Art projects can teach children about natural disasters and emergency preparedness. Children are not immune to anxiety about natural disasters, and they can react with grief, confusion and anger when they hear of or experience one. According to Anita Gurian, Ph.D., of the New York University Child Study Center, adults can help children process these feelings by educating them about natural disasters and how to protect themselves, and by providing outlets, such as art projects, for children's emotions.
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Emergency Preparedness Posters
Create informational posters about types of natural disasters and emergency preparedness tips. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides kid-friendly information. Children can illustrate a natural disaster, such as a volcano, forest fire, or flood, and include safety tips for emergency survival. It can be useful to focus on natural disasters that are common in the children's area. Provide large paper and bold media such as markers, poster paints, or cut construction paper to encourage children to explore their feelings about natural disasters.
Natural Disaster Map
Students studying geography will appreciate knowing where different types of natural disasters occur. Children can create badges on circles of construction paper that represent types of natural disasters. Use markers and refer to photographs online as a guide. Discuss where each natural disaster tends to occur and why, and have the children glue the badges in the appropriate place on a large map outline of the United States or the world.
Build a Volcano
Not every natural disaster art project needs to be serious: the old favourite science fair volcano can be a fun way to learn about geology and chemistry. Using self-drying modelling clay, mould a volcano over a small, empty plastic bottle. When the clay is dry, paint it to look like the outside of a volcano. Put a few teaspoons of baking soda in the bottle, pour in white vinegar, and stand back to watch the eruption. This volcano can be used over and over again.
Decorated Emergency Kit
Learn about emergency survival kits from FEMA, and prepare a list of important disaster preparation equipment. Using an inexpensive plastic tub with a lid to hold a survival kit, decorate the tub using découpage. Print or draw images of natural disasters and glue them to the lid or sides of the tub. Label the lid with a large red cross symbol made of coloured duct tape. Cover the decorations with a coat of craft sealant. Tape a list of supplies and emergency tips inside the lid of the container.
Cards for Natural Disaster Survivors
Let children get involved when a natural disaster strikes by sending cards to affected children. Provide blank greeting cards or postcards, and allow children to decorate them with encouraging images and words. Ask children to think about how they might feel after a disaster and what they might like to read on a card. Mail the cards through the local Red Cross or another emergency relief agency.
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