April is Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day which has been celebrated around the world since 1970. While our planet still faces many perils, thanks to the founders of Earth Day, we've come a long way in environmental reform and honoring Mother Earth with care and kindness.
Earth Month is an ideal time for kids to "play with the trash." They can learn about recycling and reusing items that might otherwise get thrown out and use them instead to create a fun recycled art project.
Cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, egg cartons, milk jugs, magazines, greeting cards, tin or aluminum cans, and more can provide tons of creative fuel for imaginative minds--not to mention that using them can save you a little bit of money too! There's a wealth of information and examples on the Internet on how to create art with recyclable or reusable items.
Paper tubes can be cut into diagonal shapes to create an abstract sculpture. Bottle caps can be turned into medallions or pendants. Lettering or images from magazines or cereal boxes are ideal for mosaics or collages. Egg carton cups can become cute little animals or bugs. Wondering what to do with that single sock? Turn it into a puppet! I even came across a recipe for making non-toxic paint to add eco-friendly color to projects on PlanetPals.com.
A good place to start is to create a bin or box marked "Recycled Art Projects" or some other more clever or cute name. As you collect recyclable materials for art projects, it's a perfect opportunity to teach your children how to recycle and why it's important for the environment. Let kids help with collecting trash from around the house and have them examine items before they get thrown out. Ask if they can be reused and go into their project box. Turn trash time into teaching time that will establish a life-long habit of caring for our planet.
Don't let environmental teaching moments stop at the trash bin. Set an example by your actions. Some suggestions: Always take reusable bags for shopping and limit your use of plastic or paper bags; use cloth napkins for meals; clean with rags, not paper towels, and use eco-friendly cleaners. Explain to your children why you are doing these things. Stress the importance of what you do and that no action is too small to make a difference.
For Earth Month 2015, FUNdamentally Toys is holding a recycled art project contest. Through April 22, kids are invited to create an original work of art using recyclable and natural materials. They can bring their projects in anytime after April 16. We'll have Facebook posts, voting and in-store display fun with them. We're also asking kids to explain the materials they used and how they created their projects.
We're looking forward to many creative and imaginative recycled masterpieces!
Debbie School, FUNdamentally Toys