I made a trip out to the Reverse Art Truck this week to replenish supplies for our useful box. This was part of the rotation of toys that I was implementing at home.
For Australian readers you would be familiar with the useful box from Playschool. Basically it is a collection of items like cereal boxes, egg cartons, cardboard rolls etc that the children can use for construction.
The Reverse Art Truck purchase compliments the items that I collect at home, as they are a non profit organization which collects rejects, seconds and factory offcuts for distribution to schools, early learning centres, community groups and individuals. You can buy membership to the organisation or you can just visit casually and pay $25 to fill a large garbage bag with the odds and ends that they have in stock. You can pick up a great assortment of items which the kids love and I also like to support this organisation as it provides meaningful employment for a number of people.
There are many benefits for the kids to spend time constructing magnificent creations from the useful box. It allows them to work on fine motor skills directly through using scissors, sticky tape, staplers and indirectly through managing the cardboard, paper and other materials to get them into place or mould them into a shape that they need.
These are all skills that my preschooler will need to have (to a certain level) by the end of the year to be ready for school.
The useful box also provides a challenge for me – how best to present all these wonderful creations? We have a shelf in one room that we set some out on and I also put a small hole in some and hang them by hooks on the picture rails in their bedrooms. We were discussing this issue at Playgroup this week and one mum suggested taking digital photos of the work, as this has worked well with her kids.
I have given this approach some thought and am going to try the following:
-Display work for a week or so.
-Then photograph work, insert picture into a word document, adding information like date, time, inspiration and child’s description.
-Print page out and file in their own folder.
-Have child help me pull apart construction, recycling pieces where appropriate for future use and binning anything that is not recyclable.
I’ll let you know if this works!