Finding things for play around the home

Everyday materials you find around the home can be used in a wide range of ways to promote learning. Recycled containers, paper and cardboard items, as well as household objects, can all be used during playtime.

Getting started

To get the ball rolling, here are some everyday materials you can save and collect to use in play.

  • wrapping paper
  • catalogues
  • magazines
  • greeting cards
  • cardboard boxes and packets
  • cardboard cylinders
  • corrugated and plain card
  • plastic bottles and containers
  • polystyrene food trays
  • material scraps and pieces
  • lace, ribbon, wool
  • patty pans
  • plastic straws
  • toothpicks
  • rice, penne pasta
  • coloured streamers
  • tapestry needles or bodkins
  • paper plates (not waxed)
  • string
  • sticky tape
  • PVA glue

Image Children create drawings with pens and paper at home

Ways to use recycled materials

Children use everyday materials to explore and develop their understanding of the elements of art. They use colour, texture, line and shape, and represent their own ideas. You can use some of these ideas to help kids start to play with everyday materials.

  • Make collages by gluing items onto materials, such as paper, cardboard or fabric.
  • Make stamps using paint on leaves, corrugated cardboard or other items.
  • Make box constructions by gluing or taping boxes together, and gluing materials onto the box.
  • Thread things onto string.
  • Cut paper for making collages.
  • Make pretend play props.

 Image Child proudly holds up a craft creation using a potato, toothpicks and string

Published — 26 September 2016 Last updated — 02 November 2016