Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Toddler Teaching Tools: Lids

I am always looking for cheap, hands-on items to use with my toddlers. 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:

  • affordable
  • assorted (different sizes, colors, shapes, thickness)
  • everywhere

So I sat down and brainstormed different ways to use lids with toddlers. Here are some ideas:


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.

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Blogger Ticia said...

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......

November 9, 2011 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

I started saving lids a while back. I didn't know why then but I keep discovering uses for them. Your list is great!

November 9, 2011 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Mozer said...

Thanks Scott!

And Ticia--I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve ;)

November 9, 2011 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger JDaniel4's Mom said...

What a great way to reuse my lids!

November 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Mommy Minded said...

I am loving your blog! I found you on Pinterest and I am following you now!

November 9, 2011 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Trina said...

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!

November 9, 2011 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Cool I have a bunch I was saving now I know what to use them for :)

November 9, 2011 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Jackie H. said...

Great ideas. I've been collecting mine too. Thanks for all of the uses.

November 10, 2011 at 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Stef Layton said...

we turned different sized lids over and practiced making circles to color in as planets.

November 11, 2011 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Terri said...

My girls love to use them when playing with play dough!

November 12, 2011 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Trina said...

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.

November 15, 2011 at 12:02 AM  
Anonymous British American said...

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.)

November 29, 2011 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Love and Lollipops said...

Hi Maureen,

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:

Take care
Georgia :)

PS. Loved your bottle top Jesus craft over at
The Homeschool Village

December 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Pam Dyson said...

Dip the lids in paint to make various sizes of circles. Use them as markers when playing BINGO.

January 6, 2012 at 8:02 AM  

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