Reduce, reuse, recycle: Earth Day cotton bud painting

It is but a few short days until Earth Day 2012, which has existed in America since 1970 and is gaining recognition across the globe as people become increasingly concerned about the environment. LBG and I were talking this weekend about the concept of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, as espoused by Bob The Builder on a daily basis, according to the CBeebies schedule.

Recycling, as a concept, is quite an easy one to demonstrate, as it is part of our daily routine. We have three large plastic boxes by the back door into which we separate our glass, paper and tins. Bromley also has a weekly food recycling collection, and we have a small container in the kitchen into which we empty all food waste. LBG is encouraged to help with all of this, and loves nothing more than going to the bottle bank and smashing the bottles into the receptacle.

earth day 2012

Reusing is also a fairly simple concept to teach: we use cardboard from old boxes in some of our craft. We used toilet rolls to make windsocks and pine cones to make trees.  We have covered plastic milk cartons in papier mache. We have also used leftover icing to make edible gifts. When I find her reusing empty Easter Egg boxes to make beds for her dolls, I know that she’s understood the concept.

saving water

It’s the reduce that I have been having issue with. How do you teach a child that we need to reduce the energy or water that we use, the waste that we create? The solution came with a dripping tap. I left a jug under a dripping tap and we watched as the water slowly filled the jug. We talked about what would happen to this perfectly clean, unused water had it gone down the drain, and how we might use it. And we talked about why it is important to turn off taps.

painting with cotton buds

That lead to a conversation about the World, the Earth rather, and how it is made of water and land, which lead to us using blue and green paint to colour on our very own Earth Day Picture. Rather than use fingers prints, as with Busy Kids Happy Mom’s World Fingerprint Art on my Earth Day Pinterest Board, I opted for a less-mess approach and gave LBG cotton buds to create the picture. I joined in and we sat together quietly working side-by-side. Buoyed by our first efforts and ignoring my inaccurate global sketch, LBG moved on to cotton balls, adding so much paint we were able to print a third painting from the second. And then it was a general free-for-all in which LBG slapped all the paint on any-old-how until there was a blue-green smear all the way across the page.

smudging paint with cotton wool

Once they were dry, I cut out the globes and hung them up.

World painting for Earth Day






Go on! You know you want to tell me what you think!