Instead of throwing out old shoeboxes, use them for a preschool classroom craft project to learn about the postal system and addresses, sea life, zoo animals or holidays. Turning old shoeboxes into a craft is a budget-friendly and educational experience. Hands-on activities will reinforce learning concepts such as memorisation of colours, shapes, numbers and classification.
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Preschool is an important age to learn about personal safety in case they're ever separated from their parents or caregiver. Each preschooler should learn his full name, address and phone number for just this instance.
A few simple decorating supplies such as dried macaroni, leftover ribbon or scraps of paper can be used to decorate the box.
Talk about the community purpose of a postal service worker. Ask the students why they think it's important to know their addresses. Discuss personal safety and who should and shouldn't know a student's address. Ask if any students know their address and have them write it on an envelope to attach to the mailbox. Review writing and saying addresses until the preschoolers have retained the information.
For this activity, the preschoolers can learn about the different types of sea life. Turning a shoebox into an aquarium allows students to demonstrate the different types of sea creatures. Use sand or aluminium foil to line the bottom of the shoebox and colour or line outside of box with blue paper. Have the students add toy fish and seashells or make their own from paper. Fill the shoebox with the sea creatures and then cover the top with blue cellophane or clear plastic to give the illusion that the sea animals are in a tank of water.
Whenever preschoolers experience new surroundings, it's important to reinforce the new information with a classroom activity. After a trip to the zoo, make a shadowbox of an animal from a shoebox. Have the students tip the box on its long side so the opening is facing them and they can see the bottom of the box. Let the students use magazine cutouts or draw pictures of animals they saw at the zoo and place them inside a habitat. Discuss what the animal might eat or where its natural habitat is in the wild.
Holiday crafts are fun for preschoolers as they excitedly wait in anticipation of holiday events. Shoebox crafts encourage students to be creative and explore the concept of each holiday. For valentines, the preschooler can decorate a shoebox for other students to deliver valentines. In winter or Christmas, have the student build a snow diorama with snowmen, trees and forest animals cut out of paper. When making a gift for Mother's Day or Father's Day, a preschooler could decorate a box to wrap it in.
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