This is a fun and simple recycling project that can be used to celebrate Earth Day while practicing a word family. The bright colored flowers make a lovely spring decoration and can be used to create a “recycled garden” in the classroom by making this Recycling and Word Family Craft.
One of my favorite picture books about recycling and conserving the planet is The Tin Forest by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson. It tells the story of a man who lived in a place that was covered by garbage, other people’s garbage. Every day he goes out and tries to sort and clear away the trash. Back in his house, he dreams of a forest filled with beautiful plants and animals. Eventually, he decides to use the garbage to build his own forest. He takes the trash and makes trees, flowers, and animals out of it. After some time, a bird finally comes to his forest and drops a seed. By the end, a real forest has grown in with his tin forest.
Using the idea from the book of turning old trash into something beautiful, I created recycled paper flowers. Taking old magazines, I tore out the bright colored pictures. I used cardstock to make a flower petal shape to trace on the magazine pages and then cut out the petals. Depending on your students and how much time you’ll have for the project, the students can do this step or the petals can already be cut out for them. It was really easy for me to cut several sheets of petals at once. Then I had the kiddos arrange the petals around a small paper plate and glue them on.
In the middle of the small paper plate, we wrote the word in. Since we read the book along with this craft, we worked on the -in family and included tin. Using green paint sample cards, we wrote -in words at the bottom of each card. Tin, din, bin, win, fin, spin, and sin were some of the words the students generated.
Next, we taped the paint sample cards together so that the words still showed. The paint sample cards were attached to the paper plate to make the stem for the flower.
We hung the flowers together to make our own “tin forest” from recycled materials. All of the bright print from the magazines and bright green stems made for a beautiful recycled garden.
What are your favorite ways to teach recycling and conservation in the classroom? Do you have go-to picture books you always use? Comment below and tell us about it!
And if you are looking for a fun read for your students about the Earth, our Earth Easy Readers are perfect for you! Our Easy Readers are easy to read sentences, appropriate content, and great to send home for your students to reread! (They like coloring them too!) Click here to check it out now.