Gift Guide

Good Earth Art: Environmental Art for Kids (Bright Ideas for Learning)



An Earth-Friendly Collection of Imaginative Projects for Kids
of All Ages

GOOD EARTH ART offers a creative variety of art
projects that develop an awareness of the environment and
encourage a caring attitude towards the earth. using
materials collected from nature or saved from the trashbin,
kids explore and enjoy their creativity with results
bounded only by imagination.

Projects include:
Earth Paints
Leaf Bursts
Homemade Crayons
Cattail Baskets
Cardboard City
Handmade Paper
Car Part Sculpture
Inner Tube Prints
Natural Berry Dye
Wood Scrap Sculpture

Over 200 Practical, Easy and Open-Ended
Art Experiences Utilizing Recycled
and Natural Materials

Written by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Cindy Gainer. MaryAnn is an
experienced teacher and the author of "Scribble Art" and
"Mudworks", award winning art ideas books for children. Cindy
is an art specialist, teacher, writer, and illustrator.

Over two hundred projects for painting and drawing, sculpture and mobiles, collage and printing, weaving and crafts, and handmade art supplies emphasize recycling and natural materials.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Full of enough projects to keep a classful of inquisitive minds exploring art for years, with materials as close as your garden or the burrs on your sweater."
~ Lynn Johnston, Cartoonist, "For Better or for Worse"

"Celebrate Earth Day every day with "Good Earth Art" ... a book of useful, easy, and important learnings for earth's young citizens."
~ Kim Solga, editor, KidsArt Magazine and author of the Art for Children series

"We have enjoyed MaryAnn as a regular guest on our children's television show, Take Part!, sharing projects from "Scribble Art" and "Mudworks". The creative recycling in "Good Earth Art" is perfect for our young viewers and for our planet."
~ Lois Walker, author, columnist, and host of Take Part!, children's television series

"A wealth of ideas for creating beautiful art utilizing the earth's natural resources as well as recycled materials."
~ Dr. Robert Rockwell, Director of Early Childhood Education, Southern Illinois University, and author of "Hug a Tree" and "Mudpies to Magnets"

School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-- A presentation of craft projects that are supposed to be good for the Earth. However, the use of new plastic bags, aluminum foil, styrofoam, and food products make this claim questionable. Using blocks of cheese for sculpture, even if one eats the results, is wasteful. Using matchboxes (with matches in them) for artwork seems awfully tempting for most children, and the melting of styrofoam and plastic in the oven is dangerous no matter what cautions are given. The inclusion of a thorough index, bibliography, and list of governmental organizations do not add enough to elevate this above most craft manuals. The black-and-white illustrations do not always support the intended projects or make the directions more comprehensible. Although there are a few original ideas, this is a marginal choice for most collections. --Eva Elisabeth Von Ancken, Trinity Pawling School, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780935607017
  • Publisher: Bright Ring Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1991
  • Series: Bright Ideas for Learning
  • Pages: 244
  • Sales rank: 1,450,737
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.96 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

MaryAnn F. Kohl is the author of "Discovering Great Artists", "Scribble Art", "First Art," "Preschool Art," and 15+ other titles. MaryAnn F. Kohl keeps a busy schedule of presentations, workshops, keynotes, and interviews around the country, all year long. She also is active in social media and sends an eNewsletter to her followers each month. Her website is full of art resources and free ideas.

Cindy Gainer is the co-author of "Math Arts" with Kohl, and the author/illustrator of "I'm Like You, You're Like Me." Gainer is working on illustrating and writing children's books.

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Read an Excerpt


Who uses Good Earth Art?

Good Earth Art is a resource for all ages, young and old.
Young children explore any project in the book no matter
what the age suggestion, as long as they have appropriate
help. Older children add maturity and experience to even the
most basic project, and will find all projects a challenge or
discovery even if the age suggested is younger than their

Adults using Good Earth Art will enjoy helping children
select suitable projects based on the materials or supplies on
hand, but will also enjoy using the art experiences for their
own creative enjoyment. The authors do!

What about saving materials?

Everyone is encouraged to save and collect supplies rather
than buying a product just to get to the resulting art material.
Some products are not particularly sound for the
environment, and their purchase is not recommended.
However, when left-over plastics, papers, styrofoams, and
other materials are found, saving and using them for art is
better than simply throwing them in the trash. Making use of
existing or left-over materials and product packaging is the
goal rather than purchasing the product.

Schools and offices often have great amounts of throwaways
that can be recycled into art. First look in the Index for
suggested materials, and then start searching for those
materials to save for art projects. You may never have to buy
anything in order to do the projects in Good Earth Art, other
than basic art supplies like paint and glue.

What's special about Good Earth Art?

