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Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle! Re-purposing common household items for teaching
We’ve been talking about how to take common household items you would normally throw away in the recycle bin and re-purpose them for your learning environment. This not only saves you $ in your budget, but it gives you more room to do some other fun things or buy other resources you need. Why pay full price for something that you could make yourself. That’s my motto with pretty much anything.
The other reason is that in doing this you are teaching your children valuable lessons about being good stewards of the resources they’ve been blessed with. Not only are you educating them on keeping the environment healthy, but you are teaching them resourcefulness, and creativity.
I grew up in a family, where my mom and her sisters were the most creative people I knew on the planet when it came to resourcefulness, my mom when shopping would always say, I’m not buying this I could totally make it myself, and then she would! I learned from her and plan on passing that on to my children as well.
We may be just creating simple learning tools, but it’s so much more than just what is on the surface.
That being said, today’s recycling idea of the day is re-purposing containers. I am notorious for storing up containers for a rainy day. I use them for everything. When I got a great buy 2 get 3 sale on some nut mixes in a plastic container I was overjoyed! We used 2 of them to make a time capsule to go along with a history lesson, and 1 to store pencils, and another to store markers. This is perfect so that my little 1 yr old will not be able to unscrew the tops and get to them.
The larger containers I use for storing random items, like this large container I use for storing some simple foam squares acquired in the dollar section of target that we use for counting and sorting and building.
Egg crates are another EXCELLENT recyclable. You can use them as paint pallets for keeping colors separated, for counting activities, sorting, creating games to practice learning. A favorite of ours is moving a board piece and you have to spell your vocabulary word and state the definition, if you spell the vocabulary word correctly you move one space, if you say the definition and spell the vocabulary word correctly you move two spaces. We’ve also used them for progressive story telling where I put some random small toy inside an easter egg and as the child opens the eggs they need to build a story around what is inside the egg. It is a great way to get them using their imaginations.
You can also recycle things such as Kleenex boxes, and baby wipe containers to hold things such as note cards and vocabulary words, you can even turn them into prize grab and go containers for rewards. I recently repurposed a Kleenex paper towel dispenser to hold my “what’s the weather like today?” cards so they are handy when I go to do that portion of our school day with the little ones. It even matches nicely :) I also repurposed a baby wipes container to store my chalk and eraser, I can easily grab one or put one back through the slot in the top.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to look beyond the container to see the many other ways you can enjoy creating fun learning activities and memories to cherish with your little ones to make their educational time fun and interesting.