Best Out Of Waste Ideas For School Projects : Classes 1 to 5

Waste is wasteful only if you treat it like that. Here are ideas for children of class 1-5 to understand the concept of recycling and creating fun fun projects.

By Amrita Gracias

Best Out Of Waste Ideas For School Projects : Classes 1 to 5

Reduce, reuse and recycle – a phrase most people are familiar with. But, do our children understand its significance and the importance of following it?

It is imperative that your child learns and understands what happens when we don’t take care of our environment and the unfortunate consequences that our planet will have to endure because of our carelessness.

Recycling is one of the ways in which you can teach your child how to conserve resources and reuse them, rather than discard or dispose them and add on to our mounds of waste. It is also important he understands that recycling does not only involve segregating and throwing recyclable stuff into designated bins. Rather, it is also about reusing recyclable material in various ways in our homes or schools. In this article learn some easy DIYs to make the best out of waste materials. 

Why teach your child about recycling

The habit of recycling will help your child understand her responsibility toward nature and the environment. She will learn about sustainability, how to minimise wastage and how to make do with what she has rather than spend money on new things.

Interestingly, recycling is also a great way to teach your child basic science. Recycling projects are a fun way for your child to learn about the importance of the process. They also make for fascinating science experiments and are a great way to keep him constructively occupied.

Fun school projects that can be made out of waste

1. Make a snowman out of a sock

Best Out Of Waste Ideas For School Projects : Classes 1 to 5

You are sure to have a bunch of old socks lying somewhere at home. Or, perhaps, even a pair or two that your child has outgrown. Use it as a perfect example to teach your child to make something out of a ‘rag’, rather than throwing it out.

What you need:

  • 1 white (or light-coloured) sock
  • 1 coloured sock
  • Elastic rubber bands
  • Buttons (any colour)
  • Small seeds or grains of rice / pulses (to fill the sock with)
  • A strip of cloth or ribbon (any colour)
  • A pair of scissors
  • Glue
  • Bits of coloured paper or coloured bindis
  • A small piece of cardboard from a box (optional)

What to do:

  • Cut the sock in half.
  • Turn it inside out and fill it with the seeds or small grains.
  • Make sure the base is round and firm so that it can stand. If you wish, you can glue it to a piece of cardboard.
  • Tie the top tightly with a rubber band.
  • Now tie another rubber band about ¾ the way up to make the head of the snowman.
  • Glue the buttons onto the body of the snowman.
  • Glue pieces of paper or stick the bindis for the eyes and mouth.
  • Roll up a small piece of paper into a conical shape for the nose and stick it in place.
  • Cut off the top portion of the coloured sock for the snowman’s hat. Secure it by gluing it on the head.
  • Tie the strip of cloth or ribbon around the neck as the muffler.

Suitable for children in classes 4 and 5.

2. Make a piggy bank out of a plastic bottle

Best Out Of Waste Ideas For School Projects : Classes 1 to 5

The next time you want to get rid of a plastic bottle, why don’t you teach your child to put it to good use by making something fun and interesting out of it? This piggy bank is the perfect example to show her how to reuse a common item and teach her why it’s important to save as well!

What you need:

  • An empty plastic bottle
  • Coloured / white paper
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • A penknife (make sure you supervise your child when she uses it)
  • Felt pens / crayons / paint (optional)
  • Small bottle caps (optional)

What to do:

  • Make sure the bottle is clean and dry.
  • On the side of the bottle make a slit just big enough for a coin to go through.
  • Tape up the edges of the slit to make them smooth.
  • Cover the bottle with the coloured paper. Or you can use white paper and draw or colour patterns on it.
  • You can even design the bottle to look like a little pig. Cut out paper in the shape of ears and glue onto the bottle. Stick smaller pieces for the eyes and nose (on the bottle cap).
  • Stick the small bottle caps at angles as legs on the underside of the bottle.

Suitable for children in classes 3 and 4.

3. Make a terrarium out of a plastic bottle

Best Out Of Waste Ideas For School Projects : Classes 1 to 5

A terrarium is a closed container that has growing plants. A perfect recycling project, this is also a fantastic way for your child to learn about the science behind the water cycle!

