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Give Your Class "Class"

Jennifer Hooks

Winning Windows

• PVC Surprise-PVC piping (available at home improvement stores) is cheap, light, and versatile. To make curtain rods, cut sections just longer than the width of your windows. Drape each section with fabric, or cover the pipe itself with glue and fabric.

• Glass Stain-Windows are wonderful, but sometimes what's going on outside them distracts kids. If you want to keep the light but lose the distraction, "stain" your glass. For stained glass kits, go to www.artcity.com or www.dickblick.com.

 

Fantastic Floors

• Remnants and Rugs-Cover worn-out carpet or soften tile with carpet remnants or inexpensive rugs. Breaking up a basic floor color with rugs also breaks up the room. You can create a cozy storytime area or designate an activity area with varied carpets.

• Paint Me a Path-If your floor is forgettable, make it memorable with a new paint job (uncarpeted floors only). You can go wild with wacky designs and tons of color, or you can stay sane with a single sublime shade.

Funky Furniture

• Crates-Crates can do double duty as storage and bench seating. You can spray paint older crates to spruce up their appearance, or cover them with fabric. To make benches, simply cut a piece of plywood to cover the crates. Glue foam to one side of the plywood, and finish the bench top by covering it with fabric. Staple the fabric to the bottom of the bench top with a staple gun.

• Mini Beanbags-Beanbags don't have to cost a lot. Visit a thrift store and stock up on sturdy pillowcases. Stockpile plastic foam packing peanuts at home, or visit office supply stores and department stores to see if they're willing to let you have their leftovers. Stuff each pillowcase full of plastic foam peanuts, then sew shut the open end of the pillowcase to make a mini beanbag. These are great for kids ages 3 and up to lie or sit on during storytime or activities, and they stack for games and easy cleanup.

• Tables and Chairs-Chances are, you probably have a roomful of tables, chairs, and desks. But if you'd like some cheap but distinctive additions to your classroom furniture, go to www.ikea-usa.com for a catalog.

Erase the bland look of classroom furniture with some brightly colored fabric. For example, cut tablecloths from remnants of fabric, new shower curtains, and oversize tablecloths. If your chairs could use improvement, go back to the thrift store and buy more pillowcases. Have kids decorate the pillowcases with fun designs and pictures. Slide the pillowcases over the backs of the chairs and tie large ribbons around the bases of the chairbacks.

• Puppet Alley-PVC works wonders for puppet stages. Stock up on sections of PVC pipe and several corner connectors. You can interchange the sections to fit your stage needs, then drape fabric over the piping for curtains.

• Focal Teaching Point-Every classroom comes with a place to write, such as a chalkboard, dry erase board, or flip board. But if you'd like to expand your wall-writing options, apply chalkboard paint (www.hometownpaint.com) to an entire wall.

Jennifer Hooks is managing editor for Children's Ministry Magazine.

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