Earth Day focuses attention on reduce, reuse, recycle. But environmentalism should be the focus year round. Recycling is a key component of school curricula. Here are ways to repurpose and reuse recycled trash as school supplies and learning activities. Using recycled trash for school supplies will save money and teach the message to live green. Here is a complete guide on what to save, how to store and how to repurpose and reuse recycled trash in classrooms and homeschool teaching materials. This plan includes cross-curricular lesson plans in math, science, social studies, English/ Language Arts (ELA), art, music or physical education.
Repurpose and reuse egg cartons as math games, science sorting lessons, fine motor skills, classification learning activities. Use egg cartons as paint trays, for storage and in craft projects. Store in nested stacks. Save recycled trash aluminum pie tins and pot pie plates for musical instruments like shakers and drum heads, condensation experiments, science experiments and sorting games. Repurpose and reuse to hold glue, paint or chemicals, making solutions and mixtures and in cooking activities. Store stacked.
Cardboard milk or juice cartons: cut top off and use to sort and store different styles and colors of crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint brushes, scissors. Duct tape sides of cartons together to create pigeonholes. Place in the middle of work tables to keep teaching materials and school supplies sorted. Repurpose and reuse aluminum cans (all sizes) Wash and flatten sharp edges. Make constellation star viewers. Cover and use to show size graduations. Make nested cans for stacking and sorting learning activities. Make cup and ball tossing games. Make eye hand coordination practice games.
Repurpose and reuse recycled trash sprayers and spray bottles (like laundry pre wash or house hold cleaners). Store paint and use for spray on paint techniques. Store chemicals for science learning activities. Use spray mechanisms for science experiments on suction. Fill with water and make squirting games. Water bottles can be reused in a number of ways too.
Repurpose and reuse cereal boxes (collapse and store in milk crate) to make posters or cutting and painting surfaces. Use instead of tag board for classroom displays, projects and crafts. Cover and decorate: use as book covers for student writing. Save recloseable boxes of all sizes and shapes (toothpaste, pasta, etc.) to make model buildings, building blocks or diorama scenes. Use to teach students math problems using packaging or nutritional labels or reading directions. Cover and make geometry solids demonstration (rectangular prisms, pyramids, cones, cylinders). Have students cover and make sets for size comparison learning activities.
Save magazines from recycled trash for making posters, crafts, dioramas and diagrams. Save paper towel and toilet paper tubes. Cut into pieces and use for bead stringing teaching materials. Use as school supplies to teach geometry and math. Use for craft projects. Save recycled trash pill bottles to sort and store beads, store chemical and make musical shakers. Save margarine, cottage cheese or yogurt tubs for storing school supplies and for science experiments and arts and crafts.
Reuse baby wipes boxes to sort and stack school supplies for science, math and other teaching materials. Sort crafts supplies in baby wipes containers–Styrofoam shapes, feathers, ribbon, yarn, greeting cards, fabric scraps, shells, stones, rocks and minerals, wood pieces, cardboard scraps and beads. Use for Math Their Way to sort math manipulatives–buttons, beads, seeds, pins, rubber bands, markers, game pieces, bingo chips, dice, pennies, bread tags, milk rings, coins, noodles and twist ties.
Save plastic coffee tub to sort and store items as you did the baby wipe containers. These work well for loose or powdered items like salt, sugar, flour, plaster of paris, colored sand, etc. Coffee cans are great for mixing and melting items; Use like a double boiler on a hot plate or stove. Save fabric softener or laundry soap jugs and milk jugs for paint, glue and liquid items. Reuse odd sized zippered bags like the small ones that come attached to garments to hold a spare button. Use to store game parts or sets of small flashcards. Use to make individual paint or glue tubes. Fill with paint. Snip a corner. Students can control paint better.
To store your recycled trash school supplies, repurpose and reuse zippered bags from blankets and sheets. Save plastic powdered laundry soap tubs. Place these open on a shelf sideways so the mouth faces outward. They will tilt upward in front. You can use these as bins to store all your bulk recycled trash teaching materials. For more green learning activities visit Free Lesson Plans 4u.