Materials do not need to be expensive or fancy, and not everything needs to be ordered from a specialty catalog.  There are many great options available at local stores, such as hardware stores or garden centers.  We invite you to share examples of Active Learning materials that you have created for the students you work with!

We welcome your ideas!  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have something you'd like to share.

Crushed Water Bottle

crushed water bottle


Vision teacher Iris Maxwell from Thunder Bay, Ontario shares this simple, but fun idea of a crushed water bottle with small beads inside.





Elastic Board Tray

Homemade elastic board


Vision teacher Iris Maxwell made this simple elastic board with the directions found on this site. Using a wooden tray with raised edges, she drilled holes along the sides and strung elastic cords across the tray.  Items such as beads, hair curlers, and buttons were placed on the elastic cords and secured for the child to explore.




Homemade vertical elastic board



This vertical elastic board shows another design.  Straws, beads, bells, and other small objects can be strung on the elastic for students to explore.




 elastic board in use 

A student uses a horizontal elastic board on her wheelchair tray.




Position Board with Black Background

homemade position board


Iris Maxwell created this position board to attach to the student's wheelchair tray using C-clamps.  She didn't have polypropylene pegboard available, so she used regular pressboard and spray painted it black. 

A variety of materials are attached to the board, including a sponge, strings of beads, and mylar crinkle paper.



Sand and Water Tray 

sand water tray


This tray is a plastic container is zip-tied to a pegboard and can be used for sand, leaves, snow.  The possibilities are endless!  Vision teacher Iris Maxwell, who made it, notes that they don't trust it with liquids, but there are lots of other options.





A child in a wheelchair using a sand water tray         A child in a wheelchair using a sand water tray 

In these photos a student in a wheelchair plays with small toys in a sand tray.  The other children love to come up and play with this student when she has these or other toys on her tray.

CVI Tray Liner

CVI tray liner


This tray liner was made by Iris Maxwell from flooring tiles for a student who has a clear wheelchair tray that is clear. It was easy to cut with tin snips, and has a slightly rough texture which the child loves to scratch with her fingers.





Bead curtain


This bead curtain was made by vision teacher Iris Maxwell using necklaces from the dollar store.  She used dental floss wrapped around the dowel to keep them in place. The rubber bands allow for some "bounce" if the beads are pulled and allow them to use the toy bar for other toys.





 See also Ideas from the Field: Activities.

 active learning materials collage