I cannot count how many times I get asked the question “Where do you come up with your ideas for Active Learning Centers?” I usually answer with something like “it is simple, it just comes to me” or “I don’t know, just around.” As I think more on this question I have a few places that often spark inspiration for low cost learning spaces. Here are my top three…
1. Catalogs- While looking through Lakeshore, Constructive Play Things, Discount School Supply and the other educational catalogs that come across my desk, I am inspired! There are plenty of idea in those catalogs and you don’t have to buy a single one! Look at what they are selling and ask yourself … 1- Do I have the budget for this? If no? 2- How can I make this myself?
2. Pinterest! There a lots of great ideas for parents, caregivers, daycare providers and teachers. You can often find templates and printables to help you along as well. Librarians are using Pinterest more and more for learning center and display ideas. I am even touched that a few of mine have ended up pinned from one source or another! Pin away and then gather your items. I challenge everyone to put a Pinterest inspired learning center in your library!
3. Other Librarians- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Every time I am in a library, at a conference or reading a professional publication I am looking for ideas to steal. I may have stolen one or two ideas from you … who knows! I take notes, think how I can make it work for my branch and start to dream. Before I know it I have a new idea inspired by someone who may not have even know they were an inspiration! I encourage people to “steal” from me all the time!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Pinterest for sure! I also will just ask out questions on twitter as well. So many librarians are doing such great things, and everyone I’ve come across has been willing to share!