Recycling Science Project for Children

Years ago, your grandmother’s mother had a rag doll. She had probably made it herself from pieces of fabric her mom had given her. The pieces may have been left over from projects her mom had completed. Maybe her mom made her own dresses, in fact.

If it was winter, and the neighbors had just gotten a new refrigerator, it was heyday. The box was a huge sleigh for someone. It was the fastest in the neighborhood for that season, talked about for weeks, over supper.

Of course, ask any child, and the young genius would say that the best music in town came from pots and pans clanging around. Seriously, though, what are your toys now, gentlemen and ladies?

In Africa, up until just a few years ago, you could still see some of the best art around in the form of wire cars. Can you duplicate their wirework car? These vehicles were designed with “found” materials in mind. Some old wire coat hangers are ideal for the chassis and the body framework. It wouldn’t be the first time someone looked through the garbage if you were to search through the piles to find some old electrical wire. Three-inch tin lids will serve for wheels. It might take a bit more ingenuity to come up with a four-foot length of thick wire from a broken-down fence.

Sketch a design first, before actually beginning construction. Ask to borrow someone’s pliers and cut, bend, and tie the coat hangers to form the framework of the chassis of your car. Add axles and tin-lid wheels. Search around for the detail items, such as the doors, floor, seats, window frames, grill, bumpers, and lights. Include accessories, such as a small piece of mirror and some carpeting for the floor. Clear candy wrappers serve as “glass” for windows.

Don’t think small, now. Many are the wirework cars that have a steering shaft that extends through the roof and back beyond the cars themselves till they are waist high. This makes it possible to “drive” the cars by pushing them along.

Like Rome, your car won’t be built in a day. It’ll probably take two. But when you do get to driving it, especially at night, don’t forget to install battery-powered headlights, that is, flashlight bulbs.

Of course, girls are welcome to make the very same car. There are a few die-hards who would say that a girl should add a pink steering wheel or seat cover, but you and I know that as long as the wheelwright is sixteen, a tube of lipstick is all she really needs.

This is not to say that only across the world is the spirit of invention. Many were the bicycles made from pieces of bikes found in the neighbors’ garbage piles. Again, my friends, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create something tangible from the lost and discarded past treasures or not.

Take as your prototypes some of the activities mentioned from yesteryears or across the world, but do get up and excite your imaginations with the possibilities of re-earned possessions.