The art experiences in Good Earth Art enable children to
acquaint themselves with the natural qualities of the earth
such as leaves, rocks, shells, dirt, wind, rain, and sunshine.
Children also learn to observe, create, and remain in touch
with our changing world, and to develop a caring attitude
towards the earth by learning to recycle and use materials for
art rather than throwing them away.
Is it the process of creating or the finished product that
matters in children's art?

Good Earth Art encourages children to explore and create
without worrying about the finished product. Children
experiment, make mistakes, try new ideas of their own, and
enjoy the thrill of the creative process. There is no right way
or wrong way for projects to turn out, just the joyful pleasant
process of the experience.

Given sufficient time for exploration and experimentation in
art, children will refine their work automatically and
independently. They will judge their own results and work
towards their own goals, often with the most incredible,
surprising results!

Explore. Experiment. Create. Enjoy the creative sparkle of
each child.


1. Self-Confidence
Respect a child's ideas and efforts. Allow the child to experience
accomplishment by giving his creativity time and space, time to
work out ideas, and by giving imagination a chance.

2. Allow Non-Conformity
Let a child know that it is okay to listen to Thoreau's "different
drummer". It is desirable to break away from what everyone
else is doing.

3. Explore and Think
Encourage a child to think a project through, but first allow
exploration and experimentation without criticism. After experiencing
materials and ideas, thought patterns and plans of action
will fall into place.

4. Exposure
Being introduced to new experiences, cultural events, games,
and activities encourages original thinking and imagining.
Provide materials for a child to explore with no particular

5. Respect
A child should be encouraged to respect his own ideas and the
ideas of those around him in order to develop new ideas.
Watching a child too closely can be limiting, as can fostering
competition or restricting choices. Praise freely and sincerely.

6. Imagination Permission
Give permission to the child to embrace imagination freely
without fear of criticism or outside control. People who do not
feel comfortable being imaginative hold themselves back from
creativity. Let imagining feel positive, and yes, even fun!

7. Thinking in New Ways
Encourage thinking in new ways. Try new things. Experiment
and explore and make mistakes. Learning from mistakes handson
is the best teacher available to each child. Encourage the
child to try the opposite way, the untraveled idea, the silly, or
the unusual. Discoveries can be made daily!

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

6 Using symbols
10 Building Blocks to Creativity
11 Introduction

13-44 Chapter 1: Painting and Drawing
Examples of activities: Newspaper Design, Cardboard Box Painting, Fresco, Impasto, Scrimshaw, Felt Drawings, Nature Rubbings, Shadow Paintings, Leaf Burst

45-94 Chapter 2: Sculpture and Mobiles
Examples of activities: String Sew, Newspaper Sculpture, Paper Tube Sculpture, Shadow Art, Cardboard City, Aces Wild Sculpture, Lid Mobile, Theme Tree, Cinnamon Ornaments, Sandy Bakery, Seashell Display, On-Site Beach, Pebble Towers, Shell Chimes

95-128 Chapter 3: Collage and Printing
Examples of activities: String Collage, Wood Shavings Collage, Dried Bean Pictures, Waxed Paper Leaf Collage, Sandwich bag Designs, Funny Paper Art, Yarn Prints, Chalk Floats, Bubble Pop Art, Garden Prints, Foiled Leaf, Pressed Cookie Print

129-180 Chapter 4: Weaving and Crafts
Examples of activities: Branch Weave, Fence Weave, Fruit Basket Weave, Shrinkles, Stained Glass Lantern, Luminaries, Nature Wreath, Holiday Chain, Wildflower Chain, Feather Necklace, Pebble Necklace, Newspaper Beds, Egg Shell Planters

181-214 Chapter 5: Homemade by Hand
Examples of activities: Earth Paints, earth Crayons, Nature Paintbrush, Egg Shell Crayons, Homemade Rice Paste, Homemade paper, Recycled Wrap, Natural Berry Dye, Onion Skin Egg Dye, Homemade Fossils, Pressed Plants, Old Sock Puppets

215-224 Chapter 6: Resource Guide
Examples: Where to Find Free Materials, Environmental Organizations, Bibliography, Indexes, About the Authors

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2000

    Collect Indoors and Out - for Easy Art Activities

    Environmental Art for Kids, the sub-title. I like that. But what does it mean? This book takes kids outdoors to collect 'stuff' from nature, like leaves and pinecones, or indoors to collect 'stuff' like envelopes and newspaper. Once collected, there are about 150 projects for open-ended things to make with them. I especially liked making a 'leaf burst' with supple autumn leaves and paint.It's easy for even young kids, and it's beautiful. Easy too. I also like the page big idea per page, book stays open nicely, great icons to help with other decisions to be made like how difficult and so forth. And can you believe it gives recipes for making your own homemade paste, glue, yarn, and chalk? Even how to build a kiln outside and bake your own clay, dry your own flowers. This is a pretty nice book for parents or teachers, camps, or any one who likes kids. Great for ages 4-12.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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