* Punch holes around the outside of old post cards and greetings cards and use for threading.
* Cut the top off a plastic drinks bottle and you have a funnel.
* Poke holes in the bottom of a plastic drinks bottle with a skewer to make a watering can.
* Thick cardboard tubes from photographic shops are good for construction; they also add a new dimension to the sand tray.
* Vegetable stall holders often throw away large pieces of plastic netting which can be used for sewing and threading, and printing when wrapped around scraps of fabric.
The same stall holders also give away coloured tissue paper: as a group activity use cut pieces and stick to bin liners with watered-down pva glue. Once dry, peel away the bin liner and you have a stained glass window to cut to shape and display at a window. Plastic stackable crates, for storage, are also often discarded at these stalls at the end of the day.
* Empty roll-on deodorant bottles filled with thin paint can be used as a quick and less messy way of painting.
* Turn a duo yoghurt pot upside down to make a face with a movable mouth.
* Save commemorative plate advertisements from Sunday supplements to be cut and stuck to paper plates, and then decorate the edge with crayons or pens and varnish with pva.
* Coloured plastic carrier bags cut into short strips can be threaded to make necklaces and wreaths - ideal for festivals such as Divali and Christmas.
NB: Polystyrene can be dangerous if swallowed and it gives off toxic fumes when used with a certain kinds of glue. Avoid using it with the very young.
Early years co-ordinator, Casterton Community College, Lincolnshire Each successful tipster wins either a free copy of Ted Wragg's Guide to Education or Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley's Children Just Like Me. Please indicate your choice when you send them to Maureen McTaggart at The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY