Taking items that have outlived their usefulness and putting them to work for you in another fashion is always fun, creative and beneficial at the same time. Children can have a lot of fun too with updating those recycling items to make them attractive for their new purpose.
Shoe boxes are one of my favorite things to reuse and they always have to be updated to look fashionable in my sewing/craft room. Letting a child cut out fabric squares and glue them onto the outside of the box and then trim with some rickrack is so cute and so much fun. Or if they are learning crochet, let them create some square motifs and glue them onto the outside of the shoe box and add buttons to give it a festive look. I love to use these boxes to store packages of bias tape, ribbons, hem tape, etc. Also, a great storage item to organize my crochet threads by colors and thread size.
Reuse the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels. I like to cut them in half and glue several together. Then you or your child can crochet just chain stitches to make a nice decorative trim to tie around the tubes. Crochet maybe three different colored chain ties and secure them around the tubes close to the top, middle and bottom for a fun look. These are a good way to store crochet hooks by sizes. Or some of those sewing items, like turning tools, pencils and/or markers, rulers, etc.
Also, plastic butter tubs or sour cream like containers and their lids are great ways to store pins, beads, machine needle packages or to use with some of your small to go type projects. You can cut a small opening in the lid, place a ball of yarn inside, pull your yarn through the opening in the lid, close it up and off you go to dance practice, little league practice, etc. Now you can crochet away and not lose your skein of yarn or have it fall on the floor and get dirty.
Have a recycling party and discover new and fun ways to reuse everyday items!!