to be using empty milk and juice cartons for the robot's body. Before you start you’re going to need your empty cartons, some tape, and anything else your kids think will make a great addition to their robot! First off, ask your kids to construct their perfect robot and when they have their cartons in place, get your tape and help them tape it all together. Now this is the important part: to make this an even more creative exercise you’re going to want to ask your kids questions about their robots to unleash their wild imaginations! You could ask them what their robots super powers are or how high they can fly. Don’t forget to ask them to come up with names for their creations! Every robot needs some sort of spacecraft right? To add even more imagination to this activity would be making homes for the robots! You can do this by recycling a cardboard box and turning it into a spaceship or a factory for their robots to live in and do well, whatever robots do! You could even turn this into a sustainable small world play activity by creating mini robots by using toilet roll instead! Speaking of toilet rolls...


3. A sustainable twist on toilet roll

Don’t throw away your toilet roll! Did you know that toilet roll can be transformed into many things for your kids to play with? There’s so much you can do with it! To start off here some of our best ideas:

Feeling creative? If you feel like getting even more arts and crafty then why not try setting up a monster making station for your children to enjoy? To do this you will need the classic essentials: pipe cleaners and googly eyes. (And some paint too if you’re really getting into it). Help your child paint their toilet roll, glue on some googly eyes and the final touch: a pipe cleaner tail. Now you have a little monster! (and sustainable craft).

Make a telescope! Do your children love space and everything to do with the planets and stars? If yes then you can use this sustainable play idea to encourage their imagination at play! Start by stacking your toilet rolls on top of one another and use some tape to bind them together to make your kids very own telescope!

Our favorite toilet roll idea is to make binoculars and go on a safari hunt! To do this you’ll need to tape two rolls together side by side and make a small hole in each one. Next, thread some string through the holes and tie it together and now you have a cool pair of binoculars to equip your child for their adventure! Now you can take this sustainable play idea to the next level by setting up a safari adventure for them! To do this start by getting their wooden animal toys and placing them around the room. Now ask your mini explorers to go on their very own safari hunt by finding the toys. Now we know they’re no Bear Grylls so you might want to draw them a map to add to their imaginary fun! You can start them off by asking them to find a specific animal and bring it to you (and make sure to reward them with positive encouragement!) This activity works great for busy mums working from home or as a fun weekend activity.

4. Make your own DIY wind chimes

We’ve all made wind chimes as children haven't we? Well it may be time to give your own children the DIY wind chime experience, but with sustainable materials of course! Now, you’re going to need: A big circular lid, pieces of string, bottle tops, and tin cans. Those are just the start, you can challenge your kids to find whatever eco-friendly things they think work great on their wind chimes! The big lid is going to act as the base of your wind chime, it’s going to hold everything together! If you’re struggling to find one then a circular piece of cardboard would work just fine. Make some holes into your lid/cardboard and then make a hole at the base of your cans, bottle tops and other sustainable materials. When you’re finished ask your kids to thread the string through the materials and lid, and there you have a sustainable, DIY wind chime! You could challenge your kids to go the extra mile by painting their wind chime creations before hanging them up outside. On the next windy day you can ask your children to see who first is to hear their wind chimes in action, make it a challenge!

5. Make a theatre using carboard box and some toilet roll!

Kids DIY Theatre play

Let's get creative with our imaginations, here's our way of recreating your children's favourite stories! One of our kid’s favourite films of all time is Peter Pan, so we recreated this in theatre! Did you know Peter Pan used to be a play? If you want to know how we sustainably created a theatre and some puppets in true punch and Judy style, then keep reading! You’ll need some toilet rolls, a sturdy wooden toy, (we’re using our sustainable Capikooa balance board) and some creative kids! The next step is to decorate your toilet rolls to make them look like your kid’s favourite characters, we made a pirate for Captain Hook and a fairy for Tinkerbell. Once you’ve made your characters and assembled your theatre stage, your kids are ready to play! This sustainable play idea is perfect for developing their imaginations and language acquisition. The fun in open-ended play is that there's no scripts or rules! Your child’s imagination leads their play which helps them learn creative skills that will benefit them by enhancing their development. Once your children are finished acting out their favourite film, make sure to clap and offer positive encouragement for their great show (and no throwing rotten tomatoes!)

