Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crafty Raft- Using "trash" in a whole new way!

Hi! It's Rachel of Queen's Speech!  
 I want to share a fantastic place for DIY inspiration with you! 

Do you know any teacher that enjoys spending their own money on materials? I don't!  Which is why this fabulous place called the Resource Area For Teachers (RAFT) was created.

What is RAFT? A non-profit organization started in 1994 whose, "main focus is to inspire, engage and educate children through the power of hands-on teaching". They provide products (Activity Kits & Idea Sheets), services (enrichment classes) and low-cost teaching materials. All products in the place have been donated by local companies! The perfect place for DIY projects and inspiration!

You may be asking "Why don't I have access to this place!?" Well right now they are only located in California and Colorado. The one where I live is located in Silicon Valley and has all kinds of products donated by Yahoo, Google, medical supply companies, tech companies, and so on! Since I do not live in the area anymore, I only go when I am home visiting my parents! If you ever find yourself in the area, visit! It is worth it!

Here is a little tour of why this place is so awesome and so DIY friendly....
The game center! Home to game pieces, homemade board games (right), many varieties of dice!

They sell prepackaged games using donated items that would otherwise be thrown away (packing foam, blank CDs, pieces of tile, straws, beads etc).

They sell items by the bagful! I bought a whole bag of bottle caps to make a game out of (think Lids and Lizards, but your own version!) They also sell laptop bags, lap tops, printers, paper, office supplies and random donated items.

Here is my all time favorite area! Surplus (or slightly "off") Mrs. Grossman's stickers for 25 cents a sheet, some are even 10 cents! I have hoards of these sitckers stored in a big binder. I use them for everyday rewards and special art projects!

Uh-oh! Barrel diving for stickers!
The surrounding walls are covered with names of the companies who have donated! My dad works for Lockheed Martin :) Had to post a picture!

Okay can I get a drum roll??? Next up, the GREEN ROOM!! 
Die cut machines! A whole entire room devoted to paper cutting and creativity! This is my mom making gingerbread cutouts for "The Gingerbread Baby" book.
My sister cutting out gold foil poster board for decor for her kids.
It's like a teacher's version of heaven.......
Cutting out trees at Christmas
Working away!

If you are not a particularly crafty person, they provide ideas with instructions for items to make in the green room! 

It gets busy in the green room! Best part is meeting new teachers and asking what they are making! We found out you can die cut sticker paper, felt and fabric!
I use the die cuts and stickers the most. One of my favorite projects was die cutting huge coffee filter butterflies and my students water colored them!  I also have different dice (WH dice, feelings dice, animal dice) and game pieces I use all the time with gameboards.

Best part is looking at all the materials (foam, material, old posters, pieces of medical equipment, wires, lids, cases, odds and ends) and thinking about them in a new way! Best of all they are using materials that would otherwise be thrown away and are being GREEN doing it!

What have you used in your therapy sessions that is considered recycled? If you don't live in California or Colorado, maybe you could contact local companies to see what they have to donate? Interested in starting a RAFT in your area? Click here! 

I will update with some crafts I have made using materials from here, next month! 
~Rachel of Queen's Speech

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