Pre-K activities, learning games, crafts, and printables


Games with recyclable material

When the time comes to modify your area setup and games, you are most likely tempted to run to the nearest toy store to purchase new toys. Have you ever thought about the large quantity of recyclable material you have on hand? Often, we think of using recyclable material for arts & crafts but why not use them to create games too? I have prepared a short list of activities you may prepare yourself.


Activity and material ideas


Milk cartons

  1. Make photo cubes. Cut two, 2-litre milk cartons in two. Cut them approximately halfway. You will only need the bottoms. Place the two bottoms one inside the other. Stick them together with adhesive tape to make them stronger. Glue pictures of the child's family members on each side of the cube. Laminate with Mac Tac, ensuring that the plastic is wider than the cube on each side to make it easier for children to hold it.

  2. Make cubes as above but fill them with newspaper scraps before closing them. Make cubes of different sizes. Cover them with coloured Mac Tac or wrapping paper. Use as building blocks.

  3. Attach a strip of heavy cardboard to the bottom of the milk carton. The strip joins the two opposite sides of the carton. Children can use as a basket to carry tiny objects.

Metal cans and tops of frozen juice cans

  1. Use two large empty metal cans. Be sure to use a can opener which does not leave sharp edges. Children can throw balls into the cans. You may have several different colours of balls and stick coloured pieces of cardboard on the cans. Children throw the balls in the can with the corresponding colour.

  2. Collect the tops of frozen juice cans. Stick illustrations or stickers to the surface, making sure to have two of each. You have created your very own memory game. You can make one for each new theme you explore, new seasons, birthdays, etc.

  3. You will need large metal cans with plastic lids (large coffee cans). Make a hole in the lid and insert several tops of frozen juice cans or baby food jars. This is the perfect game for little ones. They will love pushing the lids through the hole over and over again!

Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls

  1. Find a large cardboard box and make several holes in it, the size of an empty toilet paper roll. Make sure there are holes on each side of the box. Have children push the rolls through the holes.

  2. Glue two rolls together, lengthwise. Glue coloured acetate paper to one end, covering the two tubes. Children will love observing a colourful world with these homemade binoculars!

Shoe boxes

  1. Make a hole in one of the smaller ends of the box and thread a rope through it (not too long, make sure children are unable to put it around their neck). A simple wagon which children can fill with toys and pull around.

Plastic bottles

  1. Make your own exploration bottles. You will need several empty water bottles. Add coloured water to each bottle and add various objects: glitter, cotton balls, pasta, pebbles, etc. If you want to make sound bottles, do not add water and select materials which produce interesting sounds: macaroni, rice, peas, pennies, pebbles, etc.


  1. Collect odd buttons you may have around the house. Use them for a fine motor skills activity. Children will love using them to make fancy necklaces!

  2. Use buttons for a cognitive activity. Have children sort them by colour or by size.


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