Budget-Friendly Ideas Make Sustainability Part of the Family Fun

Family recycling paper products

This spring and summer, we're providing some out-of-the-box budget-friendly ideas that encourage you to make sustainability a part of your family’s recreational fun.

These projects are a green way to play because once you are done with your fun, you can recycle the paper or cardboard pieces used. If you are unsure, How Life Unfolds has a handy recycling guide to help you sort out your concerns.

We’ve rounded up a variety of activities for children of all ages that creatively use, as well as responsibly reuse, paper products.

Scavenger Hunt

Plan a scavenger hunt for paper-based recyclable items.

Start by downloading the recycling scavenger hunt printable which encourages children to recycle paper products in an interactive and engaging way.

Once collected, deposit the items in the correct bin!

Father and daughter recycling cardboard box

Road Trip

For those taking a family vacation over Spring Break, challenge family members to count how many paper products they recycle throughout the trip.

The winner gets a prize!  For young ones, kid-friendly printable games—such as Bingo—and coloring sheets will make the travel to the destination seem shorter. 

Remember to recycle the game sheets when done!

Family road trip

Seed Paper

Spring is marked by blooming so creating handmade seed paper is a great way to help kids learn about repurposing cardboard and paper into art that regenerates.

Using common kitchen tools described in these printable instructions, simply mush up paper and cardboard and sprinkle in flower seeds to make paper.

When done, decorate the paper and give as gifts or plant and watch the seeds sprout.

Handmade seed paper

Paper Party

Gather neighborhood kids for a paper plane party! Paper planes are fun to make and can be made from printer paper or even cereal boxes.

Once made, they can be judged on style and which plane flies the farthest. 

When done, the children can place the scraps and planes into the recycle bin.

Get paper plane making tips here.

Children playing with paper planes

Cardboard Maze

Use shipping boxes to construct an amazing maze. This can be done indoors or out.

Connect the boxes, create different doors, decorate the maze, and invite friends to try it out.

Helping kids learn to reuse and repurpose is a good eco-friendly message as is emptying, flattening, and recycling the boxes when done!

Young boy playing in a cardboard box

Paper Picnic

Host a picnic and make it as recyclable as possible.

Decorate by coloring such paper products as cups, bags, serving containers and placemats.

Clean up with paper napkins and paper towels. Put the leftovers in paper-based containers or paper bags.

Make sure to check local recycling guidelines for what can go in the recycling bin. Download a handy recycling guide to help plan.


Young boy playing in a cardboard box

Grocery Shopping

While finding your family's favorite treats for the week, be mindful of what type of packaging it comes in. 

Did you know that paper is made from a renewable resource? In fact, twice as many trees are planted than are used to make paper-based products. So choose products in paper packaging because not only do they help forests when recycled they can often be made into new products.

Teach your children which item can go in the bin with the help of some recycling tips!


Family of 3 grocery shopping