A good house clean-up can result in multiple items for the school and classroom.
Before you shop, you can take the time to move the following useful items from home to school:
All kinds of little items such as pads of paper, special pens and pencils, small toys, books, and more can be added to a prize box. When children do something special at school, something extraordinary, you may let them choose from the prize box.
Arts and Crafts
There's so many recycled home goods that can be repurposed as arts and crafts items. Old clothes can be cut up and used to make little pillow, stuffed animals, bags, and more. That cloth can also be used as cloths to wipe up and clean up after arts and science activities. Even use cloth squares to measure and make quilts can be fun. Similarly small decorative items and any kind of arts and building tools and materials can be used for creative projects.
Professional books can become part of the school's professional library while your own children's old books and magazines, when appropriate, can become part of the classroom library.
Plant containers and other tools can become part of the classroom environmental collection. Similarly some old items can be used for upcoming experiments and explorations.
There's lots of old toys and items that can be used for playground fun. For example, if you are retiring camping items, those can be used for students' pretend play outside or inside. Old sand toys and ride-on vehicles can be used on the playground as well. While items like these typically don't last long on the playground given the numbers of children that play there, these items can foster new and interesting play.
Some seasonal items can be retired to school use too. For example old sleds can be lots of fun during students' winter play while sand buckets, watering cans, and sifters are useful for warm weather play.
Many houses have lots of pens, pencils, markers and more writing tools--these are helpful when you need extras in the classroom.
A lot of furniture does not meet school fire prevention rules so you have to be careful about what you bring in, but some furniture is perfect. For example I brought in an old picnic table that was not useful at my home and that has been a great outdoor learning table.
I always liked the way the Boston Children's Museum had big containers filled with recyclables. Eventually I'd like to replicate that collection, in part, at my school to support STEAM activities. For now, however, as I clean I'll make bags of recyclables we can use for those projects.
Money is always an issue in schools when it comes to accessing the materials you need to teach well. Often our homes are filled with multiple items we can transfer to school to support teaching efforts in meaningful ways. While I believe that schools should be better supported and don't think teachers should have to support as many classroom supplies as they typically do, I do think that recycling useful items from home now and then for school use can be a win-win as we prepare for the school year ahead.