Recycling Tree Activity

2.8 based on 4 ratings
Updated on Aug 27, 2013

Celebrate Earth Day with a decorative tree made out of strictly reused and recycled materials. Teach your child to treasure the environment by searching the house for paper, plastic, and other types of items to reuse as art materials. Try making a trunk out of paper towel tubes, leaves from shredded newspapers, and ‘plant’ your horticultural construction in a pot made out of an old (washed and dried) yogurt container. Your child will learn a valuable lesson on environmentalism and recycling while exploring the art of sculpture and other forms fo 3D art.  

What You Need:

  • Cardboard tube
  • Newspaper, magazines, or other used paper products
  • Yogurt or other plastic container
  • Fabric scraps
  • Stones or pebbles
  • Clear drying, non-toxic glue
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Research different types of plants and trees with your child. Help him to choose one to make. Look for a photograph or scientific drawing that matches your choice.
  2. Cut old newspapers, magazines, flyers, worksheets, or other paper items into leaves or strips.
  3. Attach the paper leaves to a cardboard tube trunk (or stem if your child is making a plant) with dabs of clear-drying glue.
  4. If your child has chosen to create a plant, help her to cut flower petals (if needed) out of the reused paper or fabric scraps. Attach these to the top of the cardboard tube with glue.
  5. Set aside to dry.
  6. ‘Plant’ your child’s creation in a reused plastic container. Fill the container with rocks or pebbles. Add some cut fabric scraps for colors. Firmly place the cardboard tube down through the rocks/pebbles in the center of the container.
  7. Add an extra step and paint your floral creation. Help your child to mix a rainbow of unique shades and hues, and then dab color onto the leaves, petals and more.
Erica Loop has an 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.

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