An empty cottage cheese carton, for example, can be recycled into a storage box, a planter or a handy tracing device for drawing circles. What else around the house can be recycled for learning?
SAMPLE “SAVER” ITEMS
Containers and lids: Glass jars, plastic tubs and bottles and jugs, small boxes with lids, berry baskets, juice cans and oatmeal cartons, milk cartons small and large. Uses: liquid measuring activities, making musical instruments, candle molds, planters, vases, funnels, your child's personal mailbox.
Old printed materials: Magazines, catalogs, telephone directories, calendars, date books, greeting cards, junk mail, coupons. Uses: cutting out numbers, letters, words, appealing phrases - for making pieced together messages, for “real world” reading and math.
Back of note pads, cardboard from new clothing packages, tissue boxes. Uses: Picture frames, sewing cards, backing for placemats or posters, cut out figures.
Old pieces of paper, gift wrap, scraps of colored paper, shiny paper, tissue paper, bubble wrap. Uses: cut and paste pictures (for home made greeting cards, perhaps, mosaic pictures)
Cardboard tubes in all lengths. Uses: animal sculptures, make believe microphone or binoculars, holders for party favors, “rollers” for scrolls or pictures in a story sequence.
Egg cartons: Uses: sorting out and displaying collections, number games, making bumpy sculptures (cut apart cartons).
Single mittens, gloves, socks. Uses: puppets, dolls, bean bags.
Candly stubs, crayon stubs. Uses: making new candles, making melted crayon art (crayon shavings between sheets of waxed paper, melted with warm iron).
Odd note paper, envelopes. Uses: for important “in house” messages to and from your child. Envelopes can be used for sorting game pieces.
HOW TO STORE
Specific supplies will be easier to find if you sort out the items- paper tubes together, plastic containers, fabric scraps, etc. and store each kind separately in a labeled bag. The labels could either name the categories of items or their use (Save for crafts, save for reading projects, etc).
Excerpt from The Learning Letter: To Parents Helping Their Children Learn