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October 7, 2014

5 Extraordinary Pocket-Friendly Ideas

By Allie Magnuson
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Now that your students are used to school, you can try to move past the basics and implement some more unique, challenging, and fun activities that are easy on the wallet!

    1. Lessons and center activities don't have to cost money or take a lot of time to create. Using your students' favorite things (such as books, toys, and objects) to teach a concept is easier, cheaper, and more engaging.

    Write words on Lego bricks with a black marker. Separate parts of speech by brick color, and let your students mix and match (first anything from the red tower, then anything from the yellow tower, etc.) to build a story, sentence by sentence.


    2. It's always good to reduce, reuse, and recycle, because it saves money and the environment at the same time. The best way to help the environment is to reduce. But when you're faced with something as ubiquitous as the lowly plastic bag, get creative with ways to reuse.

    Collect used plastic bags and have your students decorate them with words or artwork. Now reusing these land fillers carries two messages: one conveyed by your actions and one spelled out on your bag.




    3. Sometimes, you have to decide where to spend your money, and where to scrimp and save. For example, paints are a better buy than palettes. But palettes are still useful.

    If you like the bold colors of tempera paints and the ease of watercolor sets, splurge on the paints, but make your own palettes with egg cartons. 




    4. School supply catalogs try to entice you with expensive versions of the most basic items. Why waste your money when there are other things that are easier to get, cheaper to replace, and that will work just as well? You might also be able to find materials that are smaller and easier to store. 

    These mini plastic cups, when paired with a small rubber bouncy ball, make a delightful shell game for eye-hand coordination.

     

    5. When you want children to work independently (and quietly), you have to find activities that are calming and just as effective for individuals as they are for groups. The most economical way to do this to get items that come in large packs, so you get the most for your money.  

    Buy a few dollar store bins and fill them with water beads (and water) to make personal sensory playlands for the tabletop.

    Now that your students are used to school, you can try to move past the basics and implement some more unique, challenging, and fun activities that are easy on the wallet!

    1. Lessons and center activities don't have to cost money or take a lot of time to create. Using your students' favorite things (such as books, toys, and objects) to teach a concept is easier, cheaper, and more engaging.

    Write words on Lego bricks with a black marker. Separate parts of speech by brick color, and let your students mix and match (first anything from the red tower, then anything from the yellow tower, etc.) to build a story, sentence by sentence.


    2. It's always good to reduce, reuse, and recycle, because it saves money and the environment at the same time. The best way to help the environment is to reduce. But when you're faced with something as ubiquitous as the lowly plastic bag, get creative with ways to reuse.

    Collect used plastic bags and have your students decorate them with words or artwork. Now reusing these land fillers carries two messages: one conveyed by your actions and one spelled out on your bag.




    3. Sometimes, you have to decide where to spend your money, and where to scrimp and save. For example, paints are a better buy than palettes. But palettes are still useful.

    If you like the bold colors of tempera paints and the ease of watercolor sets, splurge on the paints, but make your own palettes with egg cartons. 




    4. School supply catalogs try to entice you with expensive versions of the most basic items. Why waste your money when there are other things that are easier to get, cheaper to replace, and that will work just as well? You might also be able to find materials that are smaller and easier to store. 

    These mini plastic cups, when paired with a small rubber bouncy ball, make a delightful shell game for eye-hand coordination.

     

    5. When you want children to work independently (and quietly), you have to find activities that are calming and just as effective for individuals as they are for groups. The most economical way to do this to get items that come in large packs, so you get the most for your money.  

    Buy a few dollar store bins and fill them with water beads (and water) to make personal sensory playlands for the tabletop.

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