When I was a children’s librarian, I really loved trash. It was a vibe. Despite working for one of the wealthiest areas of my city, there was no funding for my programming. I did it all on my own, and I had to be frugal. I had to look at all my trash and find new purpose for it all, so that I didn’t have to spend too much of my hard-earned money on supplies. If you were to ask me now about it, I would insist that this was the wrong move. I shouldn’t have been spending my own money on this, but I had a zest for this and you couldn’t have stopped me.
However, there was a lot of positives for reusing all this trash, including:
- Recycling– save the planet
- Kept the program accessible for patrons to recreate on their own
- Let kids use their imagination more, more curiosity and more possibility!
- Saving money!
When I recently went back to my old location, and I was speaking to the current staff about all the trash that was still at that location, and I want to share some of the best with you. Keep in mind that this stuff has lasted over 5 years and is still be used!
Trash to look out for:
- Mochi or macaron plastic trays
- Can be reused as ice molds or paint holders
- Yogurt cups
- Can be used for water cups for painting or digging tools
- Ice cream containers with lids
- Can be storage for smaller pieces, or water cups
- Old sponges or brushes
- Can be used for dirt/scrubbing stations
- Foam hair rollers
- The foam piece can be used as a foam paint brush (by sticking a popsicle stick in it), the plastic pieces can be stencils
- Broken calculators/ Keyboards
- Can be used as a number of play pieces like a cash register or space station
- Empty food boxes/print ads
- Can be used as play objects for pretend store
- Packaging material like styrofoam pieces or bubble wrap
- Can be used for sensory bins and jumping sensory stations
- Flowers, leaves, and twigs can be used for natural sensory bins
What kind of trash do you reuse at your library? Share some answers below!