Using Restaurant Supplies in the Classroom

May 17, 2014

I’m so excited for another month of Bright Ideas, and this month’s linky party is a great one!

Back in the day, I taught Home Economics for 4 years. We would organize a mock restaurant for the teachers each year where the kids would apply for jobs, cook the food, make the menus… the whole shebang. It was really fun and gave me a great excuse to check out our local restaurant supply store. I STILL use some of the things we had in my classroom. To keep it current, I took a trip back to the store and looked around with “teacher” eyes.  This place is a goldmine for heavy duty classroom supplies! These are some my favorite things and new finds.

Sign Holders: These little, metal sign holders are indestructible. I’ve been using this set for about 9 years. We use them for our reading groups. Each group has a name, and these hold their tags.   I also use them for centers and stations, special events, or petty much anytime I need a sign holder. The store i visited had them for 69 cents so I bought a few more. Not sure what I will do with them, but I am sure I will find something!

I’ve had a few of these puppies for awhile, too.  I also use them for stations, especially during our Christmas Around the World Day.

Trays and Baskets: They have lots of colorful plastic baskets and trays. I LOVE using the trays with my science stations or when we have a math activity with a lot of manipulatives. I set them up for the tables before and it makes passing materials out SO much easier!  They are also bigger and cheaper than the ones I have seen at the teacher supply stores. These were made to be used A LOT and are super sturdy.

Chopsticks!  I love using chopsticks because they are sturdy and cheap – maybe even free! They don’t have sharp edges like a skewer, but give you more length than a popsicle stick. We use them for sandbox spelling, retelling puppets, and for masks.

Today’s Special: Using menus in the classroom!  My kiddos think these are so cool.  I like to use menus for games and activities. They are especially handy when I don’t want to take time to laminate and cut out a game board or file folder game.  The plastic and binding are industrial and super sturdy. I just slip in the game and it is ready to go. If the game has pieces on it, I just put them in a baggie and tuck it in a pocket. They don’t fall out, which is an added bonus. My FAVORITE thing is I like to use them with dry erase markers. They are dreamy!!!  I can make a worksheet novel by slipping it in one of these. I picked up a few more during my “field trip.” They were $1.68 for a double fold menu. I was so excited!

Glitter/Sand/Sprinkle Shakers: They have spice shakers of every size and kind, and they are cheap! One of my favorite uses for these is glitter. The smaller holes means less mess when using glitter or colored sand.  My other favorite use is for cookie sprinkles.  (I use this at home all of the time, too!) A few shakes and cookies or ice cream has sprinkles with minimal waste.

So take your own field trip and find your local restaurant supply.  Take a look at things with “teacher” eyes and see what you can find.

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