Real and Found items for centers

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by forkids, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Jan 13, 2011

    I need new ideas for real and found items for centers - especially blocks and math. Lets share the things we use so we'll all have some new ideas. Here's my favorite for the block center:

    My favorite free real and found item for the block center is to save plastic food containers of all kinds. Any container with a snap on lid is great - margarine, cottage cheese, whipped topping, cake frosting, etc. - there are dozens of them.

    I love this idea for several reasons: they are free, you're recycling, they can be stacked, the kids match lids to containers by size and shape(math), by the designs/logos on both(literacy), putting on/taking off the lids is great for fine motor skills. Just start saving and ask parents and other teachers to save for you.
     
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  3. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 13, 2011

    I always had some rocks in several centers. The polished stones for decor are the best. I would just put out the rocks, and let the kids play with them--in housekeeping they made great food; toy trucks could carry them; in math the became counting items. And they feel good.
     
  4. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jan 13, 2011

    anything in the toy kitchen is better than the plastic food.

    I haven't figured out what my "found" item is.....which is strange because I use them all the time.

    I think my most fun days are the ones where we get a parent that moved and brings us the "good big boxes" and we break out the duct tape, markers and throw caution to the wind. Last time we were that lucky we called it "the sky castle" because we were reading Jack and Beanstalk!
     
  5. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Jan 14, 2011

    Block Play

    Here are some ideas:

    -wrap some blocks in foil or white paper
    -add cotton balls
    -add party streamer, curling ribbon and tape
    -add scarves or other fabric pieces
    -add children's photos to blocks
    -add other cardboard boxes
    -add cylinders and other 3-d shapes (search online to make your own)
    -Add science collections such as rocks, shells, pinecones, sticks, etc.

    Just a few ideas!
     
  6. Maxadoodle

    Maxadoodle Comrade

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    Jan 14, 2011

    Cardboard egg cartons are great for sorting, painting on at the easel, making 3D collages, stacking, and adding wheels to make vehicles.
     
  7. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Jan 14, 2011

    foam packaging squiggles are great for the art center

    Laundry detergent lids can be used as a small little bucket for the texture table.

    plastic lids from bottles are great for the art center.

    empty cardboard food packages for dramatic play (grocery store)

    empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls are great for the art center
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jan 14, 2011

    I love this thread....I use all these things!

    My favorite items to be brought in by parents (other than the giant boxes above) are the divided frozen food trays. Like say Schwans type frozen food in a compartment tray....right now I am looking at one that mom said had Sushi in it.

    My favorite items for counting are probably acorns but truthfully I just take what I have out for the season and use it as a manipulative. So our current 100 board is made out of gift bows (the packs of 100 go on sale at the holiday for $1) we have had one made of acorns, our next one will be packing squiggles for snow flakes.........I just go with what the recycle bin throws at me.
     
  9. missbianca

    missbianca Rookie

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    Jan 14, 2011


    This may sound silly but what is a 100 board?
     
  10. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Jan 15, 2011

    I want to know what a 100 board is too - It sounds like a board with 100 of an item on it, it that it? Do the kids help make it?
     
  11. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jan 15, 2011

    In the other classrooms I have observed there is an expensive board that has each number 1 to 100 and the children match the numbers. I would like to have that board but I think it may not get used much in my life. So as an adaptation I have begun making a seasonal poster with the children for our wall in the math/eating area. The board includes 10 groups of 10 and a child could right the numbers under it....but no one ever does. They do make the column numbers 10, 20, 30 and so on.

    It is a great conversation, it has many of the same socio emotional points that a "group mural" would provide and when we do it several times in a year we are really working those counting skills (we are a bit light - given the class I stole the idea from - on the recognizing the number skill).

    This isn't our only math manuip out though. I have Santa shaped pasta, earasers that are shaped like holiday items to sort or pick up with tweezers to put in a Santa cup..........the 100 board is just so many items that it is usually "found" itmes.
     
  12. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Jan 17, 2011

    Science ...

    -pinecones
    -rocks/stones
    -shells
    -leaves (laminate)
    -sticks and twigs
    -parts of a tree
    -containers of gravel, sand, mulch, dirt
    -seeds to sort
    -acorns
    -flashlight to take apart and put together
    -keys and locks to open and close
    -large nuts and bolts
    -apple, lemon, lime, orange
    -smelling jars (put cotton ball in small container with small hole in lid)
    -tornado tube or fountain bottle
    -variety of cardboard tubes and small balls
    -flour, salt, water
    -cornstarch and water
    -soap (grated), tissue, water
    -food coloring to make colored water the children can make colors
    -paper
    -writing utensils
     

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