Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hit the Thrift Store

Hi! It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended use. One place I like to find great teaching materials is the thrift store (or charity shop). Here are some things I've gotten from the thrift store and repurposed for my classroom. (You can also buy most of these items in discount stores or online.)

Board games - Buy board games and use the pieces for all kinds of things. You can use the pieces for counters, as game pieces for homemade games, for loose parts for all kinds of play. Cover the boards with colored contact plastic to create new gameboards. Depending on the games you find, you can also end up with marbles, dice, or other fun things to use.

Purses - I buy purses and wallets for kids to use in their pretend play. (Suitcases and tote bags are also great finds.) Also I have purchased clothes (a few sizes larger) and robes for kids to wear. Prices I'll check to see what's available and purchase when I find something just right at the right price.

Lazy Susan - Find a lazy susan to use as a spinner for homemade games. This spinner has colors but you can also create circles with numbers, letters, or whatever you want. You can also put the arrow on the lazy susan and place items around it (or sit kids around it) and spin the arrow.

Shoes - I went to the thrift store specifically to find small shoes so we could paint with them. Look for shoes that have different treads and designs on the bottom. (You can also find kitchen gadgets and other objects for painting, too.)

Wire baskets - I found a variety of wire baskets (and a couple of plastic ones). We use these for weaving. You can use the baskets to hold other things, too. But that's a little too conventional for me!

What are some great finds you have gathered from thrift stores, charity shops, or garage sales?

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. We've also found quite a few nice books at our local thrift store, hardcover, all for $.99 each or less. Occasionally, they'll even have used unit study guides. This and the Dollar Store is one of my favorite places to shop for home school supplies.

    1. I agree, Mary. The dollar store is a great resource, too.

  2. Great post! I love thrift stores and garage sales for kid stuff. My neighborhood recently organized a swap meet, and it was great. :)

  3. Great ideas, Scott ... and I LOVE the lazy susan idea! I pinned your post to the Group Board: Professional Development in Early Childhood Education: Deb @

  4. Scott! So creative! Thanks for sharing these ideas. Sometimes it's easy to get wrapped up in the commerically produced items. I love your lazy susan make a game idea:) Again, thanks!


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