Play Ideas

Trash to Treasure: 6 Recycled Materials to Add to Your Child’s Play

اپریل 21, 2023
Preschool kids play with building bricks in while sitting on floor in daycare

Learning through play can happen with the simplest materials. Before you recycle your plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, try adding them to your child’s play! Objects like these are open-ended, which means there’s no limit to what they can become when your child starts to play. Your baby may reach for and grab them and explore them from different angles. Your toddler may start to put things inside and dump them back out, and your preschooler might pretend the box is a boat and the bottle is treasure they found at sea! What ever way your child decides to play, they will be learning. Open-ended materials allow children to use their imagination, problem solve, test theories, and much more. Here are 6 recycled materials to add to your child’s play!

Some of these objects are small and may not be suitable for all ages. You know your child best, please use your judgement when providing recycled materials.

Lids

Metal and plastic lids recycled for play and paired with a tissue box, drying rack and muffin tin.

Lids are a fun open-ended toy that are easy to overlook. Pair them with a tissue box, drying rack, or muffin tin to play! You can add them to sensory play (like sand or water) or pair them with other toys like blocks, cars, and dolls.

Plastic Bottles

Clear, plastic bottles make for great sensory play! You can make the sensory bottle for your child, or you can make it together. The best thing about these bottles is you can add almost aything!

Child pouring glitter into a recycled plastic water bottle for sensory play.

Suggestions to add to your sensory bottles:

  • Water (add food colouring and/or glitter if you would like)
  • Ice or cold water
  • Dry pasta, rice, lentils or beans
  • Sand
  • Craft pom poms
  • Buttons

Close the bottle and add a little bit of tape around the lid for extra security, then EXPLORE! Children can explore what they see, hear, or feel (like the cold temperature!) with these sensory bottles.

Tissue Paper

Tissue paper comes in lots of colours and it can be moved and manipulated in so many ways.

Colourful tissue paper laid out flat and in a gift bag.

Your child might play with tissue paper by:

  • Grabbing and scrunching
  • Shaking it
  • Ripping it into pieces
  • Scrunching it into a ball (and throwing the ball!)
  • Stuffing it in a box or bag (then pulling the paper out)

They will be listening to different sounds the tissue paper makes while observing the changes in the texture and shape.

Carboard Tubes

Three photos of recycled cardboard tubes used in play.

Toilet paper, paper towel, masking tape and ribbon rolls are just some of the cardboard tubes we are so quick to toss. Try holding onto them for all kinds of fun! They can be used to lace with string, build structures, make a telescope/binoculars, build a ramp, and much more.

Packing Peanuts

Packin peanuts, water, toothpicks and popsicle sticks are used to build structures.

A lot of packing peanuts are made of cornstarch, which means when they get wet, they get a little sticky. This can be a lot of fun for building! Dip one side of the packing peanut into water and attach it to another to start building a structure. You can also use toothpicks and popsicle sticks to attach the packing peanuts. However they play, your child will have lots of opportunities to be creative and problem solve.

Cardboard Boxes (big and small!)

Child uses crayons to scribble and colour a large cardboard box.

There is no limit to the amount of ways children can play with a cardboard box. A box can be turned into a 3-D canvas to paint and scribble on, it can become a car or an airplane or a treasure chest! Click here for 6 fun ways to play with a cardboard box.

 

Recent News

What’s On This Week – February 18-24

Black History month February is Black History Month! This month is dedicated to learning about, reflecting on, and celebrating Black history. Here is a list of picture books about Black history, that...

What’s On This Week – February 11-17

You and Your Baby Come chat with other moms about topics like birth experience and challenges in adjusting to parenthood. This program is for first time moms with infants birth to 9 months. Brittany Glen EarlyONTuesdays, 1:30pm-3:00pmFebruary 20 – March 26Register...

What’s On This Week – February 4-10

Black History month February is Black History Month! This month is dedicated to learning about, reflecting on, and celebrating Black history. Here is a list of picture books about Black history, that include some ways to help your child further engage with the books....

What’s On This Week – Janurary 28-February 3

Prenatal Classes If you, or someone you know, are expecting a baby, BridgeWay offers free prenatal classes! Come get your questions answered with the most current information so that you can feel confident and prepared for this exciting time. Online (through...

What’s On This Week – January 21-27

Become a Member of BridgeWay! Signing up for membership is FREE and shows your support for the work we do. As a member, you will be invited to: Help us shape the direction of our organization with members-only surveys; Vote at our Annual General Meeting on June 2024;...

Play Ideas

LGBTQ2S+ Books for Children Birth to 6 Years

We’ve put together a list of books celebrating LGBTQ2S+ children and families! These books are perfect for children with queer parents/caregivers to see families like theirs, for children to see themselves and their peers, and for everyone to learn about and celebrate...

7 Children’s Books Celebrating Asian Authors, Stories and Cultures

Picture books are a great way for children to learn about cultures as well as celebrate themselves and their family. These 7 books are written by authors of Asian descent with themes we can all relate to – feeling loved and connected, showing love and of course loving...

Creative Ways to Build Ramps

Ramps are a fun and interactive tool for children to explore math and science concepts. When they roll a toy down a ramp, they're learning to make predictions and problem solve while also learning about concepts like motion, speed, and cause and effect. There are fun...