Thursday, October 14, 2010

our 'beautiful stuff'ed envelopes

A few years ago our center collected items from home. They were sorted by color and displayed in the hallway until the university's education students dismantled them to display their educational projects. The beautiful jars of found objects lived in a box in the closet until I dragged them back out and set them out on the table, uncapped.

This year, a parent was generous enough to drop off a case of outdated software CDs that came in little envelopes with round windows. We used the CDs to create 'light catchers' and decided to use the envelopes to display some of the 'stuff'. The children had a blast going through the containers choosing their favorite items. I had a hard time convincing them to leave the envelopes here at school for me to display.

Since we don't have a lot of wall space due to a copious amount of windows, I've been trying to use our vertical space to display our work: 

The end!


  1. love this idea! i sure do know kids love picking out thingies, stuffing them in an envelope and eventually bringing them home. great display idea...

  2. Hi! I am curious if you know anything about the collection process for the objects. Were the objects the child brought all supposed to be one color? Could they choose their color? Was there a list of proposed objects? I would love to do this activity. I can't really tell what objects are in the jars. Can you let me know a few of them for some ideas to get started?

    Holly K.
    Reggio Wannabe
    Kindergarten, New Orleans, LA

  3. Hi Holly! This idea comes from the book, "Beautiful Stuff: Learning with found materials" By Kathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini. I highly recommend it (you can find it on Amazon). What we did was take a large, clear plastic pretzel jar and ask parents and children to bring objects from home that would fit in. They brought in items like small toys, dried pasta, scraps of fabric, marbles, jacks, puzzle pieces, wire, buttons, bottle caps, matchbox cars, paperclips, pencaps, legos, etc. Then they sorted them by color.

  4. Ah! Now that's what I wondered sorted by color after they brought the items. Good to know. I have a zillion jars and will try this. Will let you know how it works out!

  5. My daughter attended the FDC for three years. We LOVED those jar - the color, the collection of little things. LOVED that display. I like that the children have put their hands on those little things again, doing their own choosing & sorting according to their interest. Nice.

    Carmen Tibbs, M.Ed/CDS
    Mom to Gracie
    Developmental Therapist
    Birth to Three

  6. Love the spontaneous use of those little cd envelopes with windows. So often, I hang on to something, because I know there is potential for "something." So amazing when the perfect item comes to you, just at the right moment, and you notice magic!


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