40+ Creative Upcycling Projects For Old Kids’ Toys

By Navkiran K May 17, 2022

Well, it’s inevitable! Your kids outgrow their clothes, toys, and gear faster than you can keep up. It may seem like an endless cycle of constantly buying new things with each growth spurt and changing interest. But before you throw out or donate that old junk, save it for some cool upcycling projects. You can turn your kids’ castoffs into something new, useful, and exciting with a little creativity. Taking “old is gold” as the inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of cool ideas to get you started. For all you know, the old stuff can be too good to just throw out. These budget-friendly ideas can help you from decluttering your home to giving it a unique look. So, let’s get creative and put those old toys to good use with these ideas:

1. Use the Old Yardstick to Display the Pictures

The old yardstick that your kids no longer use can be reformulated into a beautiful display. Get some nails, threads, and clothespins to string up the pictures. Drive a few nails into the yardstick and hang the photos with the thread and clothespins, and you’re done.

Image Courtesy: Pinterest

This display is not only creative but is also very budget-friendly. You can even use different thread colors to give it more flair. Moreover, it is very easy to make, and you can do it in no time. Plus, you can add more decorative elements over time.

2. Bring Out Your Inner Artist with Colorful Paper

If you have pieces of colorful sheets or wrapping paper lying around from your kids’ projects, use them to make some beautiful art. You can use these paper pieces to try so many things like torn paper landscapes, collages, or even some Origami.

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This way, you can keep the paper from going to waste and make some decorative pieces to liven up your home. Also, it’s a great way to spend some quality time with your kids and bond over art. You will also get in touch with your inner artist.

3. Display the Baby Shoes with Frames

To remember your kids during their younger years, you can display their baby shoes in a frame. You can’t even imagine how adorable the framed baby shoes will look on the wall. You can use any frame you want and put the shoes inside.

Image Courtesy: Dot Draws Studio / Pinterest

Moreover, you don’t have to limit yourself to shoes; add your kid’s small clothes, toys, or anything that holds sentimental value. This idea is creative, budget-friendly, and will keep the memories of your little one with you for years to come.

4. Old Sand Boxes? More like Garden Boxes!

The old sandbox that used to be the favorite playing spot for your kids can be given a new life. Just clean them, drill some holes, and it’s ready for your gardening adventures. This idea might even get your kids involved in gardening.

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Plant the seeds with your kids and see them grow over time. This will also teach them about responsibility and the joys of gardening. The sandbox would do great for planting beautiful flowers or herbs and not to mention how adorable they would look.

5. Old Wagon to New Mobile Garden!

Take out the old baby wagon resting in the garage and put it to some good use. With minimal effort, you can transform it into a mobile garden. Add a plastic liner to the bottom, then add soil and plants, and you’re good to go.

Image Courtesy: Better Homes and Gardens / Pinterest

It’s perfect for yards or balconies. Moreover, these mobile wagons are a great option if you don’t have a lot of space for a full sized garden. You can grow a wide variety of plants in them and even add some décor items to make them look more attractive.

6. Use Bathroom Step Stools for Placing Plants

Bathroom step stools are useful when your kids are too short to reach the sink. But once they’ve outgrown them, you can use them for other purposes. You can use them as plant stands. You will have more room to keep the plants, and they’ll look adorable.

Image Courtesy: Etsy / Pinterest

They can fill a little corner of your home or be the perfect addition to your front porch. Either way, they will add some charm and character to your home. You can also do a paint job to make them look even more beautiful.

7. Golf Club Curtain Rods

If you are in the mood for something unique, go with golf clubs as curtain rods. What you need to do is screw in the golf clubs in the wall and add some curtains. This will be a great addition to any sporty home.

Image Courtesy: Derek Lipscombe / Pinterest

Moreover, it doesn’t have to be limited to a curtain; you can use them to hang other accessories and decorative elements. You won’t find a better way to reuse those old golf clubs while adding a statement to the home.

8. Transform Old Toys with Colorful Paint

If your kids have outgrown their toys, don’t just throw them away. Instead, give them a makeover with some paint. Change the color and pattern to make them look new. We can’t think of an easier way to upcycle old toys and give them a new lease on life.

Image Courtesy: Apartment Therapy / Pinterest

These painted toys can be used as décor items or given away as gifts. Moreover, this is a great way to teach your kids about upcycling and being environment-friendly. They will also have fun painting the toys and seeing their old toys in a new light.

9. Use Dinosaure Toys as Mini Planters

Dinosaurs are extinct, but your kids’ toy ones are not, so put them to good use. For instance, if you have some old dinosaur figures, cut out their back to create space and use them as plant pots. You can achieve a unique decoration with this budget idea.

