Your Junk – Our Treasure



The block area is one of my favorite areas of our classroom.  Children go there as a way of expression with hopes and dreams.  It can be an area of refuge to work out problems, an area to construct stories, an area to practice math.  The work in the block area is profound, endless, creative, fun, and surprising.  The Lucky Lollipops WOW me in the block area and we spend lots of time there.  Next time you visit us, play there for awhile.  Join in the play already in progress or provoke the children with a provocation of your own.  You’ll be WOWED as I am with where they take you in the block area.

IMG_3073napkin ringsIt’s the simple things that kids love the most.  It’s those things that they take, use, and learn from in an innocent and powerful way.  In the above photo you see some napkin rings that the children found in the closet.  The rings were very interesting to them, and they did things with napkin rings that I would never have thought of.  Out of the napkin ring (and you can also see small pieces of PVC pipes) play came stories, math statements, construction, and collaboration.  Next time you use a napkin ring, marvel at its significance in the Lucky Lollipop room.

IMG_3072small woodA parent once asked what I needed.  I told him that I needed everything, and that it was usually the things that parents threw out that were the most beneficial in my work with the children.  That parent dabbled in woodwork.  He had lots of small pieces of wood.  He gave me a bag full.  It’s been of the most enticing exploration/play stations in the room.  When I pull it out or when children find it in the closet, they are drawn to the small pieces of wood like magnets.  They don’t ask, “What can we do with it?”  They just know what to do, and the learning that takes place is magical.  So next time you throw something out think, “Might the Lucky Lollipops take this piece of junk to a higher level?”  Don’t you just wish you had been there with the children when they arranged the blocks in the above photo.

IMG_3045tree limbNature screams out to children, “I’m here.  Take me and play with me.”  In the above photo the child did just that.  Feeling nature is good for the soul.  Children know that better than anyone.   Think:  searching for buried treasure, gold, water.  The possibilities are endless.  The tree limb can be a prop for anything that this children want it to be.  Nature is rich, powerful and inexpensive play for children!  And it’s everywhere!  How lucky for the children and me that we’ve discovered that!

IMG_3093materialsOne of our activities on Halloween Day was gourd decorating.  A huge thanks to our room parents and to all of our parents for supplying materials and their time in helping us with this fun activity.  Hopefully, you’ve seen a gourd come home and that you’ll be blown away by their imagination in decorating their own version of a decorated gourd.  Also thanks to all of you who helped and attended our pizza lunch and Halloween Parade/Walk for Friendship House – a homeless shelter.  Halloween was a GRAND day!






2 thoughts on “Your Junk – Our Treasure

  1. Dear Darrell, Thanks for reminding me of the immense creativity and possibilities that children see in “junk” and nature. Although I see it with my children and their passion for cardboard boxes, branches, styrofoam, sticks, wool, etc etc, I told my daugther (6) yesterday that she needed to throw some of the “trash” in her room as she had collected a Pringles tube in the park and filled it with leaves, old Amazon boxes of all sizes, and many other stuff….Your narratives about the explorations with our kids bring me closer to a dimension that many times in the daily routine to get things timely done, escapes me. Thanks again for sharing all of this with us. All the best,


    • Dear Clara, Thanks for your comment on “Your Junk – Our Treasure”. I enjoyed reading about how much your children enjoy dabbling in nature. All of the items you mentioned are great learning experiences and cost nothing; they’re there for the children to use. Darrell

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