Parents and Kids: Let’s Make Something Together

It’s fun to spend time with your little person, and they love receiving your attention, too. Here’s a fun activity you can do with the child(ren) in your life to cultivate conversation, critical thinking, movement, artistry and imagination. 

Robert Ebendorf, Off the Street, On the Beach, 1992, mixed media of found objects, mostly plastic, 1 1/2 x 14 1/2 in. (3.8 x 36.8 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Kenneth R. Trapp in honor of Robert Ebendorf

Found Object Wreath

Materials needed

Paper plate


Hot glue sticks

Hot glue gun


Found objects


Artist Robert Ebendorf created the mixed media necklace “Off the Street, On the Beach” by collecting items he found with his daughter while they walked along the beach and to her school. Look up this art piece on the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s website, (Use the search bar in the top right-hand corner of the website to search the title of the piece.)

Observe: What objects do you see that make up this necklace? 

Think: What do the objects say about the people and community they come from? 

Imagine: Make up a story about one of the objects, the person who owned it and how it became discarded.

Then, take a walk in an area near your home or another place that is interesting to you, like a park. Pick up interesting items you find along the way, whether they are objects from nature or objects that have been made by people. (If they are objects made by people, you may want to take along an antibacterial wipe to sanitize the objects before you pick them up.)

When you get back home, cut the middle circle out of a paper plate and recycle it, discard it or find another use for it. 

Then, arrange the objects in an interesting way on the remaining outer ring of the plate. 

Use hot glue and a hot glue gun to glue the objects to the paper plate. 

Cut a five-inch piece of yarn, and string it through the middle of the plate, tying both ends of the yarn together in a knot to create a way to hang the wreath you’ve just made. 

Think: What do the objects you found say about the people and community they come from? Philosophize: What makes something beautiful, and who decides? 

Philosophize: What makes something beautiful, and who decides?

Invent: In what other ways could objects people consider to be trash be used for other purposes? 


Want to modify this activity for younger children? 

Stick to picking up nature items along your walk, and hot glue those objects onto the ring of the paper plate. 

Observe: What do the leaves outside look like during this season? What else interests you about nature while you are on your walk? 

Predict: What will happen to the leaves as it gets colder outside, and why do you think that will happen? 

Imagine: Make up a story together about one of the items you find, and give it a central place on the wreath that you create together.