Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Cupful of Ideas

It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended purpose.

Cups - paper and plastic cups - can be versatile resources in the classroom. Of course, you can use them for snacks and drinks, but they can be so much more than this regular, expected use.

Play Picnic (Brick by Brick © R.S. Wiley)

You can use them to pretend to eat. 
Use plastic cups and plates as part of your pretend play area. We placed some in a basket with a tablecloth and we had an instant picnic! If you do not have play dishes, take a trip to the discount store and get some disposable cups and dinnerware. These make great and inexpensive possibilities for playing out family situations and pretending to work in a restaurant. (Yes, it's close to intended use but still great play possibilities.)

Stamp with Cups (Brick by Brick © R.S. Wiley)

You can use them for art.
Place cups with a stamp pad or with a shallow pan of paint. Kids will enjoy pressing the cups into the stamp pad or paint and then onto paper. They can create lots of circles or experiment with using the cups. Or make a group of circles and then use a marker or pen to create faces. I always say that you can paint with just about anything and disposable cups are great for stamping circles and exploring form.

Drawing Propellers (Brick by Brick © R.S. Wiley)

Drawing Propellers (Brick by Brick © R.S. Wiley)

Make a drawing "propeller" by cutting a slit a cup and sliding a craft stick through it. Then tape markers to the ends of the stick. Kids can draw with the propellers, a fun variation to using markers.

Fish Collage (Brick by Brick © R.S. Wiley)

You can use them to hold stuff.
Of course, you can place collage materials or markers or other small items in cups for a center. You could use them to sort items or to transport items in a game.

Blocks and Cups (Brick by Brick © R.S. Wiley)

You can use them to build.
Add cups to your blocks for more building possibilities. Or just build and stack cups. I always enjoy adding different elements to the blocks/construction area and watching how kids use them. You don't need a grand plan. Let the kids explore their creativity with the various materials.

Scooping Barley (Brick by Brick © R.S. Wiley)

You can use them to scoop and pour.
Place cups with sand, water, grain, or whatever you want to scoop and pour. Kids will enjoy experimenting with scooping, filling, and pouring materials. Cups of any size can be used, but I'd recommend smaller cups for this purpose. (You have less in a cup at a time that can cause a mess.)

Outdoor Cup Sculpture (Brick by Brick © R.S. Wiley)
You can use them for outside sculpture.
Some colorful plastic cups and a chain link fence make great basic materials for sculpture. Encourage kids to create a design or let them place cups randomly. The overall effect is really cool. (And a great way to exercise those fine motor skills! Manipulating cups into the fence can be a challenge.)

What ways have you used cups in your classroom?

Visit my Dollar Store and Dumpster Pinterest Board and my blog for more repurposing ideas.

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