Trash for Teaching | Recycled: Materials for art, play and learning

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My son’s preschool teacher told me about Trash for Teaching, which is basically a recycling center where you can buy random bits and bobs for art projects or as my son says “engineering” projects.  They source clean safe recycled materials from local company’s who would otherwise discard these items to the landfill. Items you can find there include fabric pieces, cardboard thread cones, wood, glass tubes, plastic colored pieces, cardboard cutouts (Ala valentines day hearts, etc) and lots more. Their inventory is always changing, so you never know what you will find when you arrive.

As soon as my almost 4 year old heard of this place he couldn’t wait to go.  It is really an amazing place. If my son could have, he would have filled my car full of items to take home! We didn’t have a lot of time on our first visit, just enough to get the lay of the land.

Bring a bag (or few) and load up on whatever materials you think you can use. Everything is sold by the pound – for non-members it’s $2 per pound. If you plan to return often or are buying for a group, consider the membership option which is $100 and allows you to walk away with 50lbs of goodies right then and for all future purchases you pay only $1 per pound.

IMG_1985Open Studio Family Workshop

On Sunday afternoon’s Trash for Teaching opens their doors not only for people to purchase items, but also for their workshop area. The workshop space encourages creativity and family time.

It is open for a suggested donation of $5-10. Ideally this workshop is suited best for children 6 years old and above, but if you have a proactive and creative child, feel free to give it a shot as well. Included in your donation is access to all of the materials at the warehouse as well as drills, glue guns, paint and anything and everything you would need for a project.  The hard part here is deciding what to make! It is up to you to use your imagination and figure out what to make and how to do it.

On our visit we saw children of all ages making things like wind chimes out of nuts and bolts, doll houses out of old plastic display cases, paintings on wood and styrofoam boards and so much more!

We were told that one of the most difficult things for younger children is coming up with an idea. They are used to people telling them what to make and how to make it. As expected, our son did struggle a bit trying to figure out what to make. There were some older projects on display so he decided he wanted to make one of them for a ‘water factory’ idea he had.

After collecting our supplies, we didn’t have much time for the project portion, so we also filled up our bag with goodies to bring home for other projects. Some of the cool items we came away with were: old (new) computer keyboard, plastic tubes, metal pieces which my son calls ‘generators’, plastic and glass jars, large hard cardboard tubes, sparkly paper, elastic bands, zippers and so much more!

This is an amazing resource for teachers, homeschoolers and parents with creative kids! Our son is already talking about when he can go back again. I have a feeling we will become monthly regulars at the Sunday workshop.

The Details

The warehouse is only open 3 days a week (or by appointment).

Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Sunday: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The address is:

12815 S. Western Ave
Gardena, CA

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