For as long as I can remember, I've been drawn to the idea of creative reuse. My mom likes to remind me that I was "up-cycling clothes before 'up-cyling' even had a name."
From discarded fabric to windows to old trinkets and reclaimed terrarium contianers, my early days as a creative entrepreneur were all about finding ways to transform 'trash' into artistic treasures.
For this reason and many others, I always look forward to Earth Day as an ideal opportunity to teach kids about caring for our earth through creative recycling.
While our Elements of heART program often uses templates to introduce learning objectives and offer the choice for self-led learning, it's our messy projects and creation stations that are always the most memorable.
Over the years we have done: DIY stamps with recycled materials, found nature object art installations, nature object texture rubbings, rock paintings, mini upcycled DIY terrariums, and more. One of the most impactful parts of these projects is our students' focus on process over product.
This year students rotated into their choice of creation stations: making earth collages with scraps of old art and trash or using scraps of plastic (from used fruit containers and soda bottles) into their choice of functional art. We had necklaces, bookmarks, mini stained glass paintings to hang in the window, keychains, and a whole lot of fun turning trash into useful, beautiful objects.
Each year, we look forward to new ways to offer recycled art projects around Earth Day to emphasize the importance of conservation and open up discussions about ways we can care for our earth.
Regardless of what we create, there is something magical about watching a student throw perfection and mistakes out the window motivated by a desire to connect with their love and innate care for the earth.
Have kids? Earth Day or not, it's always a good time for an eco-friendly art project!