Arboretum News

Kids Activity: Recycled Jellyfish Windsock

Reuse plastic bags for a fun craft project.

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Recycled Jellyfish Windsock. Photo by Reba Luiken.

By Reba Luiken, Arboretum coordinator of informal interpretation

Reduce, reuse, and recycle in this project for the whole family, especially older kids.  Although I try to avoid plastic bags when I’m shopping, they seem to pile up in my kitchen.  This recycled jellyfish is an opportunity to use them up in a creative project that will help prevent the plastic from ending up in the ocean with the real jellyfish.


Milk carton (or other large container)
Plastic shopping bags
Hole punch
Tack & paper clip or other hanging materials

Optional Materials:
Permanent markers 
Other recycled materials

Start by cutting a milk carton in half. Photo by Reba Luiken.

Making the Top

1. Cut your milk carton in half.

2. Make holes in the top of your carton for hanging.  I used a tack and opened a paper clip to slide inside.  This is a good job for an older child or adult.

Punch holes in the bottom of the milk carton. Photo by Reba Luiken.

3. Use the hole punch to make holes near the bottom edge of your carton where you can attach your braids.

4. Optional: You can decorate the inside of your milk carton with permanent markers (washable markers will rub off) or get creative with other craft supplies you might have at home.

Making Braided Tentacles 

1. Cut your plastic bags so you have three strands (or more) to work with. Here are two examples: In the first, I cut one bag into three sections.  In the second, I cut three bags into long strips from one handle to the other to make a longer braid.

Cut the bag into three sections before braiding into a tentacle. Photo by Reba Luiken.
Make a longer tentacle braid by cutting the handles off three plastic bags. Photo by Reba Luiken.

2. Tie your strands together and start braiding! Different colored bags will make different designs.

3. Tie the end of your braid together and attach it to your top of your jellyfish. Repeat as many times as you’d like to make more tentacles.

4. Optional: Add ribbons or other decorations to your streamers. If you plan to have your windsock outside, you’ll want to make sure your materials are waterproof.

Extension: You might like to turn your windsock into a windchime! To do this, you can add additional recycled materials to the ends of your braids or add them in as you braid to include them in the middle of your project. 

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