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Friday 7 November 2014

Milk Carton City

We drink a lot of milk in our house. I mean a lot. Milk is such an important part of our family's day. We drink it by the glass, pour it on our cereal, blend it in smoothies, bake with it, and the grown ups in our house drink a lot of lattes. We just love our milk.

All that milk means a lot of empty milk cartons. The milk cartons usually go into the recycling bin but sometimes it's fun to recycle them ourselves by getting a little creative.

Looking at all the milk cartons in our recycling bin recently brought to mind an image of row houses; the picture perfect kind that you see throughout Europe. I mentioned this to Ava and Lola and right away they decided that they should turn empty milk cartons into a little play city.

So we got to work collecting milk cartons and today the girls and I recycled all those empty milk cartons into little houses and buildings. What fun!

The girls had so much fun playing architect while creating their milk carton city. It really got them thinking about the different ways that they can recycle and reuse items rather than just throwing them in the trash. They were also keen to drink a lot of milk to empty cartons faster! Anything that encourages kids to fill up on the goodness of milk and recycle their trash is good in my books!

Want to get creative with your kids and make a milk carton city too? It's a fun craft activity for a rainy afternoon and once they're done your kids will have their very own little city to play with over and over. Plus, it's a great way to encourage your kids to drink more milk. The more milk they drink, the more buildings they can create!

Here's a look at how we made our milk carton city...

What you'll need
Empty milk cartons
Acrylic paint
Paper (magazines, catalogs etc)
Assorted materials ie. drinking straws, glitter

First up you'll need to make sure that your milk cartons are thoroughly cleaned with soapy water. Fresh milk is great, but old, sour milk not so!

Once the milk cartons are dry give them a base coat with white acrylic paint. This will give your little artists a solid blank canvas to work on. I also stapled the tops of the milk cartons closed before the kids got to work creating their buildings.

Once the base coat is dry your little architects can get to work designing their buildings! My girls painted their buildings in an assortment of colors. Some just one color, some different colors on each side and some a mix of colors all over. We stuck with lighter colors to ensure that any details added later with marker would stand out.

Time for the roofing. We gave our buildings shingled roofs made from cut up catalogs. I chose colorful pages from catalogs and cut them into small squares. The girls then chose their favorite pieces and got to work tiling the angled section of the milk cartons.

To achieve a shingled look, start at the bottom of the roof and work your way up. Paint a line of glue and attach a row of individual paper squares. Then paint another line of glue slightly above the paper squares and attach the next row. Keep going in this fashion until you reach the top.

Now for some details. My girls used markers to draw on doors, windows, vines, signage, plants, people etc. The smaller cartons were transformed into houses while the taller cartons became apartment buildings with row after row of windows. The largest carton became City Hall - or, as you'll notice in the pictures, "City Hole"! Ah, seven year old spelling!

Finish up with any extras your little architects would like to add. Let your kids go crazy with their imagination here. Ava added drinking straws as down pipes and Lola decided that her buildings needed glitter. Glitter makes everything better!

Once the paint and glue are dry and the details are all added there's only one thing left for your kids to do... Play with their colorful new milk carton city!

This really is such a fun way to recycle milk cartons and a great way to get your kids drinking more milk. Trust me, they'll be asking for it by the glassful in order to empty those cartons faster!

For more information on the importance of milk in your children's diet and delicious recipes visit Got Milk?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by ‘Got Milk?’ through their partnership with POPSUGAR. 
While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about ‘Got Milk?’, all opinions are my own.


  1. Those buildings are nicer than our apartment building! Good work girls.

  2. Love this activity idea -- so clever! Pinning this and going to start saving our cartons for rainy-day city creating.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I am a Montessori Lower Elementary teacher. That is, I teach 1st-3rd grade. We just started school and I've been thinking about how I can add community to their learning tomorrow. I also really wanted to add the milk cartons. We receive free breakfast every morning. So, this could be a very fun way to do so!


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