Don’t Throw It Away!

Teachers, y’all are the very best at finding practical uses for familiar items. Check out this adorable fire-breathing dragon from a recent issue of The Mailbox magazine. Those impressive scales were made by painting bubble wrap with dark green paint and then pressing the painted material on light green paper.

Maybe you have ideas for reusing plastic fruit cups, frosting containers, take-out beverage trays, yogurt cups, twist-off lids—whew, the list goes on! I’d love to hear your ideas for reusing familiar items, and I’m guessing other teachers would too!

Has anyone tried reusing dryer sheets as whiteboard erasers?

Thanks for sharing!


9 thoughts on “Don’t Throw It Away!

  1. I just made a dragon from egg cartons for a Childrens Lit class I am taking this summer. We use empty fruit cups to hold paint in. They make great containers and you just rewash them.

    Frosting containers can be covered with colored paper and then contact paper to sort your markers in. Such as purple paper means the purple markers go there.

  2. We use the individual peanut butter cups for glue cups for the 4 to get use to dipping in one finger to glue paper to paper. We also use individual rice cup containers for paint.

  3. Oh, I love this blog topic!
    Empty Crystal Lite containers with the label removed are see through and make great containers to hold your stash of pompoms, Bingo markers, math manipulatives, lima beans that are painted red on one side, rubber bands.

  4. Recycling empty containers is a big part of our preschool program. We use yogurt containers to make grass head people, Puffs toddler snack containers to make snowmen or Mother’s Day vases, baby food jars to make candleholders, pie tins to make suncatchers and Cinco de Mayo hangers, clear nut containers to make bug jars, round oatmeal containers to make Native American drums, ready-to-spread frosting containers to make bubble dipping cups (and they are also great for making your own “dip & wipe” paint cups for the paint easel.) Paper towel rolls and egg cartons are great for so many things too.

  5. I like using clean old socks as dry erase board erasers, I also use tube socks I find at the thrift store to make rice snakes, used as part of a sensory diet for some of my students with special needs. You can feel the sock up with rice and then it can be heated in the microwave for only a few seconds and used as a heating pad and with the weight of the rice it can help calm an active child down. I have also used this technique to make cute little snowman. I have used plastic milk caps as checkers, parts of learning centers by making a memory game of sight words or battleship sight words, I have use them to create large pieces of art work, where I have students screw the cap onto a painted piece of plywood, they have to match colors and they have to use fine motor skills to attach the cap to the art.

  6. Visiting a friend and you want to bring them flowers from your garden, and so you don’t want to worry about them having them return your vase? Use a plastic milk container!!!!
    Clean and then fill one with warm water, (do this to easily peel off labels), then cut the top but keep the handle in the back with sheers. now you can use this vase and create a bouquet from your garden!!! Your friends will love it and you!!

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