Teach Kids Art Using Recyclables

Edited by Vanessa Alexandra Avisado, Anonymous, Lynn, Alma and 1 other

Long vacations during summer, term breaks and Christmas are much awaited times for kids. When they are without school responsibilities and assignments, some may look forward to spending all their time on the internet. Parents, however, should try to wean them time by showing them other options that can awaken their artistry and creativity. You can teach them a new activity that is productive and fun.

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Why not introduce them to the importance of recycling and help them become more aware of their impact on the environment. Get them involved in making recycle crafts, and they can even help reduce your household wastes.

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What is recycling?

Recycling is a method to convert discarded materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, and to reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, lower energy usage, and prevent air pollution.

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Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" waste hierarchy.

Recycling Symbol

The universal recycling symbol is an internationally recognized sign that can be used to designate recyclable materials. It is represented by three mutually chasing arrows that form a Möbius strip (an unending single-sided looped surface).

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The symbol now appears on lots of everyday items to help identify which different parts of packaging can be recycled.

Understand all the packaging symbols you see at home

  1. 1
    The Green Dot.
    The Green Dot does not necessarily mean that the packaging can be recycled. It is a symbol used on packaging in many European countries signifying that the producer has contributed to the recycling of the packaging. {
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  2. 2
    Plastics.
    This symbol identifies the type of plastic, namely PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or HDPE (high-density polyethylene).
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  3. 3
    Glass.
    The symbol indicates, "Please dispose of glass, bottles and jars in a bottle bank" (but remember to separate by colors) or use your glass curbside collection if available.
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  4. 4
    Recyclable Aluminium.
    You can take aluminium to an aluminium recycling facility.
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  5. 5
    Recyclable Steel.
    You can bring this into a steel recycling facility.
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  6. 6
    Möbius Loop.
    This indicates that an object is capable of being recycled – not that the object has already been recycled.
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  7. 7
    Möbius Loop with Percentage.
    This symbol shows the percentage of recycled material contained in the product.
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  8. 8
    Paper.
    The stamp of the National Association of Paper Merchants (NAPM) on paper or cardboard means they are made from a minimum of 75 percent genuine waste paper and/or board fiber, no part of which contains factory-produced waste particles.
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Ways to Begin Teaching your Kids to Recycle

  1. 1
    Read a book together.
    There are several books about recycling geared toward children. Reading is a good start for you to introduce the importance of recycling to your kids. Suggested books are:  
    1. Recycle: A Handbook for Kids (by Gail Gibbons)
    2. Michael Recycle (by Elle Bethel and Alexandra Colombo)
    3. "The Adventure of a Plastic Bottle", A Story About Recycling (by Allison Inches)
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  2. 2
    Involve your kids in recycling.
     
    1. To start with, set up recycling bins in your home. Ask your kids to paste pictures of what can go into it on each bin. Encourage them to clean and sort items, if necessary, before doing the recycling.
    2. To involve younger children, a reward system can encourage them to recycle.
    3. Set a goal for the target number of items they have to recycle for a week, monitor their progress and give them a reward or incentive when they meet the target. Put up a chart with stickers. Think of rewards that are eco-friendly like a new houseplant for your child's room, or making a toy made from recycled materials or allowing him to play outdoors.
    4. Stores require a container deposit for cans and bottles. Let your children gather and return the bottles and let them keep the money from what they return.
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  3. 3
    Let your kids know what can be recycled.
    Show your child the items that can go in the recycling bin, what cannot be recycled, and what can be salvaged for recycling at a later date, like batteries and electronics.
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  4. 4
    Make a trip to you local recycling center.
    Pre-arrange your trip to show your child the different kinds of items being recycled there and how the process works. If you are not sure where to locate one, search Earth 911. Inquire also if they offer guided tours.
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  5. 5
    Campaign drives for recycling.
    Be a good model to your child. Involve the whole family in the school and community recycling campaigns. If there is no recycling drive yet, you can spearhead one.
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  6. 6
    Practice composting.
    Collect leftover food scraps and make compost pile in your yard. If you have no yard, buy a compost bin.
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  7. 7
    Get crafty.
    With the many recyclables in your home (paper, cardboard boxes, glass and plastic bottles, aluminium cans and newspaper), you can give your children some worthwhile art activities to start and finish.
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Fun and Crafty Ways to Teach Kids Art Using Recyclables at Home

  1. 1
    Wonderful wrappings for all occasions.
     
