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hi all, Just taken over managing a playgroup and the resources are very, very, limited I am going to compile a wish list for the owner has anyone got any suggestions what I should put on it to get the best value for the money.

And Ideas for cheap or free stimulating idea.

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Focus on what areas you are going to have and stick to things that can be used for lots of different areas (e.g. the play animals can be used for small world, for comparisons- big and small etc..)

I would make a list and prioritise for the areas that are most in need and meet the interests of the children you have now.

Ask the parents to donate toys/games and any other things. Im a big fan of charity shops, and have got many bargains that would have cost 3 or 4 times the price new. All in great condition.

 

And good luck, i know its like gettin blood out of a stone! :)

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I would suggest a visit to your local scrap store for art area items which children can use in lots of different ways = costs very little and children get such alot from it! Hope all goes well, it must be very exciting and challenging to set a new setting up!

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ask for a budget

gather your team together! by calling a staff meet

prioritise your needs

charity run - hold events for your wish list

search the web - f/s library, under 5's etc

ask parents on your notice board

go to boot sales (don't give the asking price, barter!!!)

if all else fails buy new

 

hope this helps

toadie

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my best used resource are my community playthings wooden blocks - although not cheap if I was starting from scratch I would prioritise these over plastic construction kits - they support a lot of the maths curric for shape, space & measures as well as obvious buildign opportunities.

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Use recycled and natural materials wherever you can. For instance, we sometimes use corks or pine cones in the role play area for children to use as 'food' for 'cooking'.

 

We inherited some powder paint from a school that was only using ready mixed now.

 

People will often give wool, fabric etc.

 

If parents have special skills e.g. gardening, carpentry, they will often 'do' a session with the children & give you what they have made - we acquired a picnic table & benches that way.

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Ask the children!

 

Give the children copies of old education supplier catalogues and get them to cut out/tear out pictures of toys that they would like.

 

You could also do a 'dot evaluation' with the children - see attached document - just replace activities with what you have to offer!

 

Basically, give each child three sticky dots and ask them to look at the list and choose their three favourite toys/activities. You can give one colour dots to girls and one to boys, or one colour to three year olds and one to four year olds so that you can see the split in different likes.

 

We do this with after school children and it is surprising what they actually like as opposed to what we think they like - current favourite is making paper aeroplanes and skipping!

 

Dot_evaluation.doc

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I agree about the plastic stuff. While some of it does have a purpose if you look around most nurseries its all bright red, yellow, blue, green plastic.

I like the idea of asking the children what they want, my old boss used to buy things because she liked them, but that didnt make them any good.

 

Lots of the stuff in the education magazines does the same job too, plastic stars, stikkle bricks, blocks, all join in some way. Counting bears, dinosaurs, people all cover size and number. Small world is always a variation on a theme although the animals can be used differently. and I still go to places and struggle to find something fun. Educational toys should be limited in my opinion. :o

 

If you're strapped for cash, ask at local shops and companies for paper, get boxes from the supermarket, if you rip them open you can use the corregated part, or ask for old displays, and build up a relationship with them so you are always their first thought when they clear out stuff.

 

Take photos to make your own jigsaws, posters and books. Its often more relevent to the childen too if its the local area, especially your local bus, all the ones I've ever seen have been red or green, ours are silver and blue. Emergency vehicles are usually American so your own photos are handy there too.

 

Ask parents for old clothes and pieces of fabric you can put into your dressing up box or go to the charity shops, I prefer to see proper dressing up rather than ready made costumes of disney characters.

 

Shop around at cheap £ land type shops for things to print with and to use in your treasure baskets. Cheap shower curtains as table covers, I must admit to buying loads from ours 'just in case', and

having done most of my work in a charity playgroup I got to be good at looking for opportunities to ask someone for something.

 

The only things I wouldnt stint on are crayons, pencils, pens and paint. Cheaper ones tend to have less colour. The rest should be easy to beg or borrow or borrow long term xD

:(

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try your local radio station for a donation....................they often do appeals at christmas time, and then give the money out to preschools etc.... and don't forget e bay....i have had some sensational bargains from there (huge Community Playthings Articulated lorry.........FULL of bricks, for......£12.....I couldn't believe my luck........i also had some CP petrol pumps, which they haven't even made for over 20 years, but which are in fabulous condition...........and I recently missed out on a whole trolley full of their blocks which were at half price,although I already have them, I'd have bought another set!)

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Guest Wolfie

One of the Featherstone Little Books is all about Fun on a Shoestring or something like that? Might give you some ideas? :o

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As rea said..local supermarkets can be good..we ahve a "relationship" with one of ours helped because parents often work there, but we were given a santa grotto from them, and they delivered it too. collapses flat for rest of year very conveniently... our local theatre also have lent us a HUGE captain hook which we have on the wall .. whenever they do Peter Pan they call and collect him, refurbish him if needed and return him after the season. Looks very good on our walls and saves them storage!

..although we are church ahll we are one of the lucky ones and can decorate as we wish so this helps.

 

asking for old clothes works well for dressing up.. or in our case staff who have older children outgrow the slightly larger sizes which will go over the childrens clothes

and the laminator for making games and acitivtes using wrapping paper etc. always a standby and the children can help ...we asked parents to donate the paper allowing child to help choose!

 

working for chatity and community groups you have to become resourceful.

 

Fave with ours at momment is a magnet , 2 peices of paper one with a cross and one tick on them and lots of different items... then sort them into groups they can or cannot pick up....then they go off around the room to find own items..ended up with so much the other day took them 15 mins to return it all to correct places/boxes!! Cost £5.00 fro 2 decent magnets!

 

Inge

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have you tried free cycle ? we have had some great free things . A huge box of lego, a settee for our book corner ,baby clothes for our dolls . toys and puzzles and a rather nice boat shape paddling pool we use in our role play.

sue

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