Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes. Don't be discouraged by a lack of space or budget, the most important part of your space is the mindset you establish for it.

The idea is to create a welcoming, engaging space for students where they can explore different ideas, employ self-directed learning, and solve problems using whatever tools are supplied.

Here are a few items you can reuse or recycle (meaning you can hopefully get them all for FREE). Send this list home with students and have them collect from their own homes, if possible.

  1. Toilet Paper Tubes
  2. Paper Towel Tubes
  3. Shoeboxes
  4. Plastic Jars & Containers
  5. Legos
  6. Egg Cartons
  7. Old CDs/DVDs
  8. CD Cases
  9. Empty Soda Bottles
  10. Old Electronics (solar devices especially)
  11. Cardboard

Have a small budget on hand? Great! Here's a list of items you can get at your local dollar store:

  1. Coffee Filters
  2. Straws
  3. Toothpicks
  4. Rubber Bands
  5. Index Cards
  6. Q-Tips
  7. Popsicle Sticks
  8. Cupcake Liners
  9. Masking Tape
  10. Playing Cards
  11. Pipe Cleaners
  12. Mop Bucket
  13. Paper Plates
  14. Plastic Silverware
  15. Plastic Bins
  16. Magnets
  17. Duct Tape
  18. Scotch Tape
  19. Cotton Balls
  20. Plastic Baggies
  21. Plastic Cups
  22. Felt
  23. Lunch Bags
  24. String
  25. Dental Floss
  26. Flashlights
  27. Envelopes
  28. Coffee Stirrers
  29. Paper Clips
  30. Foam Boards
  31. Poster Board
  32. Marshmallows (regular and mini)
  33. Gumdrops
  34. Spaghetti (uncooked)
  35. Balloons
  36. Battery Operated Toothbrushes

Remember to make a donation list for parents or your local PTA, and ask if they can help out.

The above list is from Meredith Martin's training session, Getting Started with Makerspaces and STEAM, which I encourage you to view in full inside the Teacher Learning Community.

Do you feel more prepared for getting started with your own Makerspace? Let me know if you found this list useful in a comment below.

About the Author
Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for SimpleK12.com. She writes frequently about education topics and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at editor@simplek12.com.