One of my favorite projects teaching children is my class "What is Art?". This class can be done with all ages.; from pre-school to high school. To begin the class, I put things like a painting, a cereal box, a pamphlet and a small figurine before the students and I ask them what they all have in common. At first they can't see anything but I tell them that they are all created by an artist.
Then I tell them that we are going to take the throwaways of life and make something artistic. I have a large bag of throwaway items from hardware stores, home and garden centers, grocery stores and craft stores. This can be anything from packing styrofoam to stir sticks to twist ties or pieces of cardboard. I empty everything onto a table at the front of the room and the children take turns coming to get things to work with. Then they have 30 - 40 minutes to "create". The time depends on the age and attention span of the children with the younger children needing more "hands on" help than the older students.
It is amazing the creative things that they can come up with. After they are all finished, we have a few minutes of "Show and Tell" where they can each talk about their creation or they can invite the other students to guess what they have made. It gets a little messy but it is a lot of fun. It teaches the children to see the artistic in everything around us and to value the creativity in everything. It also teaches them to recycle and reuse, and to not just throw away.
Today there is such an emphasis on the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in school and that is great and so needed for the future but there is and always will be a need for the artistic part of the human brain to express itself and for artistic creativity to be evidenced in the world.