One idea that I saw a few years ago, was making animals or creatures from recyclable trash (milk cartons, egg cartons, water bottles, soda bottles, packaging Styrofoam balls, aluminum foil, straws, etc...). I did finally do this with a fifth grade class last year. Just have students bring in or collect materials from around home or school to be recycled into art. Make only a few materials available to them for attaching the creature (such as hot glue gun, yarn, maybe old phone wire, masking tape...). Then let the kids create. You'd be amazed at the products. Plus you can integrate it with a science lesson and the importance of recycling!!!
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[marianna delafield] This is great as a basis for paper mache too, and the kids do just love it. Create a zoo! This connects so well with the reply I just sent to Heather about "my" dump site. You could find so much good junk out there for this use. Paint the paper mache using the elements/principles of design, pattern and implied texture, pull in the decorative arts of Mexico with their dragons and animals, and the wonderful patterns they use, so that each childcrates a critter that has meaning and significance for him/her.