    1. Look for brown paper grocery bags stashed under the sink that eventually will be thrown away as trash also. Turn them over to your resident artists - your kids. Let them decorate with holiday drawings or other themed art. Now you can drop a gift in each bag and tie with pretty ribbons or yarn you also found in your drawers. Have the kids punch a couple of holes at the top of each side and insert the ribbons or yarn, which will now serve as handles.
    2. Use your old newspaper or magazine as a wrapper.
    3. Used aluminium foil can be used to wrap wine bottles that you intend to give as gifts.
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  2. 2
    Grocery and cosmetic products that come in attractive bottles can be reused, so do not toss them away.
    Let kids wash them instead in hot, sudsy water and and then refill them with items like bath salts, Christmas candy, potpourri, spices, coffee beans or your homemade spaghetti sauce. Kids can put a bow on the bottle neck and then it's ready as a kitchen display or a gift to friends.
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  3. 3
    Let child string buttons on a length of string or nylon fishing line for a fun necklace or bracelet.
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  4. 4
    Fun games at home:
    Empty 2-liter soda bottles can be a rainy day fun for children to set up as a bowling game or as knockovers for toys like bulldozers or construction trucks.
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  5. 5
    A Christmas tree made of magazines.
    Let your child choose two magazines, preferably small, hard ones. Glue or staple them together, and follow these steps:  
    1. Take the corner flap of the page and fold it inward to make a triangle.
    2. Fold the same flap to the center again.
    3. Repeat the steps with every page of the magazine.
    4. Do not fold the cover yet until you've folded at least five pages. You won't get mixed up this way.
    5. Squeeze the folded pages every now and then so they don't get in the way as you fold the other pages.
    6. When you are finished with your first magazine, make another one.
    7. You need to make two halves from two magazines.
    8. When you have two halves done, glue or staple them together. When gluing the topmost page, squeeze it for a while or hold onto it because it tends to come unstuck and open up.
    9. Use construction paper or a cylinder to hold your tree up.
    10. Now you have a Christmas tree.
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  6. 6
    Toilet paper (TP) cardboard tube crafts:
     
    1. Glue a Popsicle stick handle to the TP roll to make a puppet.
    2. Cut 2 inches round from a cardboard or craft foam to attach under the TP roll to make cute little pencil holders.
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  7. 7
    Laundry detergent lid bells.
    Collect clean laundry detergent lids of different colors. Ask a parent to punch small holes on top of each lid. Tie a jingle bell onto a piece of yarn or string of your desired length. Slip the yarn through the hole and knot it to make the lid to stay in place. Pull an ornament hook through the knot and hang it on your Christmas tree.
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  8. 8
    Treasure Box.
    Have children use their empty shoe boxes as storage for their treasures. They can decorate them using art materials.  
    1. Paint the outside of the box using colorful acrylic paint and let it dry well.
    2. Use an assortment of stickers, magazine cut-outs, stencils or paint to decorate the box.
    3. To add glamour, glue some plastic gems and beads.
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There are endless craft ideas children can do with recyclables at home. Teach your kids to transform something every day, and set aside recyclable items for future craft projects or other uses at home.

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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • Once you are finished with your packaging, look at the label to see if it indicates that it can be recycled. Remember, not all packages have a recycling label, but if it doesn't, that doesn't mean it can't be recycled. If you're not sure what can be recycled in your place, check the postcode locator.
  • Supervise your young kids as they handle recyclables, especially those that could break or injure them. These may include glass containers or aluminium cans with sharp edges.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Visual Arts

Recent edits by: Alma, Lynn, Anonymous

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