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This is a fun way to recondition old toys and add some greenery to your home. Moreover, you can also use other toys like cars, animals, etc., to make mini planters. These planters will also be a unique gift option.

10. A Kitty Playground with Old Step Stools

Indoor playgrounds for cats are not very cheap. But you don’t need to spend money if you have an old stepstool. Just put them in a corner, decorate them a little, and your cats will have a blast playing on them. Make sure to put a few toys on there.

Image Courtesy: Pinterest

This is a brilliant way to keep your cats entertained and out of trouble. Plus, it will save you some money that you would’ve spent on an expensive cat playground. More importantly, it’s an excellent way to use your kids’ old step stools.

11. Give a New Life to Abandoned Easter Baskets

Kids use the easter baskets only once a year, and then they are left to collect dust. But they still serve a purpose the other 364 days of the year. For example, you can use them as planter or to store small toys, clothespins, etc.

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You can also add them to the garden by planting small succulents or herbs. Moreover, these baskets can give an antique look to your decoration and add some charm. Whether it’s decor or storage, these baskets can come in handy.

12. Use Party Hats as Snack Cones

Party hats are surefire a hit with kids, but there are always leftovers. Don’t let those party hats go to waste; use them as snack cones instead. Just fill them with popcorn, chips, or whatever else your kids like to munch on.

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It’s an impeccable way to use up those leftovers, and it’s a lot more fun than eating out of a regular bag. Plus, it will make snack time more festive. And who knows, these party hats might just be the highlight of family movie night.

13. Repurpose the Crib Rail as a Bicycle Rack

Nowadays, almost everyone with a baby uses a crib. But when your baby has outgrown it, what purpose does it serve? You can use it as a bicycle rack! No expenses, minimal efforts, and you get a new cycle rack.

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You can use the crib rail to store your kid’s rides or even your own. This way, the bicycles will be out of the way and will also be easily accessible. You won’t find a better idea to repurpose the old crib rail.

14. Get a Memory wall with Old Forks and Magnets

Who knew that old forks, especially the hand-me-down silverplate ones, could be put to such good use. This hack is simple: use small magnets, attach the fork to the fridge, and use the forks to hold pictures, notes, cards, etc.

Image Courtesy: Pinterest

Using this idea will help organize things, and you will also get to see your kids’ pictures every day. In addition, it’s a great way to recycle old forks and give them a new purpose. Not to mention the charm the silverware forks will add.

15. Make A Small Plant Pot From Yardstick

Lighten up your DIY spirits to convert an old yardstick into a small plant pot. You’ll get nostalgic for old school projects, but with a more mature outcome. All you need is an old yardstick, some paint, and hot glue.

Image Courtesy: Joan / Pinterest

This can be kept on tabletops, window sills, or any other small space in your home. You can also use it as a gift for plant lovers, giving them a personal touch. We love using things that would otherwise be thrown away.

16. Toddler Pool to Keep the Party Drinks Cool

If you have an old plastic kiddie pool, you can give it new life as a beverage cooler. Talk about a conversation starter at a party, and you got it! Just fill the pool with ice and stuff it with non-alcoholic drinks for kids.

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This hack can come in handy if you want to when you want to separate the parents’ and kids’ parties. It will also keep the kids’ drinks cool and within reach while you enjoy your beer with the other adults.

17. Use their Doodles to Decorate the Walls

Kids love to draw, and they are pretty good at it, too. But, their doodles end up everywhere except on the walls. Why not display them there instead? You can use washi tape or frame them and create a gallery, like a wall of fame.

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Moreover, your kids can have their own little art gallery and collect so many memories through these doodles. You can also frame them and give them as gifts to grandparents or other relatives. This will be a thoughtful gesture, and they will cherish it forever.

18. Outgrown Tees as Pillow Covers

Just thinking about this can fill your heart with excitement. This hack will allow you to use the old tees your kids have outgrown but still love. We get that it’s hard to part ways with memories, but now you don’t have to!

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You can take those outgrown tees and turn them into pillow covers. This way, you can keep those memories alive and also use them as a part of home decor. So take out those old tees and whip up some pillow covers.

19. Paper Wheels on Pencils = Pinwheels

Let the creativity flow and make some pinwheels with old pencils and paper. This is a superb idea to recycle old pencils and paper. Moreover, these pinwheels will make homework more interesting for your kids and make for a great decoration.

Image Courtesy: Make It and Love It / Pinterest

All you need is some paper, old pencils, scissors, and glue. For some extra fun, use colorful or patterned paper. These pinwheels are easy to make, fun to use, and offer a great way to spend some quality time with your kids.

