Beans are such a cheap item you can pick up at the store especially on sale! Here are some ideas for dried beans.
1. Bean Names: Write your child’s name on a large piece of heavy paper or cardboard. Have your child go over it with glue. Add beans for a festive wall hanging. (Can also do with numbers, sight words, etc.)
2. Sort: Get out a variety of beans and a muffin tin. Sort the beans into the tins.
3. Counters: Have your kids count out 5. 2 more. How many now? If you have 10 and I take 4 how many are left?
4. Shakers: Make some homemade instruments. Get an empty container and add beans, secure the lid with tape and enjoy the music!
5. Outside: Take them outside and add them to sand for a new way to play. Bury them in the mud, make grass, flower, and bean soup
Here is another item we all have around the house that you can use in some fun ways.
1. Hockey inside. Make a rink with books around the edges. Add a popsicle stick and then use the newspaper as the puck.
2. Grocery Ad: Make your own grocery ad by cutting items out of the ads and gluing them to a piece of paper. Add prices and name your store.
3. Pinata: Cut the newspaper into strips and then dip into your paper mache soluation. (Great one found here http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/best-papier-mache-recipe-708645/). Add it to a blown up balloon. Cover it well with the strips. Allow it to dry 2 days or so. Paint and pop the balloon! Fill with candy and enjoy.
4. Paper Boy: Give your child a small bag and have him or her role play being a paper boy.
5. Scavenger Hunt: This is a great way to encourage reading. Highlight sight words or have a word hunt.
Here is another thing we all have around the house, what can you use them for besides school lunches?
1. Squeeze bag: fill it with toothpaste or lotion and get all the air out. Have your child develop fine motor skills by squeezing it. You can also put it in the fridge and feel it on a hot day.
2. Paint: Fill it with paint and squeeze the air out. Have your child use their finger to draw mess free pictures on the paint.
3. Plant seeds: Staple a damp paper towel inside the baggie about halfway down the baggie. This basically divides the baggie into top and bottom sections. Add seeds of your choice. Leave the baggie open mostly and watch the seeds grow and sprout. This is a great way to see the roots.
4. Make ice cream in a bag directions found here: http://crafts.kaboose.com/ice-cream-in-a-bag.html
5. Treasure keeper: When we go to the park it is nice to have something to keep all their “treasures” in. Easy to take with.
Here is another item we all have around the house and ideas for using it with kids.
1. Paint. Turn the muffin tin upside down and paint the circles. Press it onto a paper for design.
2. New Crayons. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Peel old crayons and add them to the cups. Bake either in the oven on low or in the sun until melted. Peel for a new crayon.
3. Sorter. Pick items to sort (beans, buttons, Legos). Use the separate holders to sort your items.
4. Snack holder. You can use them to serve a mini themed meal to your kids or a snack. Ideas: rainbow (each cup has a different colored food), numbers (1 cracker, 2 grapes, etc.)
5. Paint holder. When we paint it is the perfect way to keep the colors separate so they don’t mix.
Here is another great item we all have around the house and fun ways to reuse it!
1. Cut out the letters in your child’s name and have them decorate them with glitter, markers, etc.
2. Collect several and use them as building blocks.
3. Grocery store: Have your child put prices on them (it is fun what they say $50 for cereal?) and have your own grocery store.
4. They make great binding for homemade books. Cut them to size to fit the homemade book and bind them with a stapler.
5. Bookmarks, business cards, library cards, etc.
Here is another 5 uses idea. Most people have plastic cups around their house, here are some fun things to do with the kids.
1. Make a homemade telephone. Here is the link on how to do that.
2. Stack them to make a tower. See how many you can stack.
3. Make a spring flower arrangement. See how to here.
4. Noise maker: Fill one with beans, rice, etc. Put anther cup on the top so the two parts you drink out of are connected. Tape them securely together. Shake!
5. Bird Feeder: Poke two holes on the drinking part of the cup, opposite of each other. Tie a string around them so the are connected in a loop. Fill the inside with birdseed. Hang it on a tree and watch the birds come!
Here is another 5 Uses for Everyday items:
1. Build with marshmallows or raisins. You can use them to make houses, letters, etc. Then a sweet treat in the end!
2. Painting. My kids always enjoy painting with something besides paintbrushes. This is a fun way to paint and even write letters.
3. Math: Fill an estimation jar with them, how many toothpicks long is the book/your hand/etc., if I have ten and give you four how many are left?
4. Glue them to paper and make letters.
5. Make a mini lunch in which everything is eaten with toothpicks. Small pieces of cheese, meat, fruit, etc.
Here is another everyday item. Instead of throwing them away, here are some ideas to use them with kids.
1. Cut out your favorite items (food, toys, etc.) and make a collage/placemat/book with them.
2. Count how many. How many dogs, babies, pizza pieces, etc. can you find in the magazine?
3. Story telling. This is a favorite of ours. We like to cut out interesting items and put them in a basket to tell stories with them. The sillier the better!
4. Tear them up and use them for confetti! It is a great activity for kids who need work on their fine motor. Have them tear the paper in tiny pieces and enjoy!
5. Crumple them up and use them to play indoor basketball or even hockey if you have a couple of brooms.
I thought it would be fun to do a series on everyday items and give you alternative ways to use them with your kids. Here are some ideas for toilet paper rolls…
1. Binoculars: Tape the two together add string and instant fun.
2. Marble Roll: Cut each tube in half so that the tube is open and looks like a hotdog bun. Add magnetic tape to one side of each one and make them into a maze on the fridge. Add a marble or gumball and watch it go through the maze.
3. Make your own napkin rings. Cut them in 3 or 4 pieces and use marker or paint to decorate them. Add the napkins!
4. Kazoo: Cover one end with wax paper and add a hole punch halfway down the tube. Have your kids hum in them.
5. Animals: an elephant’s trunk, a worm, etc. be creative and enjoy!