I'm not sure why, but I have always been pretty enthusiastic about Earth Day. I've done library programs for it in the past, but took a break for a while when my effort to use only recycled materials became daunting instead of fun. This year I decided to get back into it, only I told myself each craft only needed to include one recycled material, instead of being completely recycled. Plus, as I think I have mentioned many times before, I really prefer to do programs with several simple crafts, rather than one longer one. So that's what I did! Recycled Crafts for Earth Day.
I had a small yet appreciative group of 3-5-year-olds (and their parents) and four crafts for them to make, each including at least one recycled material, in an open, unstructured type of program. There was one craft per table and the families moved around from table to table to try their hands at whatever they wanted for the duration of the time. And, as usual, I accompanied the evening with a playlist! Here's what we did:
Toilet Paper Tube Black Bears
I got the idea for these little guys from CreativeFamilyFun.net (but found it on Pinterest). I was looking for a simple toilet paper roll craft that didn't require cardboard cutting, too many pieces, or too much letting paint/glue dry. In the end I settled on this, even though it required painting, because all the tubes could be painted the same color so I was able to do it ahead of time. Plus LOOK HOW CUTE. I put out the pre-painted black tubes, small squares of brown construction paper, scissors, black markers, glue sticks, tape, and self-adhesive googly eyes (the biggest of these from Oriental Trading). The kids and parents liked this project, however I decided this one was more parent-heavy and required less from the kids than I prefer. Maybe it would have been better for a slightly older crowd. Even still, it was fun for the families and the final product was really cute.
Baby Food Pouch Cap Spiders
From Pinterest again, these were technically a Halloween craft from Plum organics, but were surprisingly the stand out hit of this program! The kids LOVED these little guys. Everyone wound up making several spiders, parents included! And they were so easy! The only things I'd put out were caps from baby food pouches, pre-cut-in-half piper cleaners, and self-adhesive googly eyes (the smallest of these from Oriental Trading). Then, I showed the whole group how to weave the pipe cleaners from one side of the cap to the other (as seen here) and then sort of bend them so they'd stay in place and seem "spidery." The googly-eyes, while self-adhesive, were a little delicate for small hands so I helped the kids out a little there too, but overall everyone really really liked these!
Bubble Wrap and Paper Plate Jellyfish
After an entirely Internet-purchased holiday season, I did a lot of Pinteresting to find a good bubble wrap craft that I felt comfortable with. I had considered just bubble wrap painting and maybe I should have gone that route, but instead I decided on this cute little jellyfish that I found on GluedToMyCraftsBlog.com (from Pinterest) that I really liked! I thought it was perfect: didn't require too much in the way of supplies and allowed for creativity. BUT NOBODY MADE IT! So disappointing! One family took the supplies home and, for everyone else, it was ignored. To be fair, I didn't have a huge turnout to begin with and the program was only 30-minutes but still. Not one kid even attempted the craft at this table. Next time I'll do the painting instead!
CD Sun Catchers
This one was so easy, there's almost nothing to say about it! I put out old CDs, ribbon, and these self-adhesive gems from Oriental Trading and then let the kids go to town decorating! I got the idea from HappyHooligans.ca (found on Pinterest), but kept the whole thing super easy by using the self-adhesive gems and eliminating the glue part entirely. Everyone did a nice job!
What worked least: I guess my bubble wrap jellyfish were not appealing since nobody migrated toward that table at all. Maybe it was too much white and nothing colorful to draw people over? Whatever it was, something was amiss. But crazily, I'd try it again! Maybe if I had a bigger crowd and/or more time, the kids would have enjoyed it! Next Earth Day!
What worked best: Those little spiders! Everyone loved 'em!