6. Rolling objects using a ramp!

kids ball run

Is it time to teach your children about gravity? This next game is perfect for little ones as it gets their mind thinking and their body moving! This next activity can also be set up in 60 seconds and is so easy to play. What you’ll need: A large wooden ramp (we’re using our Capikooa balance board), some objects that can roll down such as balls or toy cars, any object your child can find really! To play this game you’re going to get two different objects and place them both at the top of the ramp. Ask your kids to make a prediction, which object will roll down fastest and why? Ask them if they think the smaller object will roll further or the larger one? For extra fun try marking out where each object lands! This activity can be done with any object your child wants! The limits are their imagination. Why not try rolling some fruit down and asking them to predict which one will go the furthest? By doing this activity not only are you helping your kids with their development by asking them inquisitive questions, you also get them to have one their five a day! It’s a win win for you.

7. Sustainable small world play!
Small world play using packaging

Who doesn’t love a bit of small world play? Especially one that includes edible items that you won’t have to worry about your little ones eating! Well this tractor play idea has all that and more. For this small world activity you’re going to need some cardboard tray inserts, we got outs from our Capikooa packaging but any small cardboard tray will do the trick! Next up you’re going to need to make the oat mix, you can do this as a fun craft activity with your kids or quickly mix it up yourself. A top tip we have is to try dyeing the oat mix with food coloring! This adds extra fun and imagination to your child’s day. The final step after you’ve gathered your trays and grains is to ask your child to find their wooden farm animals and tractors and then place them in the tray. Now you have a super quick, easy, and sustainable small world play set up! If you’re unsure what grains to put into your mix we find that weetabix, oats, and rice work great as not only the hay for the farm but as a sensory exercise too! Your child can unleash their imagination whilst playing and improve their sensory development all at once!

8. Making a play laundrette out of cardboad!

DIY laundrette out of cardboad

Our latest sustainable play idea involved turning our playful packaging into a laundrette! That's right, you can easily make a play laundrette for a fun filled day of pretend play! You will need our playful packaging or some sturdy cardboard, a pair of scissors, some string, pegs, and some clothes to hang up! Once you’ve made your cardboard machine you can watch as your little ones pretend to do the laundry! We attached a string across the top of the cardboard on the inside and then pegged up some washing to dry. Your kids could give this a go and practice their fine motor skills as they play by reaching up and hanging the clothes on the string. To see how we made ours, click here. On the topic of our playful packaging, we have more play ideas for you in the next paragrap

9. Did you know that Capikooa packaging is designed for hours of sustainable play!

When you order with us, we make sure that the packaging you get is completely recyclable and can be reused for many sustainable play ideas! Whether you have our packaging or another box of cardboard laying around, we have three final ideas for you below.

Why not try turning the cardboard box into your child’s own painting station? DIY your own paint and pop your child in the box and let them paint as much as they want! All you have to do to clean up is throw the cardboard in the recycling bin, not before applauding their masterpiece of course!

At Capikooa, we believe that the only limit to our playful packaging is your child’s imagination. We reused ours by turning it into a balloon pit with our leftover birthday balloons! To do this you will need some leftover balloons from a birthday party and something they can slide down, (we used our Capikooa balance board). Start by filling the box up with balloons and then place the bottom of the slide into the box. Watch as your kids giggle in delight as they pop the balloons as they land!

Alongside the many sustainable play ideas you can do with this box, it also has other practical uses to make your life a little easier! You can reuse our packaging as storage containers to keep anything you like in, clothes, old toys, family photographs, the list goes on. To find out more about our balance boards click here.

Thank you for reading! We know how important recycling is to the planet and we hope that we inspired you to reuse your recycling as a way of sustainable play! We hope these ideas get your child's imagination at play. For more inspiration, head over to our Instagram page @capikooa where we’re constantly sharing our sustainable play ideas and don’t forget you can always sign up to our newsletter where you can get the VIP treatment as you’ll be the first to know about any offers and discounts and we will keep you up to date with our latest play ideas!

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