20. Assign the Old Toys to Guard the Books

No need to invest in bookends; let the old toys handle that, literally! You can use some of your kid’s favorite old toys and place them on the bookshelves. This will give their room a personal touch, and they will love it.

Image Courtesy: Boxy Power

Plus, it’s a great way to declutter and organize things. Moreover, if you have some antique toys, this is a great way to show them off. Your kids will be surprised upon seeing their old toys in a new light.

21. Sand Castles to Snack Castles!

Do your kids love the beach? If so, you probably have a bunch of sand toys taking up space in your garage or shed. But there’s no need to get rid of them just because your kids have outgrown sandcastles.

Image Courtesy: Pink Lily / Pinterest.

You can turn those old sand toys into fun and festive snack containers. Just wash them out well and let them air dry. Then, fill them with your favorite snacks and enjoy. This will be like a summer theme party every time you snack.

22. Make Artistic Wall Displays with Building Blocks

Do you have miscellaneous Lego pieces and building blocks? Use them to make beautiful displays on the wall. This is a creative approach to adding some art to the house. You don’t have to be an expert; use the blocks you have and create some patterns or shapes.

 Image Courtesy: etsy.com

To do this, you can use magnets or glue the blocks on the wall or posterboard. Drive out your creativity and use different colors and shapes to create some beautiful displays. You can also get some Lego figures and add them to the display, enhancing the overall look.

23. Add a Personal Touch with Building Blocks

The versatility of building blocks is genuinely something to be admired. Not only can you build tonnes of cool things with them, but when you are done with them, you can turn them into a myriad of different art pieces.

Image courtesy: katherinerosman.com

This framed letter doesn’t require lots of materials, but the result is beautiful and will add a personalized touch to your kid’s room. Just assemble the blocks into your desired letter using the color combination of your choice. Then, use some strong glue to secure the letter onto the frame. And you’re done!

24. Old Baseballs for Curtain rods

If your kids’ dream of being the world’s best slugger didn’t last long, then don’t despair. You can use those old baseballs and turn them into something functional. For example, you can use them as curtain rods or coat hangers.

Image Courtesy: Sassy Scarlett

This way, you can keep their sports memorabilia with you, plus it will give the room a sporty look. Moreover, if you have some sports decor ideas on your mind, we bet you can hit a home run with this one!

25. Make Drawing Activities Fun with Water Guns

Turn an ordinary drawing activity into a fun game with water guns. You need some acrylic paint and water guns and a splatter-proof area for setup. They will have a blast painting, and you won’t have to worry about them making a mess.

 Image Courtesy: Made with Happy / Pinterest

Water gun painting can be an excellent activity for kids on a hot day. They can run around and paint to their heart’s content and create some pleasant memories. You can kick out the boredom and enjoy some family fun time.

26. Convert the Toy Box into a Dog Feeding Station

There are many things from your kids’ room that your dogs can use. One of them is the toy box. You can easily convert it into a dog feeding station. Just add a few bowls, and your dogs will have their own little dining area.

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The budget idea is not only practical but also very stylish. Moreover, this will save you money on buying a new feeding station for your dogs. It’s also a great way to upcycle an old piece of furniture and shower your furkid with love.

27. Have Old Tees? Make a Headboard

This hack is for parents who want to add a personal touch to their kid’s room but don’t want to spend a lot. You can use those old tees to make a headboard. This will add color and life to the room and be very budget-friendly.

Image Courtesy: FAEPA / Pinterest

You can sew the tees together or use fabric glue to make the headboard. The colorful collage will be a radiant addition to your kid’s room and make it more personal. They’ll feel closer to the good old days every time they see it.

28. Candy filled Piñata But with Water balloons

You must have heard about the candy-filled piñata; try that, but with a unique twist. Instead of using the traditional paper mache method, use water balloons. This game will give your kids the relief they need in the summer heat.

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This also makes for a great party activity. Moreover, you can mix any kind of candy you want, which means you can get creative. Just fill the balloon, blow some air in, and you’re done. You and your family can steal summer fun and make some irreplaceable memories.

29. Make a Magazine Rack Out of the Old Crib

This is another excellent way to repurpose that old crib. The crib rail will simply make an awesome magazine rack. You can use it to store all your magazines, books, or even newspapers. This is something so simple and yet so brilliant.

Image Courtesy: Ashley Bradley / Pinterest

Moreover, this idea hardly requires much effort and almost no money. Just place the crib rail against the wall and start stacking up your magazines. This way, you will have all your reading material within reach and declutter your room in no time.

