Kindergarten Recycled Art: Funky Fish!


I try to incorporate at least one 3-D project into every grade-level’s curriculum and I recently realized I had forgotten to do so with my kindergarteners.  I came across some very old, used, and forgotten sketchbooks stashed away in my classroom. They were in horrible shape and many of the pages were missing. I decided to tear the cardboard backings off  and see what to do from there. ImageAfter browsing the web for inspiration, I ran across some fish sculptures and knew that kindergarteners would have a blast making something similar. Having learned from past experience that kindergarteners aren’t expert scissor cutters yet (and that cardboard isn’t the easiest thing to cut) I traced out some fish shapes and cut them myself. This was a little time consuming and I’m GLAD that I didn’t try to have my students cut them, because I didn’t have the easiest time with it! My x-acto knives had to make an appearance, so we know it was serious. ImageAs you can see, I cut some slits in the fish bodies for fins and tails. I cut more slits than I needed to with the idea that students would rope yarn through them at the end of the project. Each student received a fish and began the first part of the project…”white-washing.” Kindergarteners coated their cardboard fish with a layer of white paint. ImageImageImageImageWhen these fish were dry, kindergarteners mixed colors and painted a layer of designs on top of the white. I didn’t want to give them TOO much direction (as far as painting a solid color first, color mixing, ect) because I was eager to see what they came up with. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageWe laid out our fish on an unoccupied table and I asked groups of kindergarteners to walk up to the table, make a circle around it, and admire the fish of the class. ImageThis was taken quite seriously by some. 🙂

ImageOn the last day of this project, kindergarteners embellished their fish. They added details using oil pastels and had access to glitter, moon-stones, cotton balls, yarn, sand, and some other miscellaneous items I had around.  ImageI tied fishing wire to the fins of the fish so that kindergarteners could take them home and hang them up in their rooms. Check out some of their festive creations!


 As many of you know, this was my first year EVER teaching kindergarten. Just like all new experiences, this year involved a lot of trial and error.   More than once, I found myself realizing (halfway through a lesson) that what I’d planned was just too hard and demanded skills that the kindergarteners just didn’t quite have yet. And the opposite happened…some of my lessons were probably better suited for pre-K than kindergarten. It’s been a learning experience, but I think it’s made me a better teacher in the long run.

Thanks for a great year! Can’t wait to teach this crew in 1st grade.

-Mrs. Heinlein

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