School supplies get a lot of use during the year, but their packaging gets left behind as garbage or recyclables. Choose a project at the start of the year and put out collection bins for the materials you'll need so you can make it before the end of the year.
Tissue Box Story Cubes
Turn empty square tissue boxes into a fun classroom activity. Elementary students can roll each cube then write, act out, or tell a short story using the things they rolled.
- Empty square tissue boxes (5 or more)
- Scrap paper
Measure one side of the tissue box then cut six squares of paper into that size for each cube.
- Separate students into five small groups. Each group works on a specific category: characters, settings/locations, problems, actions, and objects.
- If you have lots of boxes, each student can make their own die. If you only have a few, groups can work on one die together.
- Give each group enough paper squares to cover their dice along with crayons. On each paper, kids should draw any item or image that fits their category. For younger elementary kids it can be helpful to give them a list of images to draw.
- Once the images are drawn, kids glue each square to one side of the tissue box so the picture faces out. Orientation doesn't really matter.
- After all the dice are dry, use them individually or as a group to create unique stories using the images facing up after all dice are rolled.
Crayon Box Mosaic Logo
Middle school student artists can help turn empty crayon boxes into a school spirit 3-D work of art.
- Empty crayon, marker, and colored pencil boxes (amount depends on sizes of the boxes)
- Leftover paints in school colors
- Large piece of sturdy cardboard
- Permanent marker
- Image of school logo for reference
- Close the tops and bottoms of all boxes. Tape any torn sections, so the box is hollow and intact.
- Layout boxes on top of cardboard in even rows and columns to fill the entire board.
- Secure each box loosely from the back with tape so you can draw a giant line drawing of the logo on the face of the boxes.
- Remove the boxes one at a time starting in the top left corner. Number each box in order on the back as you remove the tape.
- Designate one school color as the outline and the other as the filler.
- Give each student a box and direct them to use the designated outline color paint to cover any lines drawn on their box.
- For all other areas of the front and sides of the box, students paint patterns using shades of the designated filler color.
- After they dry, each box is a 3-D piece of the larger image. Glue each in it's place on the cardboard to make the giant logo.
3-Ring Binder Wall Calendars
At the end of every school year and sometimes mid-way through, kids fill high school hallways to clean out their lockers. Collect any 3-ring binders that get tossed and turn them into fun wall calendars.
- 3-ring binders
- Single hole punch
- 3-hole punch
- Thumbtacks (one for each binder)
- 8 by 10 horizontal photos from school events and activities (12)
- 8 by 10 blank calendar pages (12)
- Punch a hole in the center near the top of each photo and calendar page.
- Open the binder then turn it one quarter turn to the right so the binder clips are in a horizontal row.
- Use the hole punch and scissors to make one small hole near the top left corner of the binder and one near the top right corner.
- Stick the thumbtack directly in the center, but slightly below these two holes.
- Thread string through the left hole and tie it in a knot so it can't come loose. Do the same with the other end of the string on the right hole to make a hanger.
- Three-hole punch the bottom edge of each photo.
- With the month at the top of the calendar page, 3-hole punch the top edge of each.
- Take one photo and one calendar page, facing each other with holes lined up, and insert into the rings. Repeat with all photos and calendars.
- With the binder open, lift up the first photo and place the single hole over the thumbtack so the photo stays open.
- Hang the calendar and flip each calendar page and photo to get the next month.
Make Recycling Fun
You don't need to send items off to the recycling center to give them new life. Use leftover school supplies or their packages to create useful things your classroom or school can enjoy for many more years.