30. Make Drawer Pulls with Old Toys

Imagine little dinosaurs and rabbits sticking their heads out to pull open the drawers; how cute would that be? This is an excellent way to repurpose those old toys that your kids have outgrown. Moreover, it will give the furniture a unique look.

Image Courtesy: Baú de Menino / Pinterest

You can use any kind of toy for this hack. Depending on the material, this will require you to bolt them to the drawer or glue them. Nonetheless, this is an excellent idea to add a unique twist to the plain old drawer.

31. Use the Old Building Blocks for Drawer Pulls

Upgrade the plain old drawers with building block pulls. This is a creative way to add color and fun to your furniture. Use combinations of color and style to achieve the desired look. Moreover, it is very easy to do, and it won’t take much time either.

Image Courtesy: Bob Vila

You will need to screw or glue the blocks and attach them to the drawers. This is a creative approach to adding some décor to the furniture. The idea is also budget-friendly as you won’t need to buy new pulls.

32. Use the Pool Noodles for Making a Bowling Alley

Pool noodles are great for the summer and extremely helpful when kids learn to swim. But when the summer ends or the kids outgrow them, what do you do with those foam sticks? Turn them into an at home bowling alley!

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Just cut them in half, set them up like bumpers, and then take a yoga mat for flooring, and finally, line up your pins! Keep the kids entertained indoors with this DIY project. They will have a blast playing without having to spend money on a trip to the bowling alley.

33. Colorful Building Block Fridge Magnets

Building blocks can go from your kid’s favorite toys to something they never touch without you realizing. Just because they’re done playing doesn’t mean the blocks are garbage. The building blocks are still fun and can be used to make fridge magnets.

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This is a simple DIY project, and all you need is some glue, building blocks, and magnets. You can use different colors and shapes to make these fridge magnets. Either way, it is a budget-friendly idea to add some color and fun to your kitchen appliances.

34. Use Cupcake Wrappers as Snack Cups

Do you have a bunch of cupcake wrappers lying around as leftovers from your kid’s birthday party? Don’t throw them out just yet; turn those wrappers into snack cups. What’s best is that they are small in size and can hold the amount and won’t lead to wastage.

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You can also throw in some baking cups and use the muffin tray to make some fun snacks or serve. This way, you can kill two birds with one stone. Use up those leftover cupcake wrappers and make the party way more interesting.

35. Old Lunchboxes to Keep Stuff Organized

Lunchboxes are dear to kids, but after leaving school, they are hardly ever used. Use them to store pens, pencils, markers, and other stationery items. You can also store your kid’s toys in them. This is a great way to keep the house organized and tidy.

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This is a creative approach to saving space and getting some decorative touches. Mix it up and have different lunchboxes for each purpose. For example, one can be used to store stationary while the other for toys. Plus, it is budget-friendly, and it won’t take much time either.

36. A Pool Noodle Tufted Headboard

A tufted headboard made with pool noodles can be the best form of reuse for pool noodles. Just cut the noodles into pieces and glue them onto the wall in the shape of a headboard. It is bound to give the room a unique look.

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This idea is not only budget-friendly but is also very creative. Moreover, if you don’t want a plain headboard, get creative with the shape and go for an arched shape. You can use a staple gun, but glue would also do the trick.

37. Make Tiny Terrariums Out of Candy Tube and Jars

What a creative way to use those old candy tubes and jars. Add a flair of greenery to your kid’s room with these tiny terrariums. Moreover, they will be excited to see their old candy containers put to good use.

Image Courtesy: Handmade Home Decor / Pinterest

You can use other containers, but we think the candy tubes and jars would be perfect. These containers are the right size and shape and will add a unique touch to the room. Add some soil, rocks, and plants, and you’re good to go.

38. Reformulate Baby Food Jars into Hanging Vases

This is another creative way to use the old baby stuff. Paint or decorate the baby food jars and turn them into hanging vases. These vases will add a pop of color to the room and will be a great way to use those old jars.

Image Courtesy: Carmen Rivera / Pinterest

They are great for window decor or can be hung from the ceiling. You can use fake flowers or real ones, depending on your preference. Either way, with this hack, you are in for a delightful treat, and that too on a budget.

39. Baby Food Jars as Spice Containers

You’ve found yourselves a new inexpensive use for those baby food jars! Spice containers in the kitchen! Just think about it; you will save space and have all the spices within reach. Not to forget how organized your kitchen will look.

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Don’t forget to add labels so that you don’t use the wrong spice. You can use a simple label maker or get creative with washi tape and markers. So go ahead and use those old baby food jars to declutter your spice cabinet.

