Teaching PYP Kids Sustainability Through Art: Here’s How

International School, International School In Singapore

Today, April 22 is Earth Day, but teaching your child about conservation and sustainability matters shouldn’t stop after this day. Continue having conversations with them on the environment, get them thinking about where their trash comes from and where it will go next! Every day is an opportunity to remind your children how to live more sustainably and ethically for the sake of the world’s future.

And what’s one fun way to do so? Interestingly, many international schools are turning to the arts! Here’s why the arts have been a valuable tool to talk about sustainability and some craft ideas for you to kick start the conversation.

Why use art to teach sustainability?

Children learn best when doing. And art offers them that hands-on opportunity, creating something with their own two hands.

As they hold and work with used materials, get them to think – what materials are they using? Where have these materials come from, and how are they being used now? With these questions in mind, their work of art reinforces their learning and helps them remember what they’ve learnt more easily.

Especially for the younger ones, art is a fun activity to introduce larger themes such as sustainability in a more approachable manner. Let crafts be the perfect opportunity for you and your child to practise sustainable habits!

Sustainable activities to get started with

1. Songs to remember

Catchy tunes make anything more memorable, especially when you’re touching on heavy topics. Listen to green songs such as OwlyBird’s ‘Save The Earth Song’. With the repetition of the lines, ‘we can save the earth’ and ‘the earth and we are friends’, your child is sure to understand that they can protect Mother Earth.

What’s more, the upbeat tune makes the action phrases like ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ stick. Soon enough, you’ll find your child turning off the lights while humming to this captivating song!

2. Make your own recycled planter

Why not combine recycled art with some greenery? After collecting your plastic bottles, cut them up and use the base as an innovative recycled planter!

Do this activity with your child: each of you can design a bottle-planter, perhaps getting creative by drawing an animal face on it. Whether it’s a rabbit or a dog, this creative character is sure to bring your child’s green ideas to life.

3. Craft out your paper mache

Despite its elegant name, a paper mache is actually very easy to make and a friendly craft even for your PYP child. Try making a pencil holder or a little trinket bowl using these steps. Not only does this activity teach your child how to reuse trash, but it boosts their confidence in craft-making!

Paper mache pencil holder

Materials needed

  • a used empty can
  • a bowl
  • a bottle of glue
  • a cup of water
  • a small stack of newspapers and white paper


1. Add some glue into the bowl (just enough to cover the base entirely) and mix in the cup of water.

2. Tear the newspaper up into small strips.

3. mmerse the newspaper strips into the glue mix, ensuring that the strips are soaked with the mixture.

4. Wrap each strip around the can. Be sure to overlap the strips so that they form as layers and fully cover the body of the can.

5. Tear up some white paper, repeating steps 3 and 4 with the white paper strips.

6. After drying the new pencil holder overnight, draw or paint the white layer as you wish. Your pencil holder is now complete!


Art activities are an excellent starting point in teaching and talking to your children about sustainability. At IB schools in Singapore, art is not just found in extracurricular activities such as dance or drama. Art is taken into the ordinary classroom to expose all, from PYP level to children in the 12th grade age, to topics such as sustainability.

With a sustainable education, your children would be more aware of their daily waste and the importance of conservation. Their younger years are their most impressionable, so start early to ingrain the habits of the 3 Rs in your children.