By Carlotta Mohamed
Children colored, cut, pasted and built creations from recyclable materials at the New York Hall of Science’s “Remake the Holidays” event last week.
“Remake the Holidays” was created to encourage individuals to reuse and repurpose materials to create unique items such as stuffed toys, festive paper garland, gift tags and more.
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent, an additional one million tons per week, according to Elizabeth Slagus, director of public programs at NYSCI.
“This year, all of our Remake activities will include descriptions of where and how the supplies have been sourced,” said Slagus. “Our goal is not just sharing creative and fun ideas for projects, but also demonstrating how you can source reusable materials if you don’t want to buy and consume new items.”
At the Tinkering Workshop, kids transformed old toys and everyday materials — donated from visitors, colleagues, and materials for the arts — into amazing new creations.
Patrice Jean-Baptiste, who has been a NYSCI member for two to three years now, helped her 5-year-old son and daughter construct a house made out of old pamphlets.
“I think it’s wonderful. My daughter is an artist so I expect her to be naturally interested this, but my son, he’s not into art but he’s very much interested in building,” said Jean-Baptiste. “He’s making the decisions and what to pick and making sure the structure stands… he normally doesn’t like to do that.
“I’m enamored by something that has drawn his interest and is cultivating by science and engineering at the same time,” Jean-Baptiste added.
Jean-Baptiste said she looks forward to attending the “Remake the Holidays” event next year.
Across the room, Donna Vargas helped her daughters create and decorate a stuffed kitten.
“[The workshop] teaches them to be inventive, to reuse things, and problem solving skills of putting things together,” said Vargas. “It gives them a sense of accomplishment when they actually make something on their own out of different things.”
As kids were busy with their creations inside, a small crowd gathered outside to watch ice sculptor Bill Bywater as he inspired visitors about endangered species with his beautiful ice sculptures.
Each day, Bywater carved a different endangered or threatened species that has made some progress through conservation and legislation. This year’s ice sculptures featured a Canadian lynx, bad eagle, loggerhead turtle and a southern sea otter.
Other workshops at the NYSCI included a fabric arts scrap shop; a winter wonderland gallery; regift tags; green garland with guest remaker Angela Catherine Carlucci; and marvelous mushrooms with designer-in-residence Jan Mun.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha