Unlikely Classroom Props

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Eco-savvy props from the things lying about your home

One person’s trash is another’s treasure – just ask Wall-E. In the same vein, and by adding a mere splash of creativity, your trash can has not just transformed into a trove of treasure but into a whole new world of prop possibilities too.

Here are some nifty ways you can turn unused items into unbelievable teaching tools.

PLASTIC BOTTLES

Whenever you finish up the last of your Tide, two things happen: you begin to stress slightly because you’ll inevitably forget to buy another bottle before the next load and, you’ve just created one large piece of plastic waste.

Detergent bottles and the likes are the worst kind of trash because they are large, colorful and almost impossible to re-purpose into anything useful. Almost.

Enter googly eyes, the single invention that can transform literally anything on planet earth into something you want to love and care for. Even a trash can.

So now every time you finish a bottle of something strange and colorful, don’t think of it as another problem in our oceans’ ongoing environmental crisis, but as a new addition to your growing population of classroom characters.

CDs

Your copy of Millennium may have been worth $20 in 1999, but today that shiny little disc is only marginally more useful than a clothespin. And that’s only because both CD’s and clothespins can be used to make props.

The thing about old CDs is that they hold a certain beauty. In fact, their rainbow reflections have come to inspire an entire movement around creating art from the discarded lyrics of 90’s pop culture. Here’s an example of someone taking the trend to new heights with a 65,000 CD ‘waste-scape’ installation.

To make awesome props however, you don’t need half a million CDs. Creed’s Human Clay can easily become a shiny round fish. Turn Coldplay’s Clocks into an actual clock. The possibilities are endless.

CLOTHESPINS

How comfortable are you with your inner bandit? We’re about to turn you into the primary suspect in the case of all the missing clothespins.

Clothespins as we know them were invented almost 150 years ago in Vermont (fun fact of the day). While David M. Smith was far more preoccupied with preventing clothes from flying away than about using clothespins to build little reindeer, the legacy of clothespins has lived on through the arts and crafts.

Nowadays, those two wooden legs with their infinitely useful hinge in the middle seem almost uniquely purposed to building chomping alligators, legs for cut-out animals, or little dragon flies. Which is good news for you!

The only downside of starting to ‘borrow’ all the clothespins, is you may find yourself the unwitting prime suspect in that other great washing mystery – the case of the missing left sock.

TOILET ROLLS

Finishing the roll of toilet paper is probably ranked in the top three most terrifying experiences humans can have in a lifetime. If it’s a public restroom, that fear jumps right up to number one. Well, we’ve got the perfect way to turn the terror of the last square of 2-ply into delight at having another empty toilet roll at your disposal.

Instead of tossing out the little tubes of surprisingly sturdy cardboard, start to store them instead. They’ll soon become a staple in your prop building arsenal. Still wondering what we’re on about? Here are some awesome examples of how boring brown toilet rolls can be turned into Harvard-grade teaching props:

Create mini cityscapes by cutting out windows and doors, and with a little artistic flair, a dozen toilet rolls can quickly become your very own homemade metropolis. If you really want to test your architectural potential, pop some LED lights into the rolls and watch your cityscape light up.

What do penguins and owls have in common? They both kind of look like toilet rolls. Straight and stationary. Go get creative.