Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Get Your Kids (Even More!) Involved in Recycling {Green Contributor Post}

The Recyclables Board Game: DIY Tutorial & Activity

Get your family excited about recycling with this fun (and green) activity!

Thank you, Kristen for including me in your Spring Greening series! I'm Cristin Frank, an avid upcycler and frugal crafter, and I had lots of thoughts to share on going green. On my blog, Eve of Reduction I share repurposing projects, ways to reduce clutter and tips for saving money. But I have been working on a recycling game with my kids that I thought would make a perfect debut on A Thrifter in Disguise!

Recyclables Board game from Eve of Reduction

How to Create the Recyclables Board Game

Like the rest of my life, this is a DIY game - meaning you have to make it before you can play it. But trust me, making it is equally fun!  

Supplies: cereal box, cardboard, masking tape, chalkboard spray paint, chalk, many scraps from food packaging and other paper, plastic, glass and metal recyclables, bottle caps.
  • Step 1: Recycle a cereal box to use as storage for your game. I turned mine inside out so the graphics were on the inside and the outside cardboard could be easily decorated. 
  •  Step 2: Cut a piece of cardboard that will fit inside the cereal box. Use masking tape to mask off a one-inch border around the board. Add masking tape lines inside the 1" border to serve as the spaces the game pieces will travel around the board. 
  • Step 3: Spray the game board with chalkboard spray paint. Then remove the masking tape.
  • Step 4: Collect your recyclables. You're going to want clean samples of common things that you recycle. Anywhere from 30 - 40 samples is ideal. 
  • Step 5: Cut a flap in the back of the cereal box where the recyclable samples can be retrieved by players. 
  • Step 6: Collect bottle caps to use as game pieces. If they all look the same, add a spot of marker or paint to tell them apart. 

DIY board game Recyclables


How to Play the Recyclables Board Game


Recyclables game for kids

  1. Designate the start and end spots on the board and place all game pieces near the start. 
  2. Going in a clockwise direction, start with the oldest player (helps younger ones get the hang of it). This player will pull a recyclable sample from the back flap of the game box without letting the other players see it.
  3. Player will then draw the product in the center of the board with chalk. Player can use clues like drawing a wine glass if the recyclable is glass.
  4. The player who answers correctly moves one space.
  5. Continue taking turns as the drawer until the first player reaches the end space.


Want to Make the Game More Fun?


kids playing Recyclables board game

Try these variations on the Recyclables Board Game for more fun!
  1. Designate the corner spaces as "Not Recyclable" spaces. When a player gets to those spaces they have to name something that cannot be recycled, that hasn't already been mentioned by another player. Here is a list of things that cannot be recycled
  2. Have a repurposing challenge. For a player to move an extra space, they must draw the recyclable being repurposed. So, if a player guesses the correct recyclable, they have the opportunity to repurpose it (in a chalk drawing) for the chance to move 2 spaces instead on one. 
If you're looking for more ways to get kids involved in recycling and repurposing, I'd love to have you stop by Eve of Reduction for some more fun projects and recycled crafts for kids. Don't have kids? Check out Eve's upcycled home decor project tutorials! Looking for a helpful read? Cristin Frank from Eve of Reduction is the author of the debut DIY home decor ebook Rooms Repurposed: A Purposeful Home, A Purposeful Life; the DIY lifestyle book "Living Simple Free & Happy" (includes 10 upcycling tutorials); and the guide to creative streams of income ebook (only $2.99).

Spring Greening Month via

Thank you so much, Cristin! I love so many things about this activity--the fact that I can reuse one of the many cereal boxes I put in the recycling bin every week, the way it encourages kids to have a better understanding of the recycling system, and that it's a fun game my family can play TOGETHER!

Besides finding her at Eve of Reduction, you can connect with Cristin on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest!

This post is part of the {Spring Greening Month} Series. Find out why I'm hosting this event here.

Are we connected yet? If not, find me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+, and Bloglovin so we can start sharing ideas together!


  1. Super-cool! This is a great game. My children love making their own, they tend to play those over and over, whereas the "official" ones get to languish after a while. The rules are brilliant!
    Extra twist: on one of the corners, have a question: "What can be use instead of this product so that we don't even have to recycle this container / bag / jar?"

    1. My kids definitely spend more time playing things they make themselves, too! And I love the extra twist idea!

  2. What a fun idea! I like the fact that it combines creativity -- drawing -- with a lesson in conservation and repurposing.

    1. I agree--great combination! The drawing is definitely a cool way to balance the factual stuff.

  3. This is such fun idea to keep kids involved and teach them to love the planet. I will be saving this for when my little one is the right age to play :-)

  4. This is a great idea! We love playing board games!

  5. How fun! What a great idea! My husband and I have talked about recycling water bottles so much, that no matter where we go, my kids pick up a water bottle or two! I love their commitment!!!


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