DIY Stacking Toys Using Recyclables

Recycle packaging and containers to use as stacking toys with toddlers and preschoolers. Recyclable materials provide simple activities with no added cost and easy set up. Explore options for stacking, building, and creating with recyclables.

Use recyclables for DIY stacking toys

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As parents, teachers and care givers, we know the value of reusing and recycling materials for kids activities. Recyclables can be used for arts and crafts projects, for counting and sorting activities, and for storage solutions.

Empty packages also make excellent stacking toys!

Stacking toys promote creative hands-on play. They're a perfect go-to to have in your toolkit for child-led play.

Recyclables as stacking toys

Stacking toys made with recyclables are a good fit for everyday play. The materials you choose should be sturdy enough to be handled over and over but not hard enough to harm the builder when they topple!

Cardboard and plastic are probably your best options but you may have other recyclables available that would work well. Make sure packaging is clean and dry and free of sharp parts such as staples.

Here are a few convenient options to have on hand.


Stacking yogurt cups kids building activity


Yogurt and pudding cups make great pyramids! These versatile containers can also be used as plant pots and painting tools.

 Stacking recyclables activities for kids


Empty ribbon spools, or spools from painter and masking tape, are great for stacking. They are light weight but provide a stable base.

Bath soap boxes are easy for younger children to handle. For more of a challenge, stack these boxes on their edges.


Tissue boxes recycled for STEM activity


Tissue boxes can be stacked like bricks. In fact, you can cover them with brick design paper for an arts and crafts project, then take them to the block corner for construction projects. They are the largest of the stacking options and can be used empty or full!


Recycle containers and paper cups for stacking activities with preschoolers

Disposable cups are easy to stack and un-stack for a fine motor counting activity. These little cups are also great for a memory game.

These clear plastic containers held paper baking cups. They have a unique shape and are perfect for stacking.


These options for stacking toys come from a variety of sources. Recyclables are a low-cost, hands-on, practically mess-free option for kids STEM play.

Toddlers and preschoolers will benefit from the fine motor play, engineering challenges, and sensory experiences the different materials provide.

STEM board on Pinterest.



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