Learning with lids in preschool

I love to collect bottle caps and lids of all colors and sizes to use in my classroom. Bottle caps and lids make a wonderful resource for art, math, games, and more! The children and I collected tons of lids over the past two years but because I was always in a hurry, I would toss them in a baggie or in a shoe box or in a jar and over time, they were never kept in one place. I finally took the time to gather up most of my bags and boxes and jars of lids and put them into one large plastic jar so we could explore lots of lids in my preschool classroom…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

To be honest, this jar still didn’t hold all of the lids I have collected but by the time I filled the jar, I decided I would save the rest of the lids for a new adventure in learning with lids next year. For this year-end activity, I invited my students to begin our exploration by digging through all the lids and sort most of them by color…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

Critical Thinking Skills and Decision-Making

Sorting lids by color may seem like a simple math process but for us it was a terrific opportunity to review color words and to use our critical thinking and decision-making skills. The children often had to stop and consider whether a lid had more red or more white and which color of paper it would fit best. The children also had to let me know if they came across a color that we didn’t have a piece of paper out to match like gray, purple, or pink…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

Comparing and Contrasting

As the children sorted lids, they would stop and talk about what type of container a lid might have come from or they might talk about the size of a lid. Throughout their discussions, they were comparing and contrasting lids…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

Numerical Thinking

Along the way, the children were naturally noticing which color of lids we had the most or least of. They were estimating which colors of lids would need to be stacked up higher because there were going to be far more of those lids than the other lids. The children noticed if there was one lid on the orange paper versus ten lids on the green. Mathematical thinking happens naturally as the children work on processes such as this…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

Patience and Perseverance

Sorting all those lids took time too which required lots of patience and perseverance. The children were free to come and go all throughout the day but they knew that by the end of the day, every lid needed to be sorted so our sorting project would be complete…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool


Sorting lids also required the children to work cooperatively as they found the process went much smoother if everyone worked together to make sure the lids were sorted onto the right color of paper by the end of our day…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

Spacial Awareness

By the time most of the lids were sorted on each piece of paper, the children had to do some rearranging and stacking of the lids to help them fit on the paper. We could have easily taken out a second sheet of the same color of paper, but the children were able to make the adjustments and challenging of making the lids fit onto a single sheet of paper per color of lid…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool


Teamwork is all about working together to accomplish a goal. This process was all about teamwork. By the end of our day, the team had to step it up a bit and finish our goal of sorting every single lid and they did a remarkable job!

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool


One of the things I look for when considering if I think children are ready for kindergarten is that can-do attitude and the joyful willingness to jump in and participate with others to accomplish a goal. At any time, one of the children could have said that this process was boring or that they didn’t want to participate but these kids showed each other and me how they have a can-do attitude! …

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

Time Management and Self-Regulation

As you can see in some of the photos, there were other processes going on throughout the classroom that included the use of our lids. In the process of sorting lids throughout the day, the children were also exploring those other processes. They were free to manage their own time and regulate how to spend their time. I certainly could have set up the lid sorting process with no other choices so the kids wouldn’t have anything else to do but sort lids but part of the experience in my classroom is to always give the children opportunities to regulate and manage their own choices and time as they get things done that is on the agenda for that day…

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

I will be sharing more on how we continued the process of learning with lids because we definitely had lots of lids to explore!

Learning with Lids by Teach Preschool

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By |2014-06-03T18:01:25+00:00June 3rd, 2014|

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. nancy brunner June 3, 2014 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Thanks again Deborah for your encouragement and guidance in teaching all the children across the world you truly are an inspiration! I was wondering what kind of tables you use and where you got them?

    Are you full for next year?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 4, 2014 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Nancy,
      The tables are from Target and Walmart. They are small folding tables that can be raised to adult height. I leave them on the shortest level for my class and they do the trick!

      Still finalizing my preschool enrollment for next year but yes, I would say that I am technically full:)

  2. Vanessa @Pre-K Pages June 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    You mean I’m not the only one who collects lids? YEA! lol! I think we should have a “who has more lids?” contest. I wonder who would win?

  3. Amy Wilson June 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    I love lids! We use them for glue and paint. My class loves to build with them also!

  4. Meghan June 5, 2014 at 6:59 am - Reply

    Amazing! Love this. Different question… Do you use the eye chart to quickly access a kid you think might have vision issues?

  5. Melissa D June 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Have you had any issues with food allergies? I’d love to use lids, but have a child with deadly dairy issues, and it can be a big challenge to find food-free manipulatives!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      We run all our lids or recycle items (that can be) through the dishwasher! I ALWAYS run ALL my lids through the dishwasher with or without allergies:)

    • Deborah Stewart February 4, 2018 at 12:17 am - Reply

      Run the kids through the hot cycle of a dishwasher.

  6. Lori June 19, 2014 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I have a bin of lids but I’m jealous of all the different ones you have. Guess I start looking for different ones. My student who had Down syndrome loved to take the lids and put them into this coffee can. It worked on his fine motors.

  7. Koringo Marsters February 3, 2018 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    I love working with colourful lids too, we use them for learning colour songs, counting, sorting and much more. We have a lovely elderly lady that collects them & send to us. Thank for for your inspirational ideas.

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