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Using Everyday Materials as Learning Tools

I love to use every day materials in our preschool classroom.   You can do the same at home.  Here is a small list of every day things you can find in your home or in a dollar store and use as learning tools.

Steel or Aluminum stove burner covers-  I use these as magnetic boards for magnetic letter activities or as a write and wipe board f0or the children to write with dry erase markers and practice letters and numbers or simply to draw.

Pool Noodles-I cut these in 1-2 inch pieces and add a slit down the middle to insert a popsicle stick to create traffic signs for the block area.   They also make great card holders to post letters or songs on during our morning meeting where we sing new songs and literacy activities. 

 Drop Clothes  -can be used as an art easel.  I have art easels, but love to tape these to the wall and then tape paper on them to paint.

Junk Mail-I save all of my junk mail to use the envelopes to use in our Preschool Post Office for the children to write and pretend to send to friends.   We use the junk mail for fun literacy activities of finding letters .  I will ask the children to  circle all of the C's for example.  There are great stickers in some junk mail that we reuse to decorate our art projects or to our Post Office to send out letters.  These junk papers make for great papers for cutting practice as well.

Musical Shakers-I have the children help me find and fill different containters such as water bottles,  cardboard tubes with beans, rice, salt, and even pebbles to create shakers we use for music.  When the children are involved  in creating our materials they are more invested, treasure ,  tend to respect and love the materials even more and take ownership for their care.  Oatmeal containers,  butter tubs  and  coffee cans make great musical drums.

Water Bottles- cut the middle out and it creates a great funnel and cup for water or sand play. Tape the part you cut for sharp edges.

Straws, popsicle sticks-  I place these in my block center and the children create with them making roads or adding to a block structure.  They make amazing tools for our playdough creating.

  Bottle Caps- I use them as counters for math,  sorting with them,  as part of the materials to create in our playdough,  cover with colored tape and use as game pieces.