Recyclable Resources

Many of you have asked about items to begin your year.  There are a few things you can buy that can be used for several  subjects like legos, unifix cubes, pattern blocks, number/letter rubber stamps/pad, plastic balance scale, and a geoboard, but most of the things you will need, you can find right in your home.

For dramatic play, your family probably already has dolls and dress-up clothes.

For blocks, you may already have legos, small cars/trucks, wooden blocks, etc.

Look at the toys you already have and work from there.

This is a list of items that you may normally throw away, that can be very useful in your homeschool room.  One word of caution: You will want to keep this organized, or it will start to just look like junk you should have thrown away!!  🙂

Plastic Stirrers-            Count them, use as writing untensil
Twist Ties-                     Count, connect, shape into letters and numbers,
Wrapping Paper-          Count, matching, patterning, labeling, journaling
Wallpaper-                    Count, matching, patterning, labeling, journaling
Styrofoam trays-          Sorting, counting,float/sink
Used Calendars-           Counting days, making books, recording events
Coupon booklets
& Sale Papers-                Letter recognition, number recognition, environmental print, play store, Read, make matching games, counting money, adding,
sorting, graphing,word recognition
Old rubber gloves–      Sensory activities, finger writing/painting
Seed Packets–               Read, sort, count, graph
Sponges–                         Cut into letters, numbers, shapes, absorption activities, painting activities
Old photo albums       Use for sorting/classifying
Magnets                           Magnetism, letter/number magnets, shaped magnets for sorting, graphing, using for travel
Three ring binder–       Storing drawings, begin an educational scrapbook of discoveries, collections
Paper bags-                    sorting, filling, labeling, making books, puppets, use in weighing activities
Bubble Wrap-               painting, texture rubbings, air/sound experiments,
Paint samples-             labeling, sorting, letter/number game cards, matching games, memory games.  NOTE: Paint samples cost a store money. Actually, they are quit expensive. If you are getting many of them for a project, ask how much they would  cost, or ask permission to get them, first.
Corrugated cardboard– texture rubbings, painting, making books,
Paper doilies-              texture rubbings, cut out letters, art projects,
Paper plates-               Making puppets, faces, art creations, books,
Vinyl Shower Curtain- Life size graphs, cut, book covers, display board, White ones are great projection screens,
Paper Towel Tubes– art, sorting, classifying, size sequencing (cut in different lengths), make binoculars, microscope, rockets, science activities,
Thin pieces of cardboard
Heavy paper bags- thematic vests, book covers, writing, art, gift wrap
Plastic utensils-       writing, dramatic play, play dough tools,
Maps, travel brochures Many of these can be found free at state parks and visitor centers. Your child can prepare and plan trips, dramatic play, pictures of trips for a collage,
Old greeting Cards & Junk Mail- art, play mail-man,
New greeting cards-  help your child send cards to people who have birthdays, anniversaries, sympathy, get well, Thinking of you. Card ministries can be a great thing for children to get in the habit.
Gift boxes,small boxes, shoe boxes-sorting, building, feely box, dramatic play, construction,
Cereal boxes– Play Grocery store, box books, front panel puzzles, environmental print
Thread spools-          use as weights in balance scale,
Plastic containers-   for organizing materials, measuring, sorting, classifying, paint containers,
Aluminum Pie pans– music instrument, counting, rhythm, sound
Newpapers-              letter/word recognition, environmental print,
comic strips-            Sequencing activities, reading
Can labels-               reading words, letter recognition, comparing size, environmental print
catalogs/magazines letters, words, money, numbers, theme scavenger hunt, collages, collections,
Plastic berry baskets/containers– storage, sorting, counting,
Paper cups in various sizes- nesting activities, sequencing, matching, cup memory games, sorting,
Egg cartons-       art projects, sorting, counting, matching, egg carton games
net bags (potatoes, oranges, lemons, etc)- texture activities, outdoor activities, science projects
Fabric scraps- patterning, sorting, making collages, making shape quilt patterns,
Pizza boxes-         sorting, storage, Art easels,
Cardboard pizza rounds- fractions, art, (many times, if you will tell a local pizza shop what you are doing, they will donate them.) steering wheels in box vehicles, make hats,
straws in assorted sizes & colors– counting, measuring, building/construction, pick up straws game, art, science, construct letters/numbers
envelopes-            making books, sorting, graphing, storage, patterns
plastic cookie/veggie/deli trays- sorting, dramatic play, storage
Old clean socks- matching, art projects, fine motor, gross motor games, patterns,
Jar lids-            magnetic travel mini-games, letter matching, memory games
Assorted nuts/bolts Match the correct nut to its bolt, fine motor skills
sticky note pads/order pads- child plays restaurant, salesman, role-play
buttons- sorting, patterning, graphing, games, art, counting, adding, subtracting,
countless activities can be done with buttons.
Old soap pump bottles- dispensing paint, role-play hygiene,
Take Out Menus- role-play, money
Stationary-      “write” letters
Chip, oat, coffee canisters- storage, musical instruments, shakers,
Old pillow cases/button up shirts- painting smocks, aprons,
Old roll-on deodorant bottles- pop the roll ball out and fill with paint or glue, replace the ball. You now have roll on paint and glue
Ribbon/yarn scraps- science experiments, art projects, matching, sorting, counting,
Old computer keyboards- role-play “office”
Laundry detergent scoops- measuring, paint containers, sand/water table,
styrofoam peanuts/chips- art, counting, estimation, float/sink, form letters,
candle stubs-         science experiments (water resistance)
Aluminum foil-    texture, molding, impression making, art, science,
Toothpaste boxes- Roll books, drawing storage
Fast food cup trays/carriers- sorting, make glasses/goggles, storage, work table organizer (paint the tray a bright color. Place four plastic cups in the holders and use for paint brushes, pencils, markers, color pencils, and no spill or toppling over)

While this is an extensive list, there are so many other things you can collect to use: acorns, rocks, bottle tips, poker chips, dice, and the list goes on and on!! I hope this will help you!

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