A recycled art contest can build awareness for a school-wide recycling program and provide an actionable plan for Earth Day. Or it can simply wrap up a study on green living and the environment at any time of the year. Allowing your students to share their creativity and create pieces from items that would otherwise end up in the local landfill benefits your community. More importantly, it builds good habits that can last a lifetime.
Put out a call for entries
Decide if your recycled art contest will be mandatory or optional for students. If it’s optional, then promote it regularly in the days leading up to the submission deadline. Include an introduction about the power of recycling and what types of supplies are allowed (not all recycled materials are ideal for classroom use). Include a display sheet for the student to complete that details the recycled items they’ve used and the name of their project.
Make it easy for your kids and their families to discuss. Then allow about a week for the actual projects to be created. You can include details about the recycled art contest in your class newsletter a week or two in advance so students can begin brainstorming and collecting items with which to work.
Set up a Display Zone
Decide where and when the entries will be displayed. Ideally, you’ll want a public spot in the school where everyone can see the pieces. Adorn the area with posters, boards, and information about recycling. Make sure you set aside enough room for both 2D and 3D sculptural entries.
Offer Prizes and Recognition
Award a few prizes with an Earth Day or recycling theme. If you have a diverse group of ages or grades, you can award one or more per grade. Participants can be recognized in a variety of ways beyond simply 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, including;
- Most Creative Use of Recycled Materials
- Most Recycled Items Used
- Student’s Choice Award
Share photos from the recycled art contest and your winners in your school newsletter. For those students especially proud of their work, have them enter it in our monthly student art contest!
A recycled art contest helps students take a fresh look at old pieces and think about how to reuse items we throw away. By spotlighting your contest participants and their projects, you can show your students your commitment to their future and the environment in a real, tangible way.