Make It a Community Affair

By Ellen Booth Church
  • Grades: PreK–K

As you well know, creative invention activities require assorted materials for children to use. An excellent, and frequently underutilized, source of great materials is the business community. Useful materials are discarded every day. Request donations from local businesses and begin building a stronger school-community relationship.


Consider having others help you with this recycling effort. Share your plans with parents and ask if they can either donate or recommend organizations that might make donations. Consider approaching service clubs, such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and so on.


If you decide to approach business people, clear communication of your general needs and objectives will make it much easier. Put it in writing. Create a brief letter saying who you are and that you would like to discuss the possible recycling and reuse of materials. As part of the letter, give some examples (see sidebar on page 41). Begin by sending the letter to a few people. Get a commitment for a meeting during which you can explain (again) your needs and objectives. Let the person with whom you are speaking know that you are only exploring the possibility of help. If the person is interested in helping, set a date for when you can pick up the materials. Follow up with a thank-you note, perhaps with a photo showing how the children are using the donation.

  • Subjects:
    Cleverness, Creativity and Imagination, Scientists and Human Endeavor, Working with Families and the Community, Inventors and Inventions