What do plastic kumquats, cat food cans, a used LED lamp, a wine cork and the negative space inside the spools of a VHS cassette have in common?

Beyond being a sort of “junk,” they are among the objects that children at a Belfast daycare center recently used to make eyes for a mob of life-sized scarecrows. The final products — with similarly strange mouths, hair and clothing — will populate the streets of downtown Belfast for a month, starting this week.

The scarecrow exhibition is a collaboration between the Starrett Children’s Center, Our Town Belfast and a number of other individuals and organizations that donated materials for the project, including used clothing, brooms, coat hangers and piles of old costumes from past Belfast Maskers productions.

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the preschoolers were in full production mode, directing the adult staff members of the daycare in the way that a contemporary artist might direct a team of welders.

What came out of the collaboration were some scarecrows adults are too jaded to dream up, made real through techniques children haven’t lived long enough to master.

“We have to be the engineers. That’s basically how I look at it,” said Linda Stec, director of the Starrett Childrens’ Center. “We have the technical expertise to say ‘You can’t glue something like this sticking out like this.”

She picked up a thin wooden skewer and touched the point of it to her nose to illustrate a fairly extreme example. Otherwise, pretty much anything seemed to be fair game. Wooden balls stuffed into a nest of sticks? No problem. Styrofoam numbers glued to a milk carton, then topped with empty, plastic fruit cups?

Why not?

More often than not, the solution involved the daycare’s go-to medium for quick creativity, the hot glue gun. The downside, Stec said, is that glue guns burn. Even in the safe-sounding, “low temperature” variety.

The observation, affirmed by the occasional howl coming from staff member run afoul of a glob of the melted plastic, suggested another reason for the division of labor.

“But it still works because they’re making the decisions,” Stec said. “We say, ‘We’re just the gluers. You’re the artist.’”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 3, the children had completed around a dozen scarecrows and appeared to have the materials — and interest — to do many more.

Weather permitting, the scarecrows will be installed downtown in time for the monthly, Main Street engagement of the Belfast Farmers’ Market, and the First Friday Art Walk, Oct. 7.