Animals Made Out of Recyclable Materials


Teachers and caregivers are constantly looking for inexpensive craft materials for their classrooms or daycare facilities. A child's creative mind can transform the simplest material into a unique project. Recyclable materials, such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans, are useful for making animals. Preschoolers and elementary age children can fashion fun, recyclable animal friends with the addition of basic craft items, such as construction paper and glue.

Glass Jars

  • A simple pickle jar, or even a baby food jar, can be transformed into a bunny. Make sure that all the labels are removed from the jar. Fill the jar completely with cotton balls. The cotton balls do not need to be compacted inside. The cotton balls should still keep their form, but there should not be a lot of space in between each ball. The filled jar acts as the bunny's body. Children can cut out cardboard ears, paint or decorate them, and glue each one to the jar's lid. Caregivers can offer googly eyes, white pom-poms, and black pipe cleaners for constructing the face and whiskers.

Plastic Bottles

  • A basic 2-liter soda bottle makes an unique bumblebee recyclable animal craft. Prepare each soda bottle with guiding lines drawn around the bottle's circumference, about 2 inches apart from one another. Children can paint the bottle according to the lines, alternating yellow and black stripes for forming the bumblebee's body. Children can cut out construction paper eyes and wings, attaching them with glue to the dried, painted bottle. A "stinger" can be constructed from the construction paper by creating a cone shape and gluing it to the bottle's base.

Brown Paper Bag

  • A common grocery or lunch bag creates a myriad of animals. In fact, children can create an elephant animal with some imagination. The brown bag's base should remain folded and facing upward during the crafting process. Children can cut out elephant ears and a long nose from gray construction paper. The children can glue the ears and nose to the bag's base. The ears should flank either side of the bag's base. In addition, the nose should hang down from the lower middle edge of the bag's base. Children can draw or glue the eyes between the ears. After the glue dries, the children can place their hand into the bag's interior to make the animal move its long nose.

Aluminum Cans

  • An aluminum soda can can become a pig craft. Children can paint an empty aluminum soda can pink. The can's open mouth becomes the pig's mouth. Have children glue construction paper or googly eyes to the can's top, as well as adding pink construction paper ears to the can's sides. A pink pipe cleaner can be bent in a corkscrew shape and glued to the can's base for a quirky tail.

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