Upcycling Craft Projects and Therapy Worksheets

It’s April. Spring has arrived. It’s the month of Earth Day. 

It’s an excellent time to reflect on our impacts on the environment and how we can nurture the planet that gives us…well, everything.

Which leads me to this question: What do you do with your old craft projects and worksheets? 

At some point, they are ready for the recycle bin or (ugh) garbage can. But there are other options. Consider upcycling craft projects and therapy worksheets with a few creative ideas.

Upcycling craft projects gives us the ability to reuse materials and:

  • Stretch budgets by using old supplies and materials 
  • Give opportunities to revisit previous group work discussions
  • Allow participants to take a more active role in supporting the environment
  • Show off your skills as a creative Recreation Therapist
  • Create an interesting conversation piece for your participants, staff, and visitors
  • Grow some beautiful flowers

Let’s explore how we can reuse and upcycle materials from previous recreation therapy activities.  

Upcycled Bulletin Board Collage

Prepare a blank bulletin board. 

Gather a bunch of old drawings, worksheets, or craft projects and have your participants cut or tear them apart. Then have your participants glue or stick the pieces on the bulletin board.

Think of creating a theme. For example, if participants did a leisure education group where they drew their favorite activities or made leisure ads, then title the board “Exploring Leisure.” Then create images of leisure activities using the scraps of paper and old craft projects.

The collage will highlight exploring leisure activities in an original, Earth-friendly way.

Flower Art

If an upcycled bulletin board collage doesn’t seem like a good fit, a smaller, more individualized project may be a better option. 

Keeping with the spirit of spring, create flower art from old craft projects and worksheets. Start with a large piece of paper or poster board for each participant. Have them paint or draw the stems of the flowers. 

Next, have your participants cut up old group projects in the shape of flower petals. Paste the cut-up paper to create flower designs. 

Take it a step further by integrating the growing process. Have your participants list ways recreation and leisure education helps them grow.

Custom Picture/Award Frame

Collages make such cool art projects. So here’s one more idea…

Save some of the worksheets a participant did on self-care, anger management, or leisure awareness. Once they have completed their goals or finished the curriculum, have them create a mini-collage on a cardboard frame. Then add a picture or certificate of achievement to the frame.

The participant has a reminder of how the lessons taught them and helped them achieve goals. 

Please note: With all the collage projects, make sure any sensitive or confidential information is removed from the scraps of worksheets you’re using.

Wildflower Seed Bombs

Moving beyond collage activity ideas, here is a horticulture activity idea to use old scraps of worksheets and construction paper.

Get a few packets of wildflower seeds. Then blend the paper, water, and seeds in a food processor.

Have your participants form the mixture into small balls–or seed bombs. Let them dry.

Find an area where you can plant the seed bombs and have your participants dig small holes and put them in the ground. 

The paper acts as compost. With proper sun and water, the seed bombs will germinate into beautiful flowers. 

Use this as a talking point. How do small lessons and past experiences help with transformation? 

The Takeaway

These are just a few ways to expand your budget and be environmentally friendly with your old crafts and worksheets. 

Creative upcycling craft projects ideas like these empower your participants to take a closer look at their personal growth and their impact on the environment. Here is a great Earth Day craft resource I found as inspiration for this article.

Do you have more ideas? Could you share them with the community? We’re working on growing a vibrant community where Recreation Therapists, helping professionals, and families can use the power of Leisure to help, heal, and transform. 

Comment below or join the Real Recreation Therapist Facebook group and start sharing!

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