Art Experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Earth Day art

I am pretty gung-ho about recycling, conserving resources and generally saving the planet. I am also a passionate artist and educator. Sometimes I find these ideals in conflict with each other. I utilize natural elements such as sticks, rocks and sand in creating art projects. I find ways to make art out of recyclables and items that people give away or throw away such as fabric scraps and packing peanuts. However, in order to embrace all that art has to offer, I need to buy things. Often things that are not environmentally conscientious, like paint, foam sheets and wood. And I need to throw things away, sometimes lots of things – paper that has paint on it, various tough to clean containers, unusable or broken supplies. I feel a bit guilty about generating more trash at my job than at my house.

However, it is all in the name of learning. Especially when you are creating with young children, there is a lot of waste. They are not adept at conserving and we should not limit their resources. We need to provide our children a large variety and quantity of materials to give them the freedom they need to experiment and therefore learn.

We have emphasized Earth Day issues with our preschoolers all week, and many of us do this all year long. Today being Earth Day, we put together a fun set of activities to celebrate.

Nature Bugs – the children had a handful of clay to use as the basis for their bug. On the table were items from nature such as rocks, sticks, acorns, a variety of colored beans, various types of seed pods and spent flowers. There were no googly eyes, pipe cleaners or plastic beads. The kids had a blast! Did their creations look like bugs? Many did not, but the point is that they created using only natural materials that were also very interesting to work with.

I Love Earth tee shirts – I have some reservations about painting a t-shirt in celebration of Earth Day because first, consumerism is not much of a way to celebrate anything, and second, by purchasing t-shirts we are consuming cotton, the second-most pesticide sprayed crop in the world (the first being corn).  However, it turned out that creating our t-shirts was a great way to promote awareness. I placed foam letters that spelled “I <heart> Earth” on the shirt and had the kids place wood shapes of flowers and butterflies around it. Then together we sprayed on fabric paint diluted with water. The children took the stencils off and loved the resulting white shapes! They were really proud of their creations and enjoyed wearing them all day.

Shoe Garden – Parents brought in shoes that were worn out or too small and the children put soil in them, planted seeds and watered them. A great lesson in recycling and reusing items in new ways. The shoes looked very inviting placed in a circle around a large tree on the playground and hopefully soon they will start sprouting.

The personal lesson I took away from today is that the best we can do is much more than doing nothing at all. I help teach a new generation important lessons about our environment all year long. I give children opportunities to create with natural materials. I am not going to be fanatical about recycling every glue container. I am not going to limit my students to one piece of paper each in the name of conservation. When I step back and look at the big picture, I feel great about the efforts I am making to raise awareness and connect with our Earth. What are you doing?

Advertisements

Hi! I'm Susan Stein and of my many passions in life,
two of my biggest are art and children. In the process of teaching children art, I also teach them problem solving, brainstorming, inventive thinking, originality, working with others, hand eye coordination, and so much more. It doesn't matter if you're good at drawing or not, everyone will benefit from experiencing art.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2 other followers