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10 Tools to Inspire a Playful Classroom

This blog post was written by guest contributor Jed Dearybury, author of “The Playful Classroom.”

Every day, people ask me about creativity and playfulness in the classroom. How do I get better at it? How do I bring it into the classroom? How do I foster a love of creativity and play?

I have lots of answers to those questions, but today, I want to focus on the top 10 tools you can give to yourself, a teacher friend, or a classroom nearby to inspire creativity and playfulness. The best part? All of these items can be here in two days with your Amazon Prime account. If Oprah can have a list of her favorite things, so can I! Check them out!

1. Wonderboom: Music invites creativity and play into all spaces. If you want a high-quality sound to inspire students as they work or to put you in just the right mood to create (without breaking the bank), I highly recommend the Wonderboom. It has such a full sound and fills a large space nicely. A neat feature about this little gadget is that it can connect with other booms so that you can set up a surround-sound experience. Start creating by setting the mood. Get a Wonderboom ASAP!

2. Craft Tape: For the last few years, craft tape has been a central part of all of my teacher PDs. I use it for a variety of learning experiences, including pre-assessments, quick checks, ticket out the door, and end-of-unit review. With this tape from Craftzilla, students can create art on walls, floors, cabinets, or anywhere you please. It will not hurt the surfaces, and it stays stuck for quite a while. For only $24.95, you can get 11 rolls. Such a great deal and they’ll last for a long time.

3. Makedo Kits: Bring your imagination to life with Makedo’s reusable cardboard construction tool kit. You can build anything you imagine using these plastic screws and saws. They are super safe for your students and make building with cardboard super easy.

4. Confetti High Five: SHOWER IN CONFETTI! At the peak of your celebration, when two hands come together for an epic moment of high-five bliss, you can’t afford not to have confetti blast high into the air and rain down around your creativity! Kids and adults “ooh” and “ahh” over this little gadget. I love to celebrate the achievements of my students, and what a better way than a confetti high five?

5. Play-Doh: The very smell of Play-Doh makes my creative mind explode. What can I mold? What can I make? What happens when I mix this color with that color? It instantly takes me back to childhood at my maudie’s house when I didn’t have a care in the world. Grab this class pack and get your students creating and playing in an instant. Be sure to join them and get your hands on some Doh too!

6. Bullet Journals: Lines are so constricting for me that I could never truly express my creativity in a traditional journal. Doodlin’ is so playful for me and helps my brain learn in a whole different way. Thanks to my friend @JuliePJones, I learned about bullet journaling, and my artistic skills have grown ever since. I would LOVE to see some of you start bullet journaling in your personal life and get your students to do it too. I highly recommend the Leuchtturm hardcover. It is literally my favorite thing! 

7. Staedtler Pens: If you start bullet journaling, you’ll need good pens. THESE are the ones you want! They don’t bleed through pages, they have a great life-span, they won’t dry out if you leave the top off, and the case props up so you look really cool when you’re doodling in your local coffee shop.

8. Unicorn Horns: Unicorns are the most beautiful mythical creature. Their magic has been known to turn plain ole charms into lucky ones. Just imagine what wearing a unicorn horn will do for your creativity! And your playful spirit. Why not get a whole class set and have a unicorn creativity party?

9. The Dot: Author Peter Reynolds is hands down my favorite children’s book writer. I use this book to inspire creativity at least once every week. Vashti and her art teach me daily: “Make a mark and see where it takes you.”

10. Create Bravely T-Shirt: Sometimes you just need to wear the words right on your shirt. This “create bravely” shirt will help get your inner creativity flowing from deep inside and fill your workspace. Get it today!

Learn More About Creating a Playful Classroom

Having the right tools is just the start of making your classroom a more creative and playful place. In my new PD course, Let’s Play! Creating a Playful Classroom, you’ll embark on a hands-on, experience-oriented journey designed to help you reframe your concept of play. Teachers of all grade levels will learn the power of play in education and how to create playful instructional experiences for your unique classroom community.

You can take this course for graduate or continuing education credit for your salary advancement or recertification needs.

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