Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easy Earth Day Fun

Earth day is just around the corner, and my post today involves teaching kids creative ways to reuse and recycle--there are fun ways to introduce them to lifelong green habits!  Recently, we took home plastic cups from a friend's party and cleaned them thoroughly.  These cups often can't be recycled, so they just sit and fill up landfills.  By making art from them, you are doing your small part to save our planet. Here is how it's done:

First, pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees. Cut the cups in a circle along the outside lines or ridges.  Next, you can color the bottom of the cups with any type of permanent marker.  For this activity, we wanted to use the entire cup, so we made little planet earths and planets as well as some dress-up bracelets.  If you want to make a mobile or hanging sculpture, you should punch holes through the cup BEFORE you put it in the oven. Heating the plastic thickens and shrinks it, but it only takes one minute and barely smells at all. Once the plastic is colored with marker, the plastic goes in the oven for less than one minute. You should watch the cups through the window of your oven to make sure they do not shrink too much. Here are some pictures showing how we made unique earth day crafts:

You will need the following:

recycled cups
scissors for cutting the cups

sharpies or any permanent marker works well

 Here are the steps:

cut the cup into three parts - bottom part is for making the globe and the middle and top parts will be dress-up bracelets
using green and blue permanent markers, make the planet earth 

He is also coloring the top ring of the cup to make bracelets for his sister

taping down the ring stops it from moving

ready for the oven

our plastic planets


Our new dress up bracelets

After completing our cutting of the cups, we had so many plastic scraps from the middle parts of the cups and I just didn't feel right about throwing them out.   I had Jake color the scraps green and blue.  Then I cut them into tiny pieces and put them into the oven. With the cooked pieces and a recycled take-out container, we made a mixed-media "Earth" window hanging. It is transparent and takes on the appearance of "stained glass."  Jake had fun making it and I think it turned out beautiful.

Here is how we did it:
we took an old take-out container and Jake drew where he wanted the land (green) and the water (blue) to go

once he mapped it out (no pun intended), he glued the entire surface

then he began gluing his "cooked" plastic pieces

Finished product next to our other earths:

1 comment:

  1. So great you are teaching your kids about earth day!