40. Citronella Candles in Jelly Jars

Jelly has to be a delightful part of almost everyone’s childhood. But is there any use for them when your kids have eaten their fill? Well, here’s an excellent idea to repurpose them. Instead of throwing them out, you can make citronella candles in them.

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The citronella candles are scented and are great for indoor and outdoor use. Moreover, they are effective in keeping bugs away. So the next time you have a barbecue, make sure to use this hack to keep those pesky bugs away.

41. Convert the Crib Rail into a Headboard

Kids grow up so fast. One minute they’re tucked into their crib, the next, they upgrade to a bed. Then what? You can turn that old crib into a headboard! Just remove the mattress and use the crib rail as a headboard.

Image Courtesy: Hometalk.com

The old crib that would just be sitting in the storage or, worse, thrown out can now be used as a stylish headboard. This will add character to the room and be a great conversation starter. Plus, you can achieve an antique with this hack.

42. Kid Car Wash Station with Pool Noodles

What a cool way to use those old pool noodles. Make a car wash station, and your kids can have lots of fun. Set up a few pool noodles in the shape of arches and let the kids drive their cars through them.

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This idea will require some effort but is budget-friendly and totally fun for the kids! They will love washing their cars and will be busy for hours. Join your kids and have some fun together. It can be even better than going to a water park.

43. Old Wooden Blocks for Curtain Rods

Wooden blocks were your kid’s favorite toy at one point in time. But now, they are just collecting dust in the corner. You can use those blocks to make an elegant curtain frame. Just glue them together and use them with curtain rods.

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This idea is both creative and budget-friendly. You can use the blocks to make any design you want. Plus, it is very simple, and you can do it in no time. This is the perfect option if your grown-up kid is into arts and crafts.

44. Make Chandelier Out of Hula Hoops

Hula hoops are great for kids and adults alike. They are fun, but kids outgrow their hooping phase pretty quickly. But that doesn’t mean that they should be garbage-bound. You can use them to make a beautiful chandelier, like this one:

Image Courtesy davetiyeatolyesi / Pinterest

Just take some hula hoops and glue them together in the shape of a chandelier. Then, add some lights, flowers, and ribbons to spice it up. Isn’t this the perfect way to add some fun decor to your house without spending too much?

45. Food Jars to Store Craft Material

Need new storage containers for your kid’s art and craft supplies? Well, say no more! You can use those old baby food jars to store the material. This will brilliantly declutter the room and put to use otherwise wasted jars.

Image Courtesy: Carmen Rivera / Pinterest

You can either paint the jars or decorate them with washi tape. This way, the storage containers will also double up as a decoration. So go ahead and use those old baby food jars to declutter the room and add a pop of color.

46. Turn Their Favorite Teddy Into a Piece of Art

In a house where there are children, you will always find teddy bears. The problem is, kids outgrow them so fast as they move on to newer, more stimulating toys. So, if you’re wondering what to do with that old bear that has only one eye, we have the perfect solution. Turn it into art.

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You will need paint, some paper, and a doll. Start by spray painting the front. Next, place it on a piece of paper and put something heavy on top then leave it overnight. After it’s done, frame it. This is a great way to memorialize the toy before washing and donating it!

47. Turn an Old Toy Shelf into Chic Storage

Every parent knows that the trick to keeping a clean house is to have lots and lots of storage. There is nothing worse than having little shoes or toys lying around. Unfortunately, toy shelves can be a bit too gaudy to have out in the entryway.

Image Courtesy: feelingnifty

If you’ve got an old children’s cubby lying around, you can turn it into elegant storage by painting the cubby, adding decorative touches like patterned shelf liner or wallpaper, and placing a cushion on the top. This gives you great storage space and a bench to sit on when tying your shoes. Win-win!

48. Make a Pup Tent with Old Twin Sheets

Your pets are also your kids, right? So, don’t forget about them when you’re trying to find new uses for old things. For instance, you can make a pup tent out of old twin sheets. Just drape them over some furniture, and voila, you have a tent.

Image Courtesy: BuzzFeed

Give them their own space to hang out while keeping them safe from the burning sun. This is a wonderful way to use those old sheets that your kids have outgrown. It will also keep them out of the way when you have company over.

49. Make a safety hatch for sockets

In any house where there are kids, you will most likely also have Legos. These colorful blocks have a kind of monopoly in the toy world. They are fun to play with, but if you ask anyone who has ever stepped on one unknowingly, they’ll tell you they’re also quite dreadful!

Image Courtesy: Caroline H / Pinterest

Anyway, aside from that, Legos also have another side to them. They are also quite useful when it comes to DIY upcycling ideas. For example, you can use a few pieces to make a hatch like the one pictured here to discourage kids from playing around with switches, which we know they love.