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September 9, 2015 13 Fun Grab-and-Go Containers for Classroom Centers By Allie Magnuson
Grades PreK–K

    My students love centers. But the truth is, they could love them more. Why? Because no one can get too excited about the same drab containers — whether they're clear plastic tubs, shoeboxes, or the cardboard boxes the materials come in. And since some containers don't have handles, they're hard to carry around.

    So this year, I decided to make things easier and more enjoyable for the kids (and myself too!). I settled upon the concept of "grab-and-go" centers: activities in fun containers that are easy to pick up and carry.

    The year is just beginning. I came up with some ideas by looking at things I already had in my classroom, and I'm going to share those ideas with you. If you have boring containers like I do, check out these pictures and hopefully you'll be inspired to turn "drab" into "fun-to-grab!"

     

    Lunchboxes make fun and stackable center storage

    If you have an activity with magnetic pieces, try using a tin lunch box. Or, fill a lunch box with paints and a Thermos of water for an instant art center.

     

    Tin containers come in many varieties for all your center needs

    For an activity with many pieces, look for a container with multiple compartments. Round containers are great for round pieces, like counters. Create an activity based on the design of a decorative container.

     

    Put a lacing card center in a sewing box

    You can find used sewing baskets at garage sales and thrift stores, or buy them new at places like Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.

     

    Holidays can inspire your center storage

    Holiday baskets can be obtained almost anywhere during their respective seasons, including Dollar Tree, Walgreens, Walmart, and Michaels.

     

    Gift bags are a cheap way to keep centers new and interesting

    Use gift bags only for centers that are lightweight so they won't rip or beak.

     

    Store your centers in Happy Meal boxes

    A McDonald's Happy Meal box is perfect for small arts and crafts supplies.

     

    Clear bug boxes = fun center storage

    Science centers are fun in animal containers like bug boxes, fish tanks, and hamster cages. Animals optional!

     

    Decorate baskets or cigar boxes to match your center's subject

    Glue on related objects, stencil on some words or pictures, draw or paint designs, add stickers, or cover with decorative paper.

     

    Paint cans are great for holding centers

    Ask for empty paint cans at hardware and paint stores, or take a look around your garage for old ones.

     

    Look for different kinds of kid-friendly boxes for your centers

    Reuse boxes that have fun designs or that come with children's products, like this cute note card box and child software box.

     

    Use kitchen containers as center storage

    Kitchen containers are great for counting and sorting activities.

     

    Backpacks, drawstring pouches, tote bags, and bags with zippers and snaps all make good containers

    Open bags are good for larger items like books. Bags that close are good for smaller, loose supplies.

     

    Store and stack centers in vintage suitcases

    Suitcases are especially fun for travel or exploration centers.

     

    Let me know if you think of any other fun containers to use for centers! And if you haven't already, follow me on Pinterest and Twitter.

    My students love centers. But the truth is, they could love them more. Why? Because no one can get too excited about the same drab containers — whether they're clear plastic tubs, shoeboxes, or the cardboard boxes the materials come in. And since some containers don't have handles, they're hard to carry around.

    So this year, I decided to make things easier and more enjoyable for the kids (and myself too!). I settled upon the concept of "grab-and-go" centers: activities in fun containers that are easy to pick up and carry.

    The year is just beginning. I came up with some ideas by looking at things I already had in my classroom, and I'm going to share those ideas with you. If you have boring containers like I do, check out these pictures and hopefully you'll be inspired to turn "drab" into "fun-to-grab!"

     

    Lunchboxes make fun and stackable center storage

    If you have an activity with magnetic pieces, try using a tin lunch box. Or, fill a lunch box with paints and a Thermos of water for an instant art center.

     

    Tin containers come in many varieties for all your center needs

    For an activity with many pieces, look for a container with multiple compartments. Round containers are great for round pieces, like counters. Create an activity based on the design of a decorative container.

     

    Put a lacing card center in a sewing box

    You can find used sewing baskets at garage sales and thrift stores, or buy them new at places like Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.

     

    Holidays can inspire your center storage

    Holiday baskets can be obtained almost anywhere during their respective seasons, including Dollar Tree, Walgreens, Walmart, and Michaels.

     

    Gift bags are a cheap way to keep centers new and interesting

    Use gift bags only for centers that are lightweight so they won't rip or beak.

     

    Store your centers in Happy Meal boxes

    A McDonald's Happy Meal box is perfect for small arts and crafts supplies.

     

    Clear bug boxes = fun center storage

    Science centers are fun in animal containers like bug boxes, fish tanks, and hamster cages. Animals optional!

     

    Decorate baskets or cigar boxes to match your center's subject

    Glue on related objects, stencil on some words or pictures, draw or paint designs, add stickers, or cover with decorative paper.

     

    Paint cans are great for holding centers

    Ask for empty paint cans at hardware and paint stores, or take a look around your garage for old ones.

     

    Look for different kinds of kid-friendly boxes for your centers

    Reuse boxes that have fun designs or that come with children's products, like this cute note card box and child software box.

     

    Use kitchen containers as center storage

    Kitchen containers are great for counting and sorting activities.

     

    Backpacks, drawstring pouches, tote bags, and bags with zippers and snaps all make good containers

    Open bags are good for larger items like books. Bags that close are good for smaller, loose supplies.

     

    Store and stack centers in vintage suitcases

    Suitcases are especially fun for travel or exploration centers.

     

    Let me know if you think of any other fun containers to use for centers! And if you haven't already, follow me on Pinterest and Twitter.

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Susan Cheyney

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