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  • Writer's pictureNurture Infant House Tampines

Use of recycled materials for preschoolers' play

In a previous article, we mentioned going green with preschoolers. If we are able to reduce and recycle, it will definitely help the world’s cause in trying to make our planet more sustainable. Helping our preschoolers understand the importance of reducing and recycling will also instil a sense of responsibility in them towards planet earth. We also know the amount of resources required for children, in terms of physical items and monetary, is pretty large. Therefore, when we are able to make use of recycled materials in providing for preschoolers’ play, it is beneficial not only to planet earth, but also to parents’ pockets! In this article, we will look at some of the recycled materials that can be gathered and how they can be used.

One common recycled material that we could use would be toilet paper rolls. This is an item that we can easily find in every household and can also be collected very quickly. One way we can use these materials is for art activities. Toilet paper rolls can be a very good print tool, replacing the traditional paint brush or stamps. It has a good width and height, making it easy for even younger toddlers to grasp it to do stamping activities. The toilet paper roll can also be bent and folded to form different shapes instead of just a circle and therefore can print different shapes. Cutting them out slightly at the bottom can also transform them to unconventional paintbrushes. Apart from using them as print tools, their uses can come in many different forms such as to be a writing or painting material, as they can be drawn on or painted on. Older preschoolers who are exposed to the use of scissors can also try cutting them open or cutting them up into smaller parts to be used for other purposes. They could use the smaller parts as part of a chain or simply use it as a colour palette for painting on other materials. Another way to use toilet rolls could be to use these rolls as open-ended materials in children’s pretend play. Open-ended materials, as mentioned previously, are materials that can have more than one purpose and can go on for as long as the child wants to play with it. The use of these materials is up to one’s own interpretation and creativity. Therefore, the incorporation of any recycled materials as open-ended materials is easily attainable. These toilet rolls could easily represent people or trees in pretend play. They could also be stacked up and taped together to represent taller objects such as buildings. The creative use of paper rolls can be further explored with the preschooler!

Drink cartons or drink bottles are another common item that we can find from fruit juices to milk or yoghurt drinks. For these materials that are used to contain liquid, they can transform into great materials in water play activities and they can be used repeatedly. Even if these materials accidentally have some holes (or you may purposely make some small holes as they will provide a different type of play!), as long as they can still contain some water, they can be useful in a water play activity. The caps from drink cartons or bottles can also make for great print tools as they have different textures around them that would produce different types of images when paint is applied and they are rolled along a piece of paper. Just like toilet rolls, they can be used as pretend play materials as they can be used to represent various objects in the pretend play context. The regular shapes of drink cartons, similar to the regular shapes of tissue boxes, also make it easy for them to be further manipulated (cut and reformed) to be used in different situations. One way these boxes can be used, would be to use them as part of a music activity - as a drum.They are light and therefore makes it easy for children to hold on them. The different boxes of different sizes and materials would also produce different types of sound when they hit on them. If we do not want to transform them, these containers can also continue to be used as what they originally are used for - containers. However, instead of just containing liquid, they can be transformed to contain different things such as stationery or become a piggy bank to store coins. They can also be used to contain other small recycled materials that you can collect.

As children grow up, clothes are probably one such material that will constantly be available as there is a need to change them as children grow out or wear them out. For clothes that are still wearable, instead of simply throwing them away, one of the most viable options would possibly be to give them to someone else who needs them or donate it to organisations. For clothes that may be torned or dirtied, it will no longer be a good idea to pass them to someone else. However, instead of just throwing them away, we can still continue to use these cloth materials. Perhaps, most of our parents would transform these clothes into rag cloths, but what else can we use them for in children’s play? One idea would be, as a paint absorbent, cloth makes a very good drawing or painting material to be drawn or painted on. If your sewing skills are not too bad, you can also attempt to use these materials to make finger or hand puppets. Sock puppets are also a good alternative if you do not want to do too much sewing. You can just draw or glue some materials to make a face.

Other recyclable materials may be smaller such as bread tags or extra buttons given with clothes. Keep these materials as they are good open-ended materials and can be used in both pretend play or in art activities. These are just some suggestions for some of the materials. Explore with your children and find out the interesting ways they see all these recyclable materials!


Nurture Infant House, one of the best infant care in Tampines, provides an infant care programme for infants aged 2 months to 18 months old. Teachers from our infant care Tampines or infant care at Tampines are trained, qualified, respectful, responsive to the infants. They are flexible with their approach to learning and can interchange their teaching method to accommodate your infant’s preferred method.

The infant's daily routines in our Tampines infant care include a good mix of structured activities such as introducing infants to a variety of colours, textures, and sounds etc, eat time, playtime and rest.

We have over 30 years of experience in nurturing thousands of infants, toddlers and preschoolers so you are looking for a good Tampines infant care, Tampines preschool or Tampines childcare, do consider Nurture Infant House.

Located beside our Tampines infant care is our Genesis Childcare 1989.

If you are looking for a Tampines preschool or childcare Tampines near Tampines Central for playgroup, nursery or kindergarten, you can consider enrolling your child in Genesis Childcare 1989. Our Tampines childcare is one of Singapore's leading childcare services. Visit our childcare at Tampines and Tampines preschool to learn more about our curriculum and how we ensure a holistic development for your child.

Lastly, would you like to visit our Nurture Infant House to find out more about our environment and setup as well as understand our operations by talking to our teachers and supervisor?

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You can visit us at the following venues:

Nurture Infant House (2 to 18 months Infants)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 Singapore 520433

Genesis Childcare 1989 (Playgroup to Kindergarten 2)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 Singapore 520433

Opening hours: Monday to Friday (7am to 7pm) & Saturday (7am to 2pm)

Public Bus services: 8 / 21 / 28 / 29 / 293

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