DIY Summer Day Camp Week 5: Going Green

DIY Summer Day Camp Week 5: Going Green

Editor’s note: This post was updated on June 20, 2022

Welcome to the fifth week of DIY Summer Day Camp! Every week until the end of August, we’ll provide you with activities, crafts, and book recommendations for you and your kids to do at home. Here you’ll find a variety of games and activity ideas, using little to no equipment and materials, that will keep your children active, engaged, and having fun!

Welcome to Week 5: Going Green

This week we’ll be sharing lots of environmentally friendly games and activities for your child to play on their own and with a caregiver. Along with arts and crafts projects, book suggestions, and some bonus activities, your child will learn more about how to reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover!

You decide how you want to use these activities: pick one thing to do each day of the week, plan a full day of fun, or just scan through for inspiration and do what sounds fun to you.

Other weeks

Week 1: Animal Planet
Week 2: Music Makers
Week 3: Exploration
Week 4: Olympic Games
Week 6: Under the Sea
Week 7: Splish, Splash
Week 8: Where the Wild Things Are

Here’s what we’ve got for this week:

  • Independent play: Try your hand at making a reusable material Rube Goldberg Machine and create your own bowling alley out of pop bottles.
  • Arts & crafts: Learn more about bugs and pollinators by making a bug motel and create your very own up-cycled tote bag.
  • Active family fun: Hit the links with a fun mini-golf course and build your own badminton set to find out who is the Going Green badminton champ in your family!
  • Quiet time: Learn more about the environment and the simple changes we can make to take care of our planet.

Independent play

Activity: Bottle Bowling

What you’ll need: 

  • Six two-litre pop bottles (or dishwashing detergent bottles or similar)
  • Lightweight ball or rolled-up sock
  • Sand
  • Funnel
  • Recycled craft paper (optional)
  • Marker (optional)

How to play: 

  1. Wash and completely dry each bottle before making the pins.
  2. Put an inch of sand in the bottom of each bottle using a funnel.
  3. Create a set of bright bowling pins by adding craft paper or coloured tissue on top of the sand.
  4. Set up the plastic bowling pins on the floor or a lawn about six feet away from your child (or use a marker to mark the throwing line).
  5. Get your child to roll or throw the ball and try to knock over the pins.

How to make it easier:

  • Limit the number of pins to three or four.
  • Decrease the distance of the starting line to the pins.
  • Give your child a larger, heavier ball (i.e. a soccer ball) to knock over the pins.

How to increase the challenge:

  • Try funny bowling! Have your child try bowling standing on one foot, through their legs, lying on their stomach, etc.
  • Add more sand to the bottom of the pins to make them harder to knock over.

Keep the fun going:

  • Turn this independent activity into a fun family game by having a bowling tournament.

Activity: Going Green Rube Goldberg Machine

What you’ll need: 

  • Any reusable materials from around your house (cardboard, cereal boxes, cans, aluminum foil, marbles, toy cars, tennis balls, blocks, etc.)
  • Tape

How to play:

  1. Have your child brainstorm a problem to solve (i.e. moving a shoe, ringing a bell, opening a door, shutting a window)
  2. Get them to build a Rube Goldberg machine using any of the reusable materials.

Did you know?

A Rube Goldberg machine is named after an American cartoonist who originally drew cartoons illustrating elaborate machines that performed simple tasks.

Rube Goldberg machines typically use items that are not related to each other. When an action is triggered, like someone tipping over a block, it triggers the next item until the goal is completed (i.e. using a series of dominoes to knock over a small toy).

How to make it easier:

  • We’re learning more about chain reactions in this activity, so start small! Have your child stand up three blocks in a row, touch the first block, and watch them fall down in sequence.
  • Give them an example of a simple Rube Goldberg and then allow them to get creative. You’ll be surprised with what they come up with!

How to increase the challenge:

  • Require a minimum of five, 10, or 15 different items as part of their machine.
  • Increase the size of the Rube Goldberg by having it start in one part of the house and end in another.

Keep the fun going:

  • Try building a Rube Goldberg in your backyard or playground using only natural materials.
  • Get the whole family involved by building a machine that can complete a household task like feeding a pet or locking the door.

Arts & crafts

Using reusable or recyclable items for arts and crafts projects is a great way to teach resourcefulness, save money, and introduce children to the environmental impacts of materials we use everyday.

