I am always looking for free toddler teaching tools. Many times everyday items can be used as teaching tools. Once I figure out a couple of ways to use that item, I make sure I always have that item stocked in my teaching toolbox (ok, it’s really a closet.) That way if I need an activity—I can quickly grab and go! One everyday item that I save and reuse for teaching my toddlers are plastic lids. I even have friends saving plastic lids for me now!
Plastic lids are a perfect teaching tool because they are:
- assorted (different sizes, colors, shapes, thickness)
So I sat down and brainstormed different ways to use lids with toddlers. Here are some ideas:
Free Toddler Teaching Tools: Lids
1. Color sorting. I buy a pack of 5.5 x 8.5 craft foam in various colors. I use these as sorting mats for many different types of activities.
2. Magnetic robots.
3. Pattern activities.
4. Graphing activities.
5. Sorting by size.
6. Sorting by attributes. (Thick/thin, logo/no-logo, big/small)
7. Pretend play.
8. Sensory box component. Childhood 101 has a great idea on using lids in a matching textures game.
9. Games. The photo above is from a tic-tac-toe game I created with lids. Toddlers could flip these over and play like a memory game. Check out the Sticky Hand game we did for Letter H for another game idea.
10. Game pawns. We can’t be the only ones who lose game pieces!
11. Fill and dump. This is a perfect activity for the tiniest tots. A cup, bowl, or wet-wipe container and large lids will keep them occupied for awhile. They are working on grasping and coordination skills as they place the items in and out of the container. See how The Adventures of Bear did this activity with her tots.
12. Stack and knock down. Using the chunky-size lids, students stack them as high as they can before they fall over.
13. ABC manipulatives. Use them as you sing your ABC’s and introduce letter sounds.
14. Counting and early math practice.
15. Crafts. Mama Jenn has a post on bottle-top bugs and creating your own foam stamps.
Don’t have toddlers? Check out how From Kindergarten With Love used lids in her classroom.
Can you think of any other ways to recycle plastic lids for learning?
You might also be interested in:
The Art of Winging-It: The Preschool Edition
My Top 10 ABC Materials to Have on Hand
Egg-Carton Smash Game
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. I do receive a small commission if you order through the links. Thank you in advance for using them and supporting this site.
I go through spurts of saving them too. Right now I want to save the lids that come on sodas and water bottles for an idea I have……
I started saving lids a while back. I didn't know why then but I keep discovering uses for them. Your list is great!
And Ticia–I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve 😉
JDaniel4's Mom says
What a great way to reuse my lids!
Mommy Minded says
I am loving your blog! I found you on Pinterest and I am following you now!
Wow! What a great idea! I found your site from Preschool Corner today! How fun! I will have to come back here to find more great ideas. I Love this idea and will start saving lids for my tots!
Cool I have a bunch I was saving now I know what to use them for 🙂
Jackie H. says
Great ideas. I've been collecting mine too. Thanks for all of the uses.
Stef Layton says
we turned different sized lids over and practiced making circles to color in as planets.
My girls love to use them when playing with play dough!
Hi again, I loved your ideas in this post so much I blogged about it tonight and how much fun my boys had with this activity. I linked back to you too, hope that is ok.
British American says
Love that you made a list for these. I always want to save random things like this, but then don't find a use for them.
When I was a kid my Mum used to save lids from jars – I think I remember them having cartoon characters on them and we used them as game pieces for checkers. (The board was a beach towel.)
Love and Lollipops says
I'm so glad to have just found this post. I have been working on a similar post, but it seems you beat me to it :).
Thanks too for all these links – looking forward to checking them out. I'm a bit of a bottle top junkie myself and have lots of ideas planned with them in 2012.
To see what I've been up to so far, here's a link to just one of my bottle top posts:
PS. Loved your bottle top Jesus craft over at
The Homeschool Village
Pam Dyson says
Dip the lids in paint to make various sizes of circles. Use them as markers when playing BINGO.