This craft project for children will probably take a bit of planning ahead, but the results are worth it. Most of the materials used are recycled, so take advantage of a fun opportunity to teach kids about reusing seemingly worthless “junk” while creating a robot. Children can let their imaginations run wild as they design their robots, and they’ll be proud of the finished product.

Start collecting these items before beginning the project:

  • Empty recycled cardboard or metal boxes and containers of various sizes
  • Aluminium foil and/or silver plumber’s tape
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Assorted odds and ends such as junk mail (cut into small squares), jar lids, bottle tops, buttons, nuts and bolts, old CDs, pipe cleaners, game pieces, broken jewellery, and silk flowers

Keep an open mind when gathering the collection of odds and ends. Pretty much anything that can be glued down will work. If you’re working with a large group of kids, be sure to have plenty of junk for them to dig around in.

It’s a good idea to have a few finished robots on display before beginning the project. Try making traditional girl or boy robots, cats, dogs, or completely made-up creatures.

Follow these steps to make robots:

  1. Older kids can handle this first step, but younger ones (below age 9 or 10) may need some help. Use aluminium foil to wrap the empty boxes like a gift and secure the edges with tape. Try to keep the corners smooth so the box will stand up on its own. An optional variation on this step is to cover the boxes with silver tape.
  2. Have the children go through the collected embellishments and plan out their designs. Some of them may need help coming up with a design, but it will probably be surprising how creative they are on their own.
  3. Let the children take turns bringing their creations to the hot glue gun station. This can be a separate area or just a corner of the table where everyone is working. An adult or capable teenager should handle the gluing.

Children may be tempted to puncture the box to attach pointy embellishments, but this can cause the aluminium foil to tear. To prevent tearing, apply a piece of clear packing tape over the foil before punching any holes.

Even very young children can participate; have some small boxes that are already covered with tape or foil and supply sturdy foam stickers.

When the robots are complete, have the artists sign their work with permanent markers.