Craft: Bug Motel


  • A large plastic pop bottle 
  • Assortment of natural materials (twigs, pinecones, small pieces of scrap wood, etc.)
  • Twine


  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the plastic bottle—you’ll be left with a one long cylinder.
  2. You can keep the long cylinder or cut it in to two to make two bug motels.
  3. Thread a piece of twine through the cylinder and tie it in a knot. This will allow you to hang your bug motel.
  4. Arrange natural materials by size and texture and place them inside the cylinders so they are tightly packed.
  5. Hang your bug motel and check back to see what critters have stopped by.
  6. Make sure to help your “guests” check out healthy and happy

How to increase the challenge:

  • Put bug motels in different areas of the yard or green space (i.e. hanging, on the ground) and see if the different locations attract different bugs.
  • Check out the Earth Rangers Pollinator Power Mission to learn more about the importance of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and other pollinating species, to our planet.

Craft: Earth Rangers Upcycled T-Shirt Tote


  • Old T-shirt
  • Scissors


  1. Cut the sleeves off.
  2. Turn the T-shirt inside out and cut out the neckline area.
  3. Have fun cutting fringe on the bottom of the T-shirt.
  4. Tie the fringe pieces together to seal the bottom. 

How to make it easier:

  • Take on cutting the T-shirts and give your child an opportunity to tie the fringe (while also working on their fine motor skills).
  • Complete the tote and then have your child decorate it using markers or fabric paints.

How to increase the challenge:

  • Dig out a needle and thread and give your child an opportunity to learn how to sew by sewing the bottom of the tote.

Keep the fun going:

Active family fun

Learning about being green and sharing how you can work together to reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover can be a great family activity. Beyond using reusable materials for creating fun games and activities, there are lots of ways you can limit your family’s environmental footprint.

Activity: Mini-Golf (at home)

What you’ll need: 

  • A “club” for each person (a cardboard tube, pool noodle, etc.)
  • A ball for each person (try a rolled-up sock, crunched-up paper, etc.)
  • Obstacles like toys, books, and chairs.
  • A “hole” (i.e. jar, bucket, cup) 

How to play: 

  1. Work together to create your very own mini-golf course using materials you have around your house. 
  2. Each player must try to complete the course in as few hits as possible. 

How to make it easier:

  • Increase the size of the ball (and the hole) to make striking easier. 
  • Reduce the distance between the players and the hole.
  • Decrease the obstacles that players must hit around.

How to increase the challenge:

  • Create a “super golf course” by having the golf course throughout your house.
  • Do the same in your backyard by incorporating “hazards” like hitting under a garden chair or around a tree.
  • Make it “mini-golf on the move” by never allowing players to let the ball stop (and still trying to get it in the hole with as few hits as possible!)

How to adapt the game for smaller spaces:

  • Only have a three-hole golf course and increase the number of obstacles golfers must hit around.
  • Make a miniature course by using smaller objects like wooden beads for balls and markers/crayons for clubs. 

Game/Activity: Going Green Badminton


  • Wire coat hanger (one for each racket)
  • Old stocking/pantyhose (one for each racket)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Shuttle/birdie (scrunched-up paper, etc.)

How to play: 

  1. Bend the coat hanger into a rectangular or square shape.
  2. Straighten or bend the hook of the hanger to form a handle. 
  3. Pull the foot of the stocking/pantyhose over the top of the hanger to form the webbing of the racquet. 
  4. Wrap the extra fabric from the stocking/pantyhose around the handle and secure it with tape.
  5. Cut off the excess.
  6. Use your racquet and birdie for a fun game of badminton!

How to make it easier:

  • Use a balloon or scarf as your birdie to increase the amount of time children have to hit the birdie.
  • Decrease the distance between players.

How to increase the challenge:

  • Build a net using chairs and some string tied between them or use some twine between two trees.
  • Set up a tournament and play as singles (individuals) or doubles (partners) to see who will be the Going Green badminton champ(s)!

Quiet time

Here are some recommended reads on going green (and links to readaloud videos on YouTube):

0-3 years: The Earth Book by Todd Parr

3-5 years: It’s Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer

6-8 years: Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals

9-12 years: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Bonus activities

We hope you’ve learned more ways to be green around your home and community!

Going Green is the fifth part of an eight-week series of summer fun. Join us next week as we take a deep dive Under the Sea! Get a sneak peek at what’s ahead in our printable Active for Life Day Camp at Home adventure map. Give it to your child to colour in and see what themes are coming up next.

We’d love to hear from you and your child! What was your favourite activity? What did you learn this week?

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