Recycled Sculpture

A great activity for bored kids is creating sculptures with recycled boxes and containers. By saving your boxes both big and small the kids will have a variety of things to put together and form buildings, creatures, etc. Since the boxes are already three-dimensional, they love how easy it is to create sculptural art. Most young kids think in two dimensions so by letting them explore with the already formed three-dimensional forms it helps them to understand and develop spacial concepts. It is also easier for them than trying to sculpt with clay or other materials. Begin by prompting them to think about starting with a large shape, such a rectangular box as the trunk of the body and then adding smaller boxes to develop the rest of the body, they will get the idea.  Often with young children, they are more likely going to picture it as a building and want to stack them. This is OK too. Let them explore the possibilities before they begin to glue the pieces together. When finished the artwork can be painted with tempera or other water based paint or decorated with natural materials from outside.

Suggested Materials

large boxes

cardboard toilet paper tubes

cereal boxes and any type of small cardboard boxes, (plastic is more difficult  to get the glue to adhere unless you use a thicker glue)

natural material from outside such sticks, leaves, acorns etc.


glue – Elmer’s or school glue is OK but Tacky glue is better because it is thicker and dries with a stronger bond.  Tacky glue can be found at craft stores.

Paint bush and paints if desired. Tempera paints are better than water color paints for painting on cardboard.  Acrylic paints are permanent and not recommended for young children.

Jan Watford
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Jan Watford

Manager at JCW Prism LLC
artist, author, illustrator
Jan Watford
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