Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Open-Ended Recycled Art

One of the coolest ways to spend a summer day (or any day!) is to do some art with recycled materials :) If you're like me, these days your recycling bucket fills faster than your actual trash ... So try a little trash to treasure creativity! Some of those items sitting right now in your recyclable bucket will inspire your child's imagination. Make sure to start off with absolutely no plan in mind ... just bring out some materials that could be interesting and let your children explore.

If you need a launching point, try examining an egg carton together and do some verbal brainstorming with your little ones. "What could we make with this? What animals have bumps like this?" Maybe they will want to paint and personalize the outside and use it to collect cool stuff on a nature walk. Then, see what other ideas they have! Egg cartons can become so many things -  bugs, caterpillars, finger puppets ... there is no limit to what your children might think of. (If you do a search online for egg carton crafts, you will find all sorts of ideas.) Your child might be inspired to make a whole collection of insects or other animals by dividing the carton up (adult help needed for cutting) and using markers, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners.

Boxes are another source of unlimited creativity. Use empty cereal or cracker boxes to make a whole town, farm, or big city to play with. Cover boxes with craft or construction paper and your child can personalize with details, such as doors, windows, and even signs for businesses. Lay it down. add wheels, and it becomes a vehicle.
The important thing is to let your children take ownership of the activity, with limited prompting and assistance from you!

Cardboard tubes are cool - there is always something to make with them! Paper towel rolls can be telescopes for pirates or adventurers. Smaller tubes can become binoculars with a little imagination, string, and some markers. Your children may want to connect some tubes and make tunnels to send some bouncy balls or tiny cars through.

Don't overlook your junk mail, either. Your little guys can use recyclable newspapers and magazines to practice cutting things on lines, and then gluing those cutouts or papers into collages of favorite things or mosaic designs. Toy store fliers and catalogs are particular favorites for little ones :)

Have fun!

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