It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended purpose.
We love containers - of all sorts. Plastic bottles and bowls. Containers from powdered drink mix and coffee. Anything with a lid can become a shaker or a bank or just about anything.
But I often run into a problem. I just don't have any containers (or enough containers) when I want to make shakers or banks. After all, my garage can only hold so much and when I use all my saved containers I often need time to build up my supply. What can a teacher do when he doesn't have containers? Just paper plates!
Paper plates make great shakers (and even banks!). Use the inexpensive, flexible plates. Decorate the backs of the plates with tape, stickers, markers, or whatever art media you want. In this case, plates are often better than most containers because just about any art medium will adhere to the plate.
Flip the plate over and add gravel or other shaker material. Fold the plate in half and staple along the curved edge to seal. Use larger shaker material (gravel, beans, beads) rather than smaller material (rice). The smaller material always seems to find the gaps and leak out. That's why we usually add tape around the edge to further seal it.
If you want to make a bank, cut a small slit in the plate before decorating. Make sure not to cover the slit when adding tape or stickers. Then, after stapling the plate closed, kids can drop coins in the slot and the coins will be sealed inside. (Remove the staples to retrieve the coins.)
While limited in use, plates can still make great alternatives to containers. And I can go and purchase them at the dollar store instead of saving them up! Hope this fun repurposing idea helps you in those "what do I use?" moments.