Aluminum foil isn't just for cooking at home -- it can be used as a creative outlet for projects. Provide your kids with foil and let them express their original ideas with this open-ended art medium. When they lose interest in what they've created, teach children to put scraps and unwanted projects into the recycle bin to help save the earth. Keep in mind that projects involving the use of small objects, such as pebbles, beans or coins, may pose a choking hazard and may not be suitable for younger children.
Aluminum Foil Sculpture
Kids can use foil to create recognizable forms, such as people, animals or objects. Work with a piece of foil about 9-inches by 12-inches and "sculpture" it by crushing, crumpling and pulling it apart until your shape is complete. To make a stand-alone piece, take a square of cardboard and cover it with aluminum foil. Glue the sculpture to the foil base using a hot glue gun for a quick and secure attachment; never permit children to operate a hot glue gun.
Foil Moonscape Art
Kids can glue an assortment of small objects onto a square of cardboard, using a random or patterned design. Dried beans, pasta, Styrofoam pieces, metal washers, paper clips, coins and beads can be used; these pose a choking risk to small children, so save this project for your older child and provide supervision. When the glue is dry, lay a sheet of heavy-duty foil on top and carefully press the foil around the glued-on pieces. Help your child fold the edges of the aluminum foil around the backs of the cardboard and securely tape them.
Children can make rhythm instruments or noisemakers with empty soda cans covered in aluminum foil. Place dried beans, small pebbles or rice inside the can and tape the opening shut. Cover the entire can with foil and press it securely around the cylinder. Decorate the shaker with colorful stickers. Listen to the sounds the different items make. This is not recommended, however, for small children who may put small objects into their mouths.
Foil Wall Decoration
Kids can make pictures to decorate their space with aluminum foil. Tape a sheet of heavy-duty foil to a square of cardboard. Have the children paint the foil with dark blue or black poster paint that has a few drops of liquid soap added. Cover the entire sheet of foil and lay it down to dry. With an unsharpened pencil, lightly scratch a design through the paint. Be careful not to tear the foil. Frame the artwork with construction paper or colored poster board before hanging.
Southwest Inspired Jewelry
Native Americans love to make silver and turquoise bracelets and kids can make replicas with aluminum foil. Take an empty toilet paper tube and cut it lengthwise in half. Cut the tube in half again to make a cuff-style bracelet. Cover the bracelet in aluminum foil. Have the children paint small dried pasta shapes with turquoise paint. When dry, glue these faux stones to the silver bracelet. Reserve this project for school-aged children as the pasta shapes may pose a choking risk.
Engage in solar-powered cooking on a sunny day. Line a large bowl with aluminum foil and place a batch of s’more cookies inside. Cover a graham cracker square with mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips. Make periodic checks to view the melting process.
- Good Earth Art; MaryAnn F. Kohl
- Kids Create; Laurie Carlson
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images