Think before dumping household junk into the garbage can, as children may want to use it for art projects. Yes, junk! Believe it or not, many items that are otherwise known as trash can be used to create an array of arts and crafts projects – and if this trash is gathered neatly in a decorated “junk box”, they’ll be more accessible to young crafters.
Smaller pieces of junk can be used to create a colourful mosaic – a picture made of tiny items. Glue materials such as bottle caps, broken toy parts, or torn notebook covers, into a pattern on a piece of cardboard or sturdy paper. Dried foods, such as rice, seeds, beans, and even egg shells also make mosaics appealing.
Rather than a pattern, children may choose to make a representational mosaic of a dog or a house. Have them first draw the figure on the cardboard, then they can glue on the small junk pieces to fill inside the shape.
Masks can be made from cardboard and paper bags. A unique idea is to make masks from wire frames (coat hangers) and pantyhose. Construct the frame in any shape you wish. Slip the pantyhose leg up and around the frame and knot the cut end.
Encourage the kids to create whimsical faces and characters by gluing on recycled materials on the front surface. Think of things that will glue onto this soft nylon, such as felt, fabric scraps, construction paper, yarn and cotton. There are no safety issues with these masks as children can see through the nylon.
Collage making comes from the French, as the word means “to glue.” Using a piece of heavy cardboard as a backing, have the children glue items together to form a collage (flat on cardboard) or a collage sculpture.
For young children, provide a theme to work with, such as a shape collage, which would focus on squares, circles, and other geometric figures cut out of fabric, felt, construction paper, buttons and styrofoam. Another theme kids love are colour collages where they concentrate on one colour and add miscellaneous objects of that colour to the board.
The Perfect Junk Box
Design a special box to hold all these recyclables collected. This makes obtaining art materials easy for children. Keep it filled with materials such as, fabric, wallpaper samples, coloured paper, egg cartons, buttons, cardboard, packing peanuts, styrofoam, plastic water bottles, bottle caps (lids), yarn, felt, cotton, magazines, small boxes and broken toy pieces.
Think junk, when rainy days come around or the “I’m bored” situations happen. Just bring out the junk box and challenge the children to make a flat art project or sculpture with recycled materials. What a way to go green, save the Earth and have fun along the way. And when the masterpieces have long been forgotten, they can be recycled again in the nearest recycle bin