July 2019 Newsletter – Using Recycled Materials in ECE: Why Introduce Recycled Materials

Recycled materials are a no-cost resource for programs that typically do not have a large budget for classroom materials. Even more importantly, recycled materials can promote creativity and encourage problem solving in early learning environments. 

This is because recycled materials are usually completely open-ended, meaning they can be used in a multitude of ways.  Unlike most toys that you can purchase at a store that have a single purpose, a single recycled material can be used in a different way, in each learning center of the classroom.  For example, a medium-sized plastic lid can be a:

  • Stacking toy in the block area
  • Sorting toy in the math center
  • Sink or float material at the water table
  • Coin in the dramatic play center
  • Treasure to be found on the playground
  • Car in the transportation center
  • Paint mixing container in the art center
  • Story character in the library area

Can you think of any other ways that a medium-sized recycled lid could be used in your learning environment?  The possibilities are endless and children will likely come up with many more ideas than the adults in the classroom! 

Allowing children to re-use materials in creative ways is also a great lesson about ways to care for the planet. 

Let’s explore some of the possible materials you could include use and ways to organize them into a recycled materials center that children can access in the classroom. 

For the main article Using Recycled Materials in ECE, CLICK HERE

For the article Materials to Use in a Recycled Materials Center, CLICK HERE

For the article Collecting Materials, CLICK HERE

For the article Setting up a Recycling Center in the Classroom, CLICK HERE