Alphabet Jam Jars!

21 Jan

Today I feel  inspired to continue with recycling!  The boys are  adults now and I have this box that says ‘One Day I Will  Find A Use For That!’ It has all of those all important toys that came out of chocolate eggs or from those wonderful glass stands in shopping centres, where your children looked at you with those pleading eyes and how could you not pop in a few cents to make them happy! And  you knew at the time you would eventually find them down the back of the couch or strewn over their bedroom floor! Well, finally after much thought I found a way to not only use them but apply educational purpose to them as well!

I hunted around in my cupboard and found some glass jam jars, I started thinking as I had so many I could make an alphabet display for a young child’s bedroom or a classroom. (A friend made a valuable comment.  She said she felt nervous using glass jars around children. I absolutely understand this aspect of the project. I know in Reggio settings children are encouraged and trained to take care of glass objects. For me, I guess I would have the jars on a shelf as a display, and take them down to look at in a whole group or a small group setting.  Children could bring items for the jar and in this way the project would keep evolving. Thanks my friend!) So, as I was saying,  I set to work. I found some sticky alphabet labels from those cheap $2 dollar stores, my son’s pyjamas (he had grown out of ) and I was ready to go!

Equipment you will need:

a. Glass jars and lids (26)

b. Little toys

c. Material

d. A large lid to use as a stencil with the material

e. Craft glue

f. Sticky labels

1. Collect the bottles (26).

2. Cut a circle of material larger than the lid and glue the material on the lid. I found a tutorial that suggested you make little nicks around the edge of the material  to assist with the gluing process. If you are like me,  I would cover them all with the same material!


3. I then glued the sticky alphabet letters onto the jars and started sorting all of the toys.

These amazing puppets can be purchased from (

4. The finished product!

I used these in a Kindergarten with whole groups and small groups of children. We talked about all the toys inside and the initial sound of the first letter. In small groups I used the toys to develop memory skills by removing one item (while they were not looking!) and observing if they could remember which piece was missing. What I love about these jars is that  over the course of the year more toys can be added. I have used a literacy apron with them and the children have to figure out the clues i.e I have something in my pocket and it starts with an a, it is very big, people are able to ride in it, it has wings…..etc!

Have fun, I did!

P.S. I found a wonderful way of storing and displaying the jars on this website!


4 Responses to “Alphabet Jam Jars!”

  1. thequiverfull January 21, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas with the universe I stumbled across your site after reading The Book Chook’s post. I am a newly graduated teacher and have found the posts very informative and innovative. I do however find the blogging platform (tumblr) a little hard to navigate, maybe a more well known platorm would attract a well deserved wider audience!

  2. thequiverfull January 21, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks for the support and I will look at other platforms for easier use! I just love tumblr as it is so clear!


    • Deborah Sewell January 26, 2012 at 1:22 am #

      Sue how clever you are!!
      I to use all those little bits that you collect but put them into snap lock bags bags(I am nervous of glass and children). I have not put them in alphabetical order as I have mainly used them for maths sorting and classifying activities. I also use them for story telling . Take one thing out of the bag that you would like as a main character,another 2 as secondary characters and think of as many words that you can to describe them,actions they would use and any other helpful words. PP love the concrete items to help with any story writing and telling. With K this is the same process with more help and the teacher doing a lot of the scribing.
      For those people who have never been bower birds like us, garage sales are a wonder for these things as are the homes of nieces and nephews . I have found my in laws love my collecting habits which tidy their homes in the one movement!

      • thequiverfull January 26, 2012 at 1:33 am #

        Hi Deb
        I think I would use the glass containers on a shelf and take them out to show children. I love your ideas. I am going to establish a Deb’s teaching gold nuggets’ and keep them in a safe place
        for me to dip into!

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