Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scott Wiley: Let's Play

I love kids' play. Play is the work of childhood. Through play and exploration, kids discover how the world works. Their understanding grows little by little ("brick by brick") into a foundation for greater learning. But children's play takes stuff - yes, their imaginations are powerful, but play is enhanced with fun materials.

So I have a lot of stuff. (I think all teachers are collectors of stuff.) But buying play materials can get expensive. So I like to repurpose materials - use (inexpensive) materials in different ways. I like to recycle/reuse materials - use items that would normally be thrown away. In fact I have D.S.D.D. (and maybe you do, too). So, I thought I would share with you three of my favorite repurposed/recycled items.

Oil Drip Pan - You can find this item in an auto supply area of a discount store or in an auto supply store. I found mine at Walmart. This pan makes a great magnet board for all kinds of activities. (You can also tape things to it and create a moveable "bulletin board.")

Bottle Lids - I began collecting lids months ago, for no particular purpose. We've used them for counters, game pieces, and building accessories. Lids can supplement all kinds of activities.

Tall Container - I don't know what these containers were intended for. In fact, I bought them because they were on sale at the craft store. But we now use them as mini trash cans. Anytime we use stickers or cut paper, we put the mini trash cans on the table. Kids have a place to put small paper scraps or sticker backings. Clean up is so much easier. (You could use any type of container for a mini trash can.)

I look forward to being a part of this great collaborative blog. I think we'll have a good time playing (and repurposing) together.

My name is Scott, though most call me Mr. Scott. I love teaching preschoolers and kindergartners. I have been working with kids for over 25 years. I've been a teacher, preschool center director, volunteer, curriculum writer and editor, and workshop and conference leader. I blog at Brick by Brick.


  1. I can't tell you how excited I am about the oil drip pan. I have been using cookie sheets from the dollar tree for awhile, but they are just too small for certain activities!

    I have a giant "weather dog" that my students attach the appropriate clothing, depending on the weather, to. As of now we are using velcro, but it can be difficult for little hands to match up the pieces just right. I've always thought that magnets would make this activity less challenging, but cookie sheets weren't big enough. The oil drip pan looks perfect!

    Thanks for the idea!

  2. Scott, It is always wonderful to see posts promoting the significant benefit of play! I so agree that is not necessary to have expensive toys to provide optimal and fun learning experiences. This is exactly what I have shared and promote in my brain development activity packets! Thanks for sharing the materials you have found useful... It is always fun to learn of new ideas!

  3. Timaree!!!! I'm so glad that you've found us & I'm so happy that you've gained a new insight as a result of Scott's helpful post this morning. Receiving comments as a blogger is about as good as it gets. Seeing your enthusiasm makes me so happy to have launched this amazing collaborative. Stick around there are some amazing contributors waiting patiently in the wings!!!

    Debbie Clement

  4. I"m afflicted! I definitely have D.S.D.D. and I'm not sure I really want a 12 step program for recovery! Thanks for sharing a few of your great ideas, Scott! :))

  5. The oil drip pan is one of my hands-down favorite tools for magnetic play in my classroom!!

  6. The oil drip pan has been on of my favorite tools, too.

    And I think the best "treatment" for D.S.D.D. is finding more stuff!

  7. I can totally identify with D.S.D.D.! I have to keep myself from getting excited about great finds, and I'm just a writer now ... don't have a classroom any longer and even my homeschooled kids are grown! I'll enjoy reading your ideas each month! :) Deb @

  8. great ideas! (and, yep, I definitely have DSDD as well! LOL! In fact, I'm pretty sure most early childhood educators do! :)

  9. I love how both you & your kids don't limit items to just their intended purpose, but find all sorts of uses for them. Well done Mr Scott!


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