Create a Recyclable Creature
Want a fun activity to do with your child that uses recycled materials, a little imagination and some writing skill practice? Have your child build his very own recycled creature! He’ll have a ball building a creature from recyclable plastic bottles, metal cans, newspaper and cardboard, then writing up an exclusive interview when he’s finished.
This project will not only help your child learn how to plan, create and problem solve, but it will give him some practice with dialogue writing too. And the best part is that you don’t even have to go to the store to buy any materials!
What You Need:
- Recycled materials (soda bottles, cans, cardboard, paper towel rolls, aluminum foil, etc.)
- Scotch tape or glue
- Lined paper
What You Do:
- Go to the recycle bin with your child and tell him that he’ll be making his very own creature out of recyclable materials. Have him look through the materials and start collecting items he think he will want to use.
- Give your child some lined paper and have him make a design plan for his creature. Explain that a diagram will probably be the most helpful method to use since it can show what materials will make up which body part.
- Lay some newspaper down to protect a table or other surface.
- Give your child the scissors, tape and glue and have him start creating! Reiterate that there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to do this – what this creature looks like is entirely up to him!
- When he’s done creating his recyclable creature, encourage your child to talk to you about it. If he’s having some difficulty, ask him to name his creature and imagine what it is like. Does his creature have special powers? Is it an alien? What does it like to do? Where does it come from? Talking about the creature this way will spark your child’s imagination and will give him some ideas for his interview.
- After discussing all the possibilities, encourage your child to come up with a list of questions to ask the creature to prepare for the interview. Coming up with at least five questions and no more than ten is a good range. Have him write each question down on a piece of paper and leave some space for the answers.
- Now comes the fun part! After each question your child needs to imagine how his creature might answer. What would it say? How would it say it?
- When he’s done writing his answers, read over the interview together – you can play the role of the interviewer, and your child can play the role of the creature. Encourage him to make any changes to his writing since reading it out loud will allow him to hear any mistakes or awkward-sounding sentences.
- You can always use this creature as a source for other writing genres. For example, you can have your child write a “how to” piece explaining how one can build a creature like this. He can create a short story about his creature or even write a poem about it. The possibilities are endless!
Vanessa Genova DeSantis has been teaching for fourteen years in public and private elementary and middle schools. She's also an educational freelance writer as well as a private tutor for elementary, middle and high school students.