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Celebrating Earth Day at The Holiday Zone

Art and Craft Projects for Earth Day

Earth Day Poster

Materials Needed

  • heavy white paper, card stock or posterboard (11 x 17 [A3] or larger)
  • markers
  • colored pencils
  • gel pens
  • crayons
  • scrap paper (for preliminary design work)
  • notebook paper (for writing/editing a rough draft of the text)

Divide students into pairs or teams for this combination art/language arts project. Explain to them that they must choose a topic related to Earth Day and create a persuasive poster on that topic. Possibilities include conservation, recycling, reforestation, pollution, global warming, etc. Ideally, each group should choose a different topic.

Once the topic has been decided, students need to think of a "catch phrase" to accompany their theme. (You may wish to have a mini-brainstorming session as a class, discussing common environmental and advertising slogans.)

Next, students should use scratch paper to draft a preliminary design for their poster. They should also pre-write, revise, and edit text to be incorporated into the poster.

Finally, students should work together to turn their design and text into an eye-catching poster with a positive environmental message.

As an oral follow-up activity, students may present what they have learned about their chosen topic to the class, using their posters as visual aids.

Leaf Rubbing Bookmarks

Materials Needed

  • Heavy white paper (not cardstock), pre-cut into 2" x 8" sections
  • Green colored pencils
  • Assorted Leaves
  • Hole punch
  • 1/8" ribbon (pre-cut into 6" lengths"
  • Gel pens or markers

Arrange leaves on table. Place precut bookmark on top, and color firmly (but not hard enough to break through paper) with side of sharpened green colored pencil. Use gel pens or markers to add an environmental message. Punch hole approximately 1/2" down from top center. string ribbon through, and tie.

Possible messages include the following:

  • He who plants trees loves others besides himself.
  • Will work for trees.
  • Invest in the future. Plant a tree today.
  • Be a friend to trees.
  • I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
  • A man does not plant a tree for himself; he plants it for posterity.
  • A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
  • Save the trees, and you save the future.
  • No trees, no mankind.
  • Trees = oxygen.
  • Enter carbon dioxide. Exit oxygen.

Nature's Paintbrush

Materials Needed

  • Assorted natural materials (twigs, pine needles, grass, leaves, shrubbery sprigs)
  • Water color cakes
  • Bowls
  • Water
  • White paper

Cover work area with newspaper. Place bowls filled with water where they are in easy reach of all children. Lay an assortment of natural materials on the table, and encourage children to experiment with using these as "paintbrushes." Display finished paintings on wall of classroom

Pet Rocks

Materials needed

  • Smooth stones (one or more per child)
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Mod Podge (optional)
  • Wiggly eyes (two per stone)
  • Pipe cleaners (optional; two per stone)
  • Glue or low-temp hot glue gun

Paint rocks as desired. Allow paint to dry. If desired, add a coat of Mod Podge to protect paint and add shine. Once rocks are dry, glue on wiggle eyes and pipe cleaner antennas.

Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Materials Needed

  • Large, open pine cones (one per child)
  • String or fishing line
  • Mixing bowls (one per child)
  • Spoons (one per child)
  • Vegetable shortening or lard
  • Cornmeal
  • Birdseed

Tye a string or fishing line around the top of the pine cone. This will allow you hang your finished bird feeder on a tree branch.

Cover work area with newspaper. Give each child a mixing bowl and a spoon. Put 1/2 cup of shortening or lard and 1/2 cup of cornmeal in each bowl. Instruct children to mix the two ingredients well.

Direct children to place their pine cone on the newspaper and use the back of their spoon to (gently!) spread the shortening/cornmeal mixture over the entire surface of the cone. Finally, roll pine cones in birdseed and hang.

Note: 1/3 c. peanut butter and 1/3 c. shortening may be used in lieu of the shortening/cornmeal mixture if none of the children doing this project have peanut allergies.

Recycled Rainsticks

Materials Needed

  • Cardboard tube (Washed Pringles-style potato chip cans are ideal; paper towel roll, toilet paper roll, mailing tube, wrapping paper roll, etc. can also be used, provided ends are covered.)
  • Low-temp hot glue gun
  • Assorted grains and/or legumes (rice, popcorn, barley, dried peas, dried lentils, etc.)
  • Small, flat-headed nails (at least 1/4" shorter than tube diameter)
  • Hammer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Any desired decorating materials (sand, seashells, leaves, straw, fabric scraps, colored paper, etc.)
  • Glue

Securely cap one end of a cardboard tube. (You may skip this step if you are using a tube with a sealed end such as a potato chip can.) Gently push or hammer nails into tube at staggered 1/2" intervals. Add 1/2 cup of mixed grains and/or legumes. Cap the other end of the tube and hot glue cap in place.

Paint rainstick in desired colors and patterns. (Rainsticks are general painted in earth tones.) Decorate as desired using natural or recycled materials.

When shaken, finished rainstick will make gentle rainfall sound as grains and/or legumes cascade over nails.
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