Build a mini town and develop all kinds of skills, perfect as a STEAM lesson PLUS you recycle too!
When we moved from the coast, we missed the ocean terribly. To embrace our new town, we did quite a bit of exploring and the riverfront was (and still is) our favorite place.
What you will need:
Lots of paint and recyclables! This project comes with a warning however, it took a few weeks to complete, needed plenty of space and got messy!
What to do:
We started with a large cardboard sheet, you can collect large boxes from furniture stores. Next, we used chalk to sketch a basic idea of where we wanted to place the river, houses and streets.
Now for the messy part – paper maché. I prefer an old phone directory to a newspaper, it won”t blacken your fingers as much as a newspaper and it’s easier to tear into rectangles. Rectangles work well to coat and object and build layers. To “sculpt” objects, egg cartons are amazing. Make sure you soak the paper to be used in water for a day or two before use. To bind the paper, I use about one-third wood glue (Ponal or Alcolin) to two-thirds water. If you are working with smaller children, the trusted flour/water mix is probably a better option.
To create dimension in our landscape we layered the paper maché in the higher areas and left the lower areas for the river, streets and houses. I always try to use as many recyclable materials as possible.
We made the houses out of small boxes from the grocery cupboard, painted them in bright colors and added details with marker pens. Just a note on paint – Dala Tempera paints remain my favorite as it’s non-toxic and relatively inexpensive.
The bridge was constructed from ice-lolly sticks and scraps of wood, (the pieces you get when you buy ready-made canvases that you are supposed to use in the corners.) The lampposts were from wooden skewers topped with a crystal bead. I would’ve liked to add real working lights but we did the project before those handy tiny LED lights were readily available.
The “sandbox” was made out of a matchbox, the flower boxes from polystyrene blocks and fake flowers. The trees were created from dry branches and crinkled paper. The wooden furniture was from an old playset we revamped with a lick of paint. We used dried beans for the paths and lastly the folded cars were from worksheets from education.com
Have fun building your own mini-town from recyclables using our project as inspiration! The perfect STEAM and recycling project for kids of all ages!