Using lids to play with a purpose in preschool

I have been collecting small lids from milk jugs and juice jugs. I don’t really have a lot but I keep the ones I have saved in a small plastic pickle jar that I saved as well. To the untrained eye, these lids look like… well they just look like lids.

But what I see is an opportunity to invite Wy to play with a purpose.

I set the jar filled with lids on the floor for Wy to explore. Wy starts by dumping all of the lids out of the jar.

Then Wy sits and takes the lid on and off the pickle jar…

And then Wy starts to line up the lids…

I took the opportunity to talk with Wy about the color of each lid…

As long as Wy stayed interested, I took advantage of the opportunity to talk with him. We made patterns with the lids and counted how many lids could fit inside the big lid.

And then Wy discovered if he stepped on a lid he could slide across my hardwood floor!

Through out the time, we were playing with a purpose….

What was the purpose? We got in a little practice with math, patterning, color recognition, spacial awareness, and counting.

We explored balance and strengthened large motor skills while sliding across the floor.

We wrapped up the experience with a little clean-up fun by putting all the lids back in the jar.

In the end, Wy enjoyed getting to play but all the while and without knowing it, Wy was learning. That is what playing with a purpose is all about!

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By |2010-08-03T20:10:32+00:00August 3rd, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Teacher Tom August 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    You and Wy are having a lot of fun, Deborah!

  2. amandab August 4, 2010 at 7:14 am - Reply

    Wow! So much to do with so littl! Impressive 🙂 Makes me wish all of my lids hadn’t already gone in to the recycling.

  3. Sturgmom August 4, 2010 at 10:43 am - Reply

    What an amazingly simple inventive idea! Now I can’t wait to start saving all of our lids!

  4. cj August 5, 2010 at 8:28 am - Reply

    and how far they travel, i’m finding lids everywhere, we’re still having fun.

  5. Marita August 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    We are moving to a house next weekend with all wooden floors. I’m thinking that I should start setting aside some bottle lids for my girls to skate on 😀

  6. Christie - Childhood 101 August 9, 2010 at 9:37 am - Reply

    What a wonderful playful time you had together, loving the skating on the wooden floors, how many of us would put a stop to that quick smart? So glad to see you went with it.

  7. Scott August 9, 2010 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Looks like you’re having a great time with the lids. I took my lids to a weekday teacher conference that I led on Saturday and the teachers had fun stacking them, too. I”m getting a lot of use out of those lids!

    • Deborah J. Stewart August 9, 2010 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      What a fun idea to take the lids to a teacher conference. I bet those teachers love you! Did you try any lid skating too? LOL!

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