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Learning to Save the Environment from a Social Distance

Are you at home with your kids now a lot more than you used to be? Are you looking for a fun and educational activity to do with them? The Junk Art Activity from the Waste in Place (WIP) curriculum is just the thing to combine education and fun! Waste in Place is a Keep America Beautiful educational resource developed for pre-K and up. It offers parents and educators hands-on activities related to end littering, improving recycling, and beautifying communities.

To get this activity started, you need to collect a few materials or have your child help collect these items with you. Luckily, as the name of the activity suggests, you can use almost anything in your home. So you don't need to go out and buy anything, but you'll just want to make sure to have some glue and scissors. You can collect some materials that you might have otherwise thrown away or recycled like:

  • Bottle caps, bottles, cans, empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls, clean empty milk cartons, clean empty juice jugs, empty egg cartons
  • Scraps of paper, old magazines and newspapers, cardboard pieces
  • Rubber bands, wire, ribbons, yarn
  • Tree branches, leaves, flowers, sticks

After getting all of the items together, you can begin to talk about them and how the items can be reused and repurposed. Try to make examples that are relatable to your life. If you have a hard time thinking of examples, for reuse you can talk about how you can reuse cardboard boxes to mail out different items. When explaining repurposing, you can talk about how old magazines or calendars can be repurposed as wrapping paper for presents. Now you can ask the children for their own examples of reuse and repurpose. Did they notice containers for leftover food getting reused? Or how about old bath towels turning into rags to wash cars or clean up dog messes? See how many examples they can come with or if they have new ideas to reuse or repurpose items around the home.

From here, you can get into the activity at hand, repurposing the "junk" into art! Give the children up to an hour to create a masterpiece and encourage them to show it off for an art show afterward. Try to get your apartment complex or neighborhood involved in the fun and you can all have a virtual art show. Display them in your windows for all to see and start a movement! Then you can get the whole community talking about ways you can be better reusers and repurposers! Here are a few pictures from some previous artists for inspiration.

Junk Art is just one educational activity out of over 40 in the WIP activity kit. If you're interested in learning more about WIP and how to bring it to your community, please register for the upcoming Intro to WIP webinar on Wednesday, April 8th.

Looking for more activities to do at home? Check out the Don't Mess with Texas Art Calendar Contest, or the Don't mess with Texas coloring book now available online to print.

​Blog Post Written By Sara Walters, Program Manager.  


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