I am always looking for cheap, hands-on items to use with my toddlers. Once I figure out a couple of ways to use that item, I make sure I always have that item stocked in my teaching toolbox (ok, it’s really a closet.) That way if I need an activity—I can quickly grab and go! One everyday item that I save and reuse for teaching my toddlers are plastic lids. I even have friends saving plastic lids for me now! Plastic lids are a perfect teaching tool because they are:
- assorted (different sizes, colors, shapes, thickness)
So I sat down and brainstormed different ways to use lids with toddlers. Here are some ideas:
1. Color sorting. I buy a pack of 5.5 x 8.5 craft foam in various colors. I use these as sorting mats for many different types of activities.
2. Magnetic robots.
3. Pattern activities.
4. Graphing activities.
5. Sorting by size.
6. Sorting by attributes. (Thick/thin, logo/no-logo, big/small)
7. Pretend play.
8. Sensory box component. Childhood 101 has a great idea on using lids in a matching textures game.
9. Games. The photo above is from a tic-tac-toe game I created with lids. Toddlers could flip these over and play like a memory game. Check out the Sticky Hand game we did for Letter H for another game idea.
10. Game pawns. We can’t be the only ones who lose game pieces!
11. Fill and dump. This is a perfect activity for the tiniest tots. A cup, bowl, or wet-wipe container and large lids will keep them occupied for awhile. They are working on grasping and coordination skills as they place the items in and out of the container. See how The Adventures of Bear did this activity with her tots.
12. Stack and knock down. Using the chunky-size lids, students stack them as high as they can before they fall over.
13. ABC manipulatives. Use them as you sing your ABC’s and introduce letter sounds.
14. Counting and early math practice.
Don’t have toddlers? Check out how From Kindergarten With Love used lids in her classroom.
Can you think of any other ways to recycle plastic lids for learning?
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