A recycled art contest can help build awareness for your school wide recycling program, give you an actionable plan for Earth Day or simply help wrap up a study on green living and the environment. Allowing your students to share their creativity and create pieces from items that would otherwise end up in the local landfill benefits your community – and builds good habits that can last a lifetime.
Put out a Call for Entries
Decide if your contest will be mandatory or optional for students – if it is optional, then promote it regularly in the days leading up to the submission deadline so you get enough entries. Include an introduction about the power of recycling and what types of supplies are allowed (not all recycled materials are ideal for classroom use); you should also include a 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 patriate and allow about a week for the actual projects to be created. You can include details about the contest in your class newsletter a week or two in advance, so students can begin brainstorming and collecting items to work with.
Set up a Display Zone
Decide where and when the entries will be displayed – a public spot in the school where everyone can see the pieces works well. Adorn the area with posters, boards and information about recycling and make sure you set aside enough room for both 2D and 3D entries; this type of contest often features more sculptural pieces.
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 First, Second or Third place, including;
- Most Creative Use of Recycled Materials
- Most Recycled Items Used
- Student’s Choice Award
Share photos from the contest and your winners in your school newsletter – and keep a running total of the weight or amount of items used to see just how many pieces you have rescued from the landfill.
A recycled art contest can help your students take a fresh look at old pieces and to think about how many ways items we routinely throw away can be reused. 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.