You may have decided you want to try some of the meaningful hands-on activities found on the Teach One Reach One site. Many of these activities require few materials. There are a few though that could be even more memorable if you had a few more items. Unfortunately, your program has no money to help you purchase them.
Never fear! We experimented one summer with what I will call the “stone soup” method of getting supplies. It worked better than I could have hoped. With a few simple steps, you may find you have all of the materials you need, even on your limited budget.
- Make a list of all of the materials you need. We have tried to give ideas of possible substitutions, but if we haven’t, add your own ideas.
- Personally approach both people in your program and supporters of your program. Give them the list and ask them if they have any of the items on it they would be willing to donate. You will be surprised to find what is sitting in the homes of people unused. We have been given yards and yards of fabric which we used to make into costumes. Some people may be willing to loan you items to use. One member had a collection of mortars and pestles and loaned us a few to show the kids how they ground grain and spices in kitchens during Bible times.
- Ask businesses for discounts or donations. Every business is different. Some will only donate to groups with official charity status. Some will donate items they are about to discontinue. Others will want some sort of paperwork completed to receive discounts. Some put wonderful coupons in the local newspaper. My rule is to ask the manager. The worst they can say is “No” but they may very well be able to help you in some way.
- Place your list in newsletters and on your website. In general, this is the least effective way of collecting items. You will find though that every now and then, someone will discover the list and show up with a lot of the things you need.
Don’t give up on sharing a memorable activity with your students because of the lack of money. Plan ahead and try the steps above. You may find it is easier to make “stone soup” than you realized!