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Friday, February 11, 2011

Creative Recycled Paper and Cardbord Construction!

Children LOVE to play with cardboard and it is a cheap, indespensable material for construction projects. It stimulates and challenges the imagination of both children and adults alike!

Commonplace objects such as milk and egg cartons, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, apple crate dividers, and assorted sizes of boxes offer unlimited possibilities for creative art projects.

In preparation for a construction activity, adults should collect items such as:
  • assorted cardboard boxes,
  • cartons,
  • corrigated cardboard,
  • paper cups and plates of all sizes,
  • paper bags,
  • yarn,
  • string,
  • buttons,
  • feathers,
  • cloth,
  • tissue paper,
  • scraps of construction paper,
  • wrapping paper,
  • paste,
  • glue,
  • tape,
  • crayons,
  • colored markers,
  • paint,
  • brushes,
  • scissors,
  • stapler,
  • staples

Most topics that interest children can be adapted to cardboard construction projects. Buildings, houses, cities, cars, and entire neighborhoods can be created using cardboard. Creations can only be limited by the imagination!

In order to help children create successful projects, adults could have the cardboard materials spread out and available for children to explore on their own. A fun way of sneaking in a little learning is to encourage children to stack materials or combine them in different ways.

Talk about (and demonstrate) ways of fastening boxes together, covering them with paint or paper, and adding other parts or features, and then set the children loose on an adventure!

A few ideas to get you started!

Paper Bags:
Large paper shopping bags with handles can be turned into an instant costume simply by cutting the bottom of the bag off. Place the bag over the child, using the handles as shoulder straps. Children can decorate their costume with scrap materials.

Collect several medium-sized appliance boxes that are large enough to hold one or two children. Share a story about vehicles—a train, a car, a dump truck, etc. Provide children with smocks, paintbrushes, and tempera paint and set them loose to create their very own transportation. For trains, attach boxes to one another with twine.

Allow the shapes of the cardboard to suggest ideas for a project. For instance, an oatmeal container could transform into the body of an elephant; a milk carton could turn into a skyscraper.

Paper Tubes:
Paper tubes are probably the most versatile type of cardboard out there. Children can make everything from puppets to binoculars with them. Make music shakers by taping a circle of cardstock or heavy paper to one end, filling with a handful of rice, and securing the open end with another cardstock circle.

Egg Cartons:
What CAN’T you do with an egg carton? Provide children with tape, glue, string, feathers, buttons, markers, crayons, and paint, and the sky is the limit! 
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