By Colie Haahr, CMNH Educator
This is an easy, low-mess art project that kids can work on independently. Use old containers and washi tape to make an “up-cycled” planter. What is up-cycling? It’s using materials that would otherwise be discarded to make something new. We do many up-cycling activities at the museum to help reduce waste, and to allow kids to be creative with their projects by challenging them to think of new uses for things.
This project provides a good opportunity to talk to kids about reducing waste, and some ways to do that at home. Up-cylcing is just one thing kids can do to help keep the earth healthy, and it’s a great way to cut down on art supplies and packaging if you are using things you already have. The book Not For Me, Please! I Choose to Act Green, by Maria Godsey, is a nice story to read with kids that shows them some concrete choices they can make to help reduce waste. We recently added this book to our collection at the museum.
This is also a great project if you would like to give someone a hand made gift without getting out paints or any messy supplies! You can use the planter to grow something from seeds, or you can use it to put a small houseplant inside.
- Empty play dough containers with lids
- Or: A different type of container that is safe to use
- Washi tape
- Optional: scissors
- A house plant, or soil and seeds for planting
- The first step is to make sure the container you are using is safe to use and clean. Play dough containers work well. Be sure there are no sharp edges, and carefully supervise if you choose to use glass. Mason jars and other thick glass containers do not break easily
- If you are using a plastic container, you may opt to poke a hole in the bottom with scissors for drainage for your plant. This step should be done by an adult
- Use washi tape to decorate the outside of the container by carefully adding it one strip at a time
- If you want to plant something, add soil and plant the seeds according to the instructions on the seed package.
- If you want to add a houseplant that is already growing, carefully place it inside
- If you are using a play dough container, use the lid to catch extra water under the planter
- Ask: what three things do plants need to grow?? They need soil, sunlight, and water! Place your plant in a spot where it can get some sun, and be sure to water it!
There are more up-cycle project ideas on the museum’s Pinterest account:
Check out some of our Educator's Favorite Up-Cycle Projects over on Pinterest:
Blog post that inspired the planters: