Celebrate Earth Day by making colorful animal friends with recycled materials from around the house. This activity will spark your child's interest in DIY projects and teach her that many things we often see as trash can be re-purposed for other uses. Go on a scavenger hunt before you begin to hunt down as many recycled materials and objects as you can!
What You Do:
- Start by having your child pick an animal to make. Choose a favorite furry creature, or go with an animal from another country or continent. Try looking in animal books or on the Internet for inspiration.
- Now make your animal. Have your child decorate the soda bottle with reused fabrics, cut up pieces of old newspapers or magazines, or other textured materials. Encourage her to cut the decorations into shapes that match the patterns or markings on her animal's body, then attach the decorations with glue.
- What kind of head does your animal have? Use materials you have on hand to make a head for your animal. One idea is to use an old sock filled halfway with newspaper. Place the sock over the mouth of the bottle, then secure in place with a rubber band.
- Help your child add legs and a tail (if your animal has one). Trimmed toilet paper/paper towel tubes or egg carton segments are good ideas for legs, and old socks make great tails. Encourage your child to be creative, using whatever materials are available to create her animal's body parts.
- Now add ears, a face, and any other embellishments. Have her glue cut up pieces of recycled paper or cardboard to her animal's head for a face.
- Once the constructing is done, encourage your child to decorate her animal with markers or tempera paint, if using.
If you find that your animal is not standing up straight, try weighing it down with small rocks, gravel, or sand.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.