Who's in your recycling bin??
Let's face it, art materials aren't always cheap. And if they are, they can sometimes be annoyingly poor quality. There is nothing more frustrating than crayons or pencils that don't have enough pigment to leave a decent line, or textas that run out of oomph within days.
Children naturally want to make a mark, it's instinctive. "It is easy to dismiss the different lines and circles children create on paper as mere ‘scribbles’, but actually, children are mark making, the first step towards writing... Mark making opens the door for children to express themselves in a completely new way, offering them the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts without relying solely upon verbal communication." www.earlyyearscareers.com
Children want to create, construct and imagine, and they find it satisfying and fulfilling. Yet sometimes we are so wary of mess, or concerned about children wasting purchased art materials, that we stifle their gusto. That's where your very own recycling bin comes in. Think of it not as an annoying pile of garbage, but as a treasure trove of free materials that can be re-purposed to capture some of your child's creativity. Purchase (or invite as gifts) a few sturdy pencils or crayons, some washable paint, a gluestick and some masking tape, then rely on your recycling bin for the rest.
- mail: keep an A4 sized box handy to store nice and flat all that unwanted mail, those flyers and notices that pile up on your bench... each page is an awesome scribbling, drawing, pasting, cutting opportunity ready to go.
- boxes: we all know how much fun kids have with big boxes, but what about pulling the sides apart so kids can paint on the panels. The cardboard offers enough room and is sturdy enough to have some painterly fun. And even small, everyday boxes are worth saving. Each cereal box has 2 big sturdy panels, just right for some creative pasting. Toothpaste boxes make great cars and trucks. Egg cartons have endless possibilities, and make perfect palettes for holding paint.
- cards: birthday and Christmas cards are way too pretty for the bin, so tear off the front and save it in a box. It's fun to chop these into pieces and offer them with a gluestick for some colourful mosaic pasting. Same goes for gift wrapping paper, it's too colourful and lovely to go straight into the bin.
- cardboard rolls: these days creche and kinder can't reuse toilet rolls for crafting, but you can... add a face then decorate with scraps to make a bunch of happy little folk to play with. Those rolls from food wrap are sturdier, and ideal for constructing (just add masking tape).
- plastic: even when you avoid plastic bags, sooo many items (berries, stone fruit) come in plastic or cellophane boxes these days that I always seem to end up with a few. Use them for storing bits for pasting, or as palettes for paint. Chop them into shapes, punch with holes and give to kids with string for threading. Or just fill with water then add a great big housepaint brush for 'water painting' the path or fence on a hot day.