What you need:

  • A large plastic bottle (2 litre juice bottle) or an unused fish bowl

  • Tiny pebbles / gravel

  • Small plants (indoor or tropical; ferns are a good option)

  • Potting soil

  • Small tub or container for mixing

  • Penknife (make sure you supervise usage)

  • Bigger pebbles / toy animals (optional)

What to do:

  • Clean and dry the bottle / bowl thoroughly.
  • If you are using a plastic bottle, cut off about ⅓ of the top of the bottle (making sure the top is wide enough for your hand to go in) using the penknife.
  • Place the tiny pebbles / gravel at the base of the bottle to form a layer about a few inches thick.
  • Mix the soil with some water in the tub. It should be just moist enough for the soil to cling together.
  • Fill about ½ to ⅓ of the bottle with the soil over the layer of pebbles.
  • Place the plants inside the bottle, ensuring the roots are buried in the soil.
  • Cover the container with a lid (you could tape the top portion of the bottle if you are using a plastic container) and place the terrarium where it gets indirect sunlight.
  • You don’t need to water the terrarium. The moisture from the soil will evaporate to form tiny water droplets on the sides of the bottle, which will, in turn, fall back into the soil.

Suitable for children in classes 2, 3 and 4.

Note: Keep a close watch for the first few days. If moisture and tiny water droplets form along the sides of the bottle when in bright light, the terrarium contains the right amount of moisture for the plants to survive. However, if there is no moisture along the sides, it means that there isn’t enough water in the soil. You will need to add some water. If the bottle is misty and you cannot see the plants clearly, then there is too much moisture. So, take off the lid for a few hours so that the excess water can evaporate.

4. Make recycled paper out of waste paper

Best Out Of Waste Ideas For School Projects : Classes 1 to 5

Does your child know how paper is made? This project will help her learn many things – the science of making paper, the importance of saving trees and recycling items from your home. Paper making is also a wonderful sensory experience for your child.

What you need:

  • Sheets of paper from old notebooks
  • Large tub to soak the paper
  • Old wooden picture frame
  • A piece of wire mesh to fit into the frame
  • An old towel
  • Dried leaves or flower petals (optional)

What to do:

  • Cut up the paper into tiny bits.
  • Place the paper bits in the tub and pour enough water over them.
  • Leave them to soak overnight or even for a full day so that the paper is reduced to a nice pulp.
  • Place the frame on the towel and the wire mesh inside the frame.
  • Squeeze out as much water as you can from the paper pulp and spread it evenly on the mesh in the frame.
  • Place the dry leaves or flower petals on the pulp.
  • Press them down hard so that any extra water is absorbed by the towel.
  • Leave the pulp to dry.
  • When completely dry, peel out the sheet of paper from the frame and you will have your handmade paper.

Suitable for children in classes 2 and 3.

5. Make herb garden out of egg cartons 

Best Out Of Waste Ideas For School Projects : Classes 1 to 5

This is a good way for your child to learn about plants and plant life. This simple project can also help him understand that almost anything can be put to good use instead of simply treating it as garbage! And, you will even have herbs handy at your fingertips for your cooking.

What you need:

  • Empty egg carton
  • Empty egg shell halves
  • Herb shoots with roots / seeds
  • Soil
  • A pair of scissors
  • Toothpicks (optional)
  • Small strips of paper (optional)
What to do:
  • Cut out the top portion (lid) of the carton.
  • Place the empty egg shells in each of the slots.
  • Fill the shells about ⅓ with soil.
  • Plant the seeds / shoots in the soil.
  • Pour some water.
  • You can make labels for each herb.
  • Stick the labels onto the toothpicks and fix them in their respective slots.
  • Watch the herbs grow.

Suitable for children in classes 2, 3 and 4.

We hope these fun projects will help your child understand the need for recycling and its potential to create a cleaner and more sustainable future. And, help you and she spends some quality time together while making them!

For more ideas check out this article on best out-of-waste projects for Classes 6 to 10

About the author:

Written by Amrita Gracias on 19th February 2019.

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