How to make a recycled Sculpture with kids
What you see here is one of the most successful art projects that’s hit our household thus far. And it was free! What was the allure?
- Working on a large scale
- Low heat Glue Gun.
- Piles of imagination-building materials
- Collecting objects
- Autonomy with decision-making
- A novel project.
Supplies for Recycled Sculpture
- Low-heat glue gun. We use the Cool Shot — it’s fantastic for little kids and we haven’t had an incident yet. Be sure to get a few packages of extra glue sticks too.
- Paint (optional). We used washable tempera, which is great for enjoying the process, but will not last over time (it flakes off). For paint with a more permanent bond, use acrylic paint.
- Paintbrushes (optional). These brushes from Melissa and Doug are nice for preschoolers.
It all began when we unearthed these very cool cardboard pieces that protected our new ice-cream maker (mmmm, thank you again danielle and dave!). So we decided to paint them. This carried on for a few minutes and then we moved on while they dried.
Collect some Recyclables
Later on, we started an art-recycling bag full of more materials to paint. But the pile kept growing and growing until I guess the materials were suggestive of a new idea altogether…
Stack and Build a Sculpture
Building!! It quickly became a challenge to balance the boxes, tubes, and bottles without toppling it all over.
Making it really, really tall. You can see the painted ice cream box piece way up there. And then the fun part…
I bet you saw that coming
And then, finally, we glued pieces together to make a more permanent sculpture.
Glue Gun Tips for Kids
This is where you get the low-heat glue gun out and share a few tips on safe handling:
- Don’t touch the tip of the glue gun
- Don’t touch the hot glue right after it comes out of the gun.
Attach the sculptural pieces together
The learning opportunities were so rich: we talked about sculpture as dimensional art, learned about how a glue gun works, made compositional choices, and embraced decision-making skills through the selection of objects.
Although I used a low-heat glue gun (these are amazing for kids), I still manned the gun and N told me where to glue. It was great! She would select a piece and then decide where she wanted it. There were a few moments where we collaborated to discuss placement, but she was mostly in charge. You can see her pointing to where she wants that toilet paper roll glued down.
In fits of inspiration, she bolted in and out of the room to find more treasures for her sculptures. I especially like that red ribbon. Don’t you? Oh, and if anyone ever wondered what we eat in our house, wonder no more!
We made three of these sculptures that afternoon, and got very good at working with the variegated materials. Throughout the week, N collected sticks and other natural materials during our walks and would say, “Let’s take it home to make art with it!” I love this kid!