Using recycled items for art projects is a great way to teach your child how they can be kind to the earth and make something beautiful at the same time! Since they use common materials that you probably already have around the house, they also save money on craft supplies. These fun and creative projects are a perfect way to show your child how they can make a difference by recycling.
Tin Can Luminaries
For this project, you will need at least one tin can, a permanent marker, a hammer and a nail. Let your child choose a simple design such as a star, a flower or the first letter of her name. With the marker, use dots to outline the design on the tin can. Then hold the nail over a dot while your child carefully taps with the hammer to make a hole in the tin can. If your child is not used to working with a hammer, have her hold the nail while you guide her hand with the hammer. Continue making a hole for each dot until your design is complete. Place a small candle in your can and see your design glow!
Egg Carton Wreath
First cut out the middle of a stiff paper plate leaving just the rim. This will be your garland frame. Using a cardboard egg carton, cut out each individual egg cup. Then trim the top edges of each cup into petal shapes. You can make your flower petals pointy, rounded, fringed or a variety of each. Using tempera paint, your child can paint each flower in whatever colors or designs she chooses. Once the flowers are completely dry, glue them to your frame. Hang up your wreath with ribbon or twine. Your egg carton wreath is sure to brighten any door in your home.
Using old magazine paper, cut out long, thin triangle shapes. The small end of the triangle should be about one centimeter wide. With a glue stick, spread glue over the entire length of one paper triangle. Place a drinking straw along the small end of the triangle and roll the paper up until all of the paper is wrapped around the straw. Use scissors to trim the drinking straw so that you can only see the magazine bead. Take the remaining part of the straw and begin rolling your next bead. Let the beads dry, and then string them on thin ribbon or twine to make a unique necklace or bracelet!
Milk Carton Bird Feeder
For this project you will need a clean, dry milk jug, scissors, string or twine and a straight stick from your backyard. Use your scissors to cut a rectangle on each of the two opposite flat sides of the milk carton. Next use the tip of your scissors to poke a hole about an inch under each rectangle. Guide your stick through these holes and then trim it so that it extends from the milk carton a few inches on each side. This will be a perfect perch for the birds to sit on. Next, poke a small hole on each side near the top of the carton. Thread your string or twine through these holes. Now have your child decorate the feeder with markers, stickers or paint. Pour birdseed in the bottom of your new feeder, hang in a tree and watch the birds flock to their new favorite spot.
First, using acrylic paint diluted with a small amount of water, paint your sheets of newspaper. Paint both sides in whatever colors you like. You want to cover almost all of the paper, but be careful not to saturate the paper or it will rip. Once your newspaper is completely dry, cut out simple shapes such as hearts or circles. Take an embroidery needle and thread it with thin twine or string. Pierce the first shape with the needle and weave in and out once. Continue with each shape until your garland is complete. Hang your garland and enjoy!
Cereal Box City
Collect a variety of food boxes from items such as cereal, macaroni and cheese, crackers or butter. Make sure to use a variety of shapes and sizes. Carefully deconstruct the boxes, reconstruct them inside out and seal with tape. If you do not want to deconstruct the boxes, you can also wrap them in plain paper like a present. Talk with your child about the different kinds of buildings that make up a city such as houses, stores, churches, community centers, libraries and companies. Using markers, paint or crayons, your child can color each box so that he has a city of his own. If you have a large shipping box, deconstruct it and lay it flat. Now design your city by placing your buildings around the cardboard and drawing roads, trees, flowers. Drive your toy cars around or have your dolls or figurines move into Recycle City!