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RECYCLING LESSONS AND ACTIVITIES (ART FROM ANY OLD THING)
Architecture Lessons for Kids
Many years ago, we worked in a public art gallery where the art room was shared by many instructors, as were the art materials. More often than not each class was an exercise in making three sheets of paper stretch into thirty art projects. Every week we had a choice to make. Do we throw up our hands in defeat or do we make due and improvise?
Over time it was a given that before each class began, we would take a trip to the recycle room. It was there that we found inspiration as wild and wonderful project ideas jumped out at us from deep within recycle bins and throwaway boxes. We made musical instruments from flower pots, gargoyles from coffee trays and relief carvings from drywall. The more we made, the more we dreamed up.
The following ideas will inspire you to reduce, reuse and recycle!
~Andrea & Jan
Elementary - Grades Kindergarten through Six (6); Ages 4 through 12
Middle - Grades Seven (7) through Eight (8); Ages 13 through 14
Secondary - Grades Nine (9) through Twelve (12); Ages 14 through 19 (and up)
ART SAVERS Elementary
Kids will have fun making one of these handy “art savers" which they can use to transport their works of art. From Charlotte Riley.
BEAN MOSAICS Elementary
Students will learn about mosaic techniques as they create a mosaic using dried beans and peas. From Kimberly Jensen.
BIRD FEEDER Elementary
Providing an easy way for children to give back to the environment. From Adrienne Bolles.
BIRDHOUSE Elementary, Middle
A lovely one-season birdhouse made from recycled household materials. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
BODY COLLAGE Elementary
A Me, Myself and I project. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
BOTTLE CAP LOCKET Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Cheri Lord shows you how to create clever lockets using recycled bottle caps.
BUG VILLAGE Elementary, Middle, Secondary
All you need for this craft are a few sticks, some acorn tops, rocks, and imagination! From Amanda Formaro.
CLAY - ALL ABOUT CLAY
An important look at this timeless raw material along with some do's and don'ts. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
CLAY COIL CONTAINERS - POTTERY Elementary
Students will learn how to build a container with clay, using coil and slab hand-building techniques. From Lauren Geggus.
CLAY HEADS Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Creating sculptural works with clay. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
CLOTHESPIN MAGNETS Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Amanda Formaro shows you how to create treasure from trash.
COFFEE CAN DRUM Elementary
A simple method of creating a fun sounding drum. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
COFFEE FILTER FRIDGE MAGNETS Elementary
Making butterflies from coffee filters. From: Sarah Cannington.
COLORFUL COASTERS Elementary
A great gift idea that makes use of recycled materials found around the home. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
COSMIC MOBILE Elementary
A fun and easy project for kids of all ages. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
CUTLERY WIND CHIMES Elementary, Middle
Recycle plastic cutlery and a paper plate to make a set of wind chimes. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
EGG CUP FLOWERS Elementary
Create fabulous flowers by recycling egg cartons! Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
FABRIC ASSEMBLAGE Elementary, Middle, Secondary
What to do with scraps of burlap & canvas. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
GARGOYLES Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Making gargoyles out of coffee trays. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
GROCERY BAG KITES (Paper Bags) Elementary, Middle
Fly a kite made from paper grocery bags and paint. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
HANDMADE PAPER Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Make your own paper using recycled materials. From Eva D'Amico.
LEAF PEOPLE Elementary
What to do with that big pile of leaves in your backyard? Make leaf people of course. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
MAGAZINE MOSAICS Elementary, Middle
Using magazines or photos, you can achieve an effect similar to mosaics formed of glass, clay or stone. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
MEDIA COLLAGE Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Take a close look at print advertising and product packaging. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
MILK CARTON PEN POT Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Micky Carline shows you how to create a cool pen holder using an old milk carton and some magazines.
MILK CARTON HOUSES Elementary
An architectural activity that makes use of materials normally thrown in the garbage. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
MINI VASE Elementary, Middle
Recycle paper (or plastic) drinking cups to make a mini vase. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
NAPKIN RINGS Elementary, Middle
Recycle paper towel or toilet paper rolls to make napkin rings. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
NYLON SNAKE Elementary
Here's a way to use up those colorful plastic cups & plates used at birthday parties and school events. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
PAINTED ROCKS Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Using paint and glue, students can create wonderful works of art while learning about geology! Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
PAINTED SHOES Elementary, Middle
Canadian artist Theodore Dragonieri paints, collages and reconstructs old shoes to represent great artists of the 20th century. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
PEBBLE PICTURES Elementary, Middle
Add another dimension to paintings using pebbles found at the beach. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
PERSONAL NOTES Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Recycling your child's drawings, from Windie.
PIE PLATE FISH Elementary
The underwater world serves as wonderful inspiration for artists of all ages. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
PLANT DYE PAINTS Elementary, Middle
Students will learn that plants are a source of natural dyes and paints. From Kim Swanger.
PLUSH PAINT PAIL PALS Elementary, Middle, Secondary
When your kids have finished off the paint in those little plastic containers, what do you do with them? How about making these darling little magnets! From Amanda Formaro.
PUMPKIN SEED MOSAIC Elementary
Mosaics are made of tiny colored pieces of stone, pottery, glass or other materials, arranged together and set in plaster or cement to make patterns and images. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
PUZZLE PIECE PICTURE FRAME Elementary
Use up those puzzle pieces and create a unique picture frame.
PUZZLE TREES Elementary
Trees from recycled puzzle pieces. A great idea from Judith Walsh.
RECYCLED CARD BOX Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Ten year old Joshua gives new life to old greeting cards by turning them into functional boxes.
RELIEF FOIL SCULPTURE Middle
A shining example of what you can do with aluminum foil. From Kimberly Hutts.
SKETCHBOOKS! MAKE YOUR OWN Elementary, Middle, Secondary
A great way to start the new year is to create a place for all of your clever creations.
SCRAP WOOD SCULPTURES Elementary
Grab a box of wood scraps and create a masterpiece. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater.
STAMP BOX Elementary, Middle
A great indoor craft project, stamp boxes make wonderful Father's Day gifts.
TIN CAN SCULPTURE Elementary, Middle, Secondary
Students will use reusable objects and individual creativity to create wonderful sculpture. Submitted by: Jeanne C. Wolf. [read more]
TIN PUNCHING Elementary
A creative idea from Patti Beckman
TWIG CONSTRUCTION Elementary
Children will learn about homes as they design and make a twig and leaf shelter to accommodate a toy teddy. From Catherine Bamess.
WASTE NOT PICTURE FRAMES Elementary, Middle, Secondary
These easy and personalized frames make wonderful gifts for relatives. From Amanda Formaro.
WASTE NOT SNOWMAN Elementary, Middle, Secondary
There are plenty of crafts you can make from items found around the house, or even those headed for the garbage can. From Amanda Formaro.
Sculpture, Crafty Ideas and Multicultural Art lesson plans for even MORE great Art On A Shoestring ideas!
Good Earth Art : Environmental Art for Kids
by Maryann Kohl
Over two hundred projects for painting and drawing, sculpture and mobiles, collage and printing, weaving and crafts, and handmade art supplies emphasize recycling and natural materials.
by Laurie Carlson
The bestselling author of Kids Create! combines her intuitive sense of each child's need for self-expression and interaction with nature with her wealth of imaginative experiences. All the projects use recyclable, reusable, household materials and/or items found in nature.
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