We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.
— Maria Montessori
10 Activities That Use Office Supplies

10 Activities That Use Office Supplies

I decided to scavenge through our drawers and find some of the most common office supplies. Then I used those to create some simple activities for toddlers! Here are the items I found:

  1. paper clips
  2. clear tape
  3. pens and/or pencils (or highlighters, markers, etc)
  4. paper
  5. envelopes (any size)
  6. pencil sharpener
  7. binder clips (or chip clips)
  8. rubberbands (only 1 needed)
  9. scissors (toddler scissors, too, if you have them)

Here is a video that shows you 10 things you can do with basic office supplies:

And here's a breakdown of the activities:

PAPER CLIP CHAIN (older toddlers)

Quite simply, demonstrate this activity first and then see if your child can string together some paper clips on his own. If it doesn't go as smoothly, try opening up the clips just ever-so-slightly so they are easier to put together.


On index cards, business cards, or paper, just write some letters using equally-sized straight lines. Offer 5-6 pencils (or pens, or -- heck -- popsicle sticks) and demonstrate how you can make the same letters with the pencils. Then give your child the chance to do the same. EXPANSION IDEA: Draw basic shapes onto index cards and have your child use the pencils to make the shapes.


On the flap of several envelopes, write a lowercase letter. On index cards (or business cards), write the matching capital letters. Tape the envelopes to the wall and have your child lift the flaps and place the matching cards inside. EXPANSION IDEA: Write numbers on the envelopes. On the cards, you could write simple math problems that have an answer that matches your envelopes. ANOTHER IDEA: Write numbers on the envelopes. On the cards, draw dots so that the number of dots matches the numbers on your envelopes.


Depending on the age of your child, cut a sheet of paper into 3-10 "puzzle pieces" in distinct shapes. If you have a little time, cut them into actual standard puzzle piece shape (you know what I mean, with the little hills and valleys). Then display the pieces for your toddler to try. NOTE: It may be worth your while to make the front side of the paper obvious. If a piece is accidentally flipped over, it becomes pretty tricky! (Try drawing straight lines all over one side of the paper before you cut.)


I did it again. I can't help myself! I love making these puzzles. This one just uses office supplies. Use 3-4 objects for a young baby and use many objects for an older toddler. NOTE: I used scissors in the video. If you use scissors, just be sure to supervise the activity!

PENCIL SHARPENING (older toddlers)

First, demonstrate to your toddler how to sharpen pencils with a pencil sharpener. Then see if he can do it too! Sharpening pencils is a tricky skill and takes a steady hand and grip strength. It's worth a shot!


Draw various lines on small pieces of paper. Then have your toddler cut along the lines! If your child is not quite comfortable with scissors, he can just use his finger to trace. If you decide to go the tracing route, make the lines more interesting!


Classic! Here is the tutorial I used to make a paper football.


Put clips (binder clips and/or paper clips) onto a card, sheet of paper, or envelope. Then have your child remove them!


Find a rubberband (this activity is based on the size of the rubberband). On a sheet of paper, mark the ends of a rubberband, at the top of the paper. Draw a line connecting the two dots. Then stretch the rubberband as much as you think your child would be able to, and mark the ends of the rubberband, at the bottom of the paper. Draw a line connecting the two dots. Then use a ruler and draw lines that get longer and longer from top to bottom. Have your child stretch the rubberband so that it is the same length as each line. If your child is older, you can really stretch the rubberband to its limit, which is harder to do with tiny fingers!

What are some other activities you can do with office supplies?
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