Whilst we were waiting for the school garden’s flowerbeds to be cemented and filled with soil, we started our recycling project. We set up a plastic bottle bank outside our classroom, and waited.

As it turned out, we didn’t have to wait long. The boxes were soon overflowing with paper and plastic bottles. We saw students, teachers, and even parents bringing bottles over to drop into the box. It was a stark reminder of just how much plastic we plough through in a week.

Next, I spray painted the bottles, ready to be painted.

I struggled to keep up with the sheer volume of bottles, and there is a constant heap of them ready to be painted each week! After painting, I cut a window into each one (the children are aged 6-8 years old) and stabbed drainage holes into the bottom.

Now for the fun bit. In our very first Forest School session, I taught the children about aerial roots and propagation. I was labelled a “bad guy” for cutting the pothos plant, but the children were amazed to learn that they could use this cutting to make a new plant!

Once the children had taken their cutting (being careful to leave a node for the roots) it was time to decorate their bottles.

The bottles looked great! The first batch were painted, but it quickly became laborious to spray paint, paint, and wait for the bottles to dry each week.

I bought a few sets of permanent markers, which made life a lot easier! We used these to colour straight onto bottles, spray painted when I had enough time, or just straight onto clear plastic. It turned out that they look great either way!

These developed into ‘Forest Spirits’ with the addition of googly eyes:

Some were added to the garden trees, but most were affixed to the railings outside our classroom. Here is how our planted wall looked after the first week:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 6:

As you can see, the plants are doing really well. The children love watering them, as it creates a rain-like effect if you over water the top row…with the water trickling down into bottles below.

This recycling/gardening project is going really well. The children are learning to care for the plants whilst also taking people’s waste and turning it into something useful, both for the school community and the environment!

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