Recycled Treasures Art Project
This recycling activity helps children develop creative-thinking skills that they will use over and over again!
- Grades: PreK–K
- Two or three empty cardboard boxes to store recycled objects
- Collection of recycled materials including juice boxes, food containers, and Styrofoam
- Masking tape and string
- Chart paper and markers
Children will develop creative-thinking, social-development, and language skills and an awareness of the environment.
Set Up and Prepare
Collect recycled materials to show the class. Ask families to include their children in recycling chores at home.
Step 1: Write the word "recycle" on a sheet of chart paper. Discuss its meaning and ask children if they recycle at home. Can they name some materials that we recycle? Record their comments on chart paper.
Step 2: Invite the class to recycle materials and use them to create an art project. Show children some of your recycled items as an example of the types of materials they will use. Can they think of other materials that they could save and recycle? Record their suggestions.
Step 3: Ask children to look again at the recycled articles. Can they identify different materials such as paper, plastic, Styrofoam? Ask children to label a few boxes by material type so they can sort their objects.
Step 4: Once the children have collected a sufficient number of materials, plan a day for them to create recycled sculptures. Provide each group with a variety of materials, tape, and string. A teacher or classroom volunteer can provide assistance and encourage children to work together to plan and develop their ideas. Take several photographs of each group to document the development of their sculptures.
Step 5: Plan time for each group to show their sculptures. Encourage the class to ask questions and to notice differences and similarities between their sculptures. Find an area to exhibit children's work.
Step 6: Continue to encourage children to think of ways they can reuse materials. Keep additional containers in the classroom to store materials that can be used in areas such as the dramatic-play, block-building, art, sand and water, or math centers.
Curriculum Connection: Literacy
Our Recycled Treasure Book
Create a class book using the photographs of children creating their recycling sculptures. Ask children to help place photos in sequential order and glue them onto oaktag. Record their descriptions of each photograph and invite them to share any other information that they feel is important about their sculptures. Bind the pages together to create a book. Invite children to decorate the front and back covers.