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7 Early Learning Activities Using Items You Already Have!

As we are home with the kids and running out of the usual activities that keep them entertained, and we can't go out and buy a million new toys, we can repurpose materials we already have at home to keep our kids busy and learning!

Create These Activities With Materials You Already Have: 


  • Play nutritionist: Allow your kids to help in the kitchen! Give them some jobs in the kitchen that they can do to help you. Wash the veggies, peel bananas and use a plastic knife to cut snack foods.

  • Make Play Dough! My favorite sensory activity is play dough that I make from scratch! Here is a link to find some awesome play dough recipes!

  • Imagination Play! Encourage your kids to pretend with household items! These include baskets, empty paper bags, play money (made by children from scrap paper), empty food containers and cartons from family snacks or lunches (cereal boxes, sale papers, clean yogurt containers and milk jugs, etc) and empty Amazon boxes! Add a few blankets, pillows and child-sized chairs and you never know what "pretend world" you will walk into!

  • Art Areas -Designate a bin for left over scrap paper for art projects. Place the bin in an art area so that children can reuse paper if they want to practice cutting or have an idea of decorating a project. Also, add in scrap computer paper from printing mistakes.
  • Creations - Empty soda cans, tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls, plastic food containers, paper towel rolls and empty plastic bottles can be used to build with. Encourage kids to decorate the containers that they are building with. Children can develop math skills with a parent by finding out how many “soda cans” tall they are and graphing it on a chart.

  • Building - Woodworking with old scraps of wood are fun for children. You can pick up free scraps of wood from a hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s after they have worked on projects. Lots of Christmas tree farm stores also give away the bottoms they cut off the Christmas trees when sold. Also call lumberyards and independent contractors for scrap or unused materials. After smoothing out the edges for splinter-free pieces, create an area outdoors for woodworking projects. Many art items can be added to this project area, such as wood glue, glitter, markers, paint and hammers (with supervision).
  • Scavenger Hunts - Have the children go on a scavenger hunt and collect natural items such as leaves to add to a nature area. Leaves of all shapes, sizes and colors can be used as decorations in an art project or investigated through a magnifying glass. While children are hunting, encourage them to collect rocks, seedpods, feathers, shells and pine-cones which can also be use in art and science activities.

With a hint of imagination, new creations and hours of fun can be created with everyday materials!


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