teaching to learn, means learning to teach

I love my laminator. I know that not everything needs laminating, and I certainly don’t make a habit of having all shiny, smooth poster like art around my class room walls. In fact, I’m often found searching for different textures and mediums to adorn our environment!

Sometimes though, they just make a dead toy fun again.

Last term, I took every single puzzle in our centre and sorted them, completed them and found missing pieces. I was left over with some puzzle pieces whose boards are long gone. I photocopied the pieces, to create dark shadows – although you could colour copy them for true matching – and popped them in a bag with their newly laminated matching boards. By adding small magnets to the back of the puzzle pieces and taping this to the fridge or filing cabinets, you’ve created a new play area in a dead space 🙂

Not a difficult exercise for my kindy kids, possibly more suited to the younger age groups, but certainly a nice way to reuse otherwise ‘lost’ pieces. My other ideas for the remaining puzzle pieces include baby mobiles, as part of eye spy bags or adding magnets to their backs for use on filing cabinets 😉

I recently made a selection of eye spy bags, and tried to find an alternative to food based fillings like rice and beans, but each thing I tried just didn’t have the flexibility and movement these bags require. It makes me sad to put good food into a toy, especially when so many people with kids are doing it hard. I never do pasta threading or used food for non-edible art. I have been known to share out a mix of cheerio’s cereal and fruit loops, for the kids to make their own candy bracelets and necklaces, but they got to eat those right away or bag them up and take them home! I remember when I started my child care studies, over a decade ago now, my tutor telling me a story about her time in childcare, where one Mum looked at the pasta and rice on her collage table and said “That would feed my family for a week!” It’s an eye-opening statement for many people. Recognising that the things we throw away or consider ‘broken’ can be reused in so many ways. By Using old puzzle pieces and repairing things with the kids, I hope to subliminally embed the idea that most things can be fixed and we don’t need to throw away nearly as much stuff as we do. After all, today’s catch cry is Reduce, Recycle and Re-Use!

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