TO SUPPORT TEACHING and LEARNING Local businesses and industries give away plastic rings, bamboo, foam shapes, fabric, yarn, wood, wire,cardboard tubes, paper, and many other things that fascinate and inspire creativity in children and adults. Children think,plan, and observe what happens when using these items to count, sort, stack, build, make books, create art, or roll across the floor. They can learn to understand concepts and develop skills that relate one idea to another while stacking pieces of Styrofoam or filling card-board tubes with plastic caps.
TO DEVELOP A NEW GENERATION OF ENVIRONMENTALISTS Using these materials lets children and families see reusable items in a new way. They learn that materials can serve numerous purposes. A piece of pink foam becomes carpet in the doll house; buttons and bottle caps are perfect for sorting by size, color, and shape. Instead of continuing to throw away or replace items, families might donate them to the local program or find new uses for them at home.
TO ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY The unique shapes and designs of packaging and manufacturing leftovers awaken children’s imaginations. They wonder, “Where did these spools come from? What can I do with this cardboard tube?” Children investigate, explore, and make new things, often combining reusable resources with items on hand. They think, “I am creative, powerful, and capable of learning.”
BECAUSE THEY ARE FREE AND FUN! Creative teachers will find many ways to use reusable resources. They might make games, puzzles, and books. Children can make collages, sculptures, mobiles, and more. Programs can use the money saved for other learning materials.
*"Why Reusable Resources" reprinted with permission from Teaching Young Children (TYC Vol. 1 No.2) a publication of the National Association for the Education of Young Children: (NAEYC) www.naeyc.org