Red Flags
Allow the children to be the builders and designers. Do not suggest what to build or how to create their structures. Assist them by holding parts together if additional hands are needed. Encourage children to build with recyclable materials. Each time they use them in different ways; there are infinite possibilities.

Questions to Ask
When looking through the recycling box: Do you see any square shapes?… rectangles?…circles?…triangles? Do they remind you of something else? Are there shapes like that at home? What would you like to do with these shapes? Encourage children to talk about what they made and how they made it.

Tips for Less Mess
Cover the work area with newspaper or plastic tablecloth while painting or complete activity outdoors.

Science Connection
Houses, office buildings, shopping malls and bridges are made up of shapes combined in different ways. What shapes do you see in your neighborhood?

To use your imagination while exploring recyclable materials, shapes and balance.

What You Need

  • Clean recyclables
  • Roll of tape for each child
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Glitter, buttons or other items which would add color or texture

    What to Do
    Ask children to select items of different shapes that would otherwise go in the recycling box. Encourage them to use the boxes, cans, paper rolls, etc. as building blocks. When the children complete a structure they would like to save, they can secure the parts with tape and/or glue. Complete the creation with desired decoration.

    Construct: To build or make
    Model: A representation of an existing object
    Recycle: To return something to useable form after it has been discarded or is no longer useful in its original form.
    Structure: Something made up of parts that are put together in a particular way.

    Try This
    Have the children look for items they would like to incorporate into their creations. Insects have three body parts and six legs. Can you make a model of an insect? Find some non-breakable objects such as a ruler, styrofoam plate, or a pen. Can you balance them on your finger? Keep moving the object on your fingertip until you find the place each will balance. What shape is easiest to balance? Why? Try balancing on one foot.

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