"The Markers Don't Work!"

How may times have you heard, "Ms. (fill your name in here), this marker doesn't work!" I know I hear it all the time. Sometimes it is because our little friends forget to replace the caps, and sometimes the markers have just been "all used up!" What do you do with all those markers that just don't work? Please don't tell me that you throw them out, try this instead:

First, sort your markers out. Put the caps in one container (save those too, I'll show you what you can do with them in tomorrow's post) and the markers in another. I have a box for the markers that "don't work" for the children to place them into every time they run across one. You can also have the children help you test the markers periodically to sort out the ones that need to be removed from the "working set."

When it comes time to use "the markers that don't work," we use a small sponge paint roller to roll water onto our card stock paper. You can use a sponge or a large paint brush to wet your paper, but we have found that the rollers work the best and are the most fun to use. It is important that you use card stock or a strong paper to do this project. You don't want the paper to fall apart because it is wet. Coffee filters work great too!

When the paper is wet, you can use the markers that wouldn't work on dry paper:

If the paper starts to get too dry, you can run the roller over it again.

You can also use these markers to color your "gloop."

Our Gloop Recipe:
We use equal parts of liquid laundry starch and school glue. Mix them together with your hands. If the mixture is too sticky, add more starch. If it is too stringy, add more glue.

Some people call this mixture slime or silly putty, but in our opinion, it is "gloop!" You can make the gloop with some added food coloring if you like, or you can keep it white and color it with your markers that "don't work."

The gloop is great to play with. You can stretch it and pull it. It is icky sticky fun!

When you set it on the table, it flattens out and you can lift it quickly to make some big bubbles. (or you can use straws to blow air into it to make bubbles.)

After you have finished coloring with the markers, you can put them into jars of water to make "watercolors" or a "dye" for dropper dye art (Most people will do this by putting a little bit of food coloring into water, why not use your markers?):

This post was linked up at:
PreK + K Sharing


Jodi said…
My students have been saving all of their "used up" art supplies for me. We are going to use worn out markers, icky paint brushes, etc to create a mural. I was ihttp://www.artgrange.com/LittleBottlecap.htmlnspired by this site:
Ticia said…
I must remember this. I look forward to hearing what you do with old marker lids.
Michelle said…
Love It!!! I have a huge ziplock bag of those markers, and starch in the closet... must get some liquid glue tomorrow!! Can't wait to try this out. Thanks for the great idea!!!
Teacher Tom said…
Heh! Like I wrote after the marker cap post (I'm reading backwards) all I've ever done is throw them in the collage box. Thanks again!
Hi, I'm new here! Thank you for so much inspiration, there seems to be such joy in all of the pictures!
@Forskoleburken, Thanks for checking in from Scandanavia! My husband is from Aabenraa, Danmark! I can understand your blog a little bit without translating it. I'll be checking in periodically. I'm fairly new to the blogging world myself. I've only been at it for a couple of months now. The online community of blogs and idea sharing has been super inspirational to me too!
Wow, that's a great idea, Thanks!
Amy Thanks for your wonderful ideas, I will definitely try your goop recipe, and as well I plan to use koolaid in my snow paint. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog, and for your inspiration. The "bloggy" world of early childhood blogging is truly huge, and inspirational.
katepickle said…
oooh how pretty do they look in the clear jars..... such a great way to clearly show recycling at work! I'm going to have to see if we have some liquid starch available here and try our your gloop recipe too! thanks so much for sharing!
Hi there! I just ran across this post, and I'm looking forward to trying some of these ideas. We're going to make some coffee filter flowers today.
Anonymous said…
Awesome ideas! Thanks! I know what you can do with the lids. If you drill a hole in the top they make great beads for necklaces!
Reketa Brown said…
thanks for your idea. I wonder if they would work for dying rice
Reketa Brown said…
thanks for your idea. I wonder if they would work for dying rice
Vicky said…
I have been throwing these things out. Thanks for the tips. Now I will get new life out of them. Vicky from www.messforless.net
Anonymous said…
These are great ideas for used up markers, I especially like coloring on wet paper!

Sometimes we recharge our markers by letting them soak up liquid watercolors. It doesn't work as well if you have lots of fancy colors, but it works great for the basic 8. http://oneinchworld.com/blog/index.php/2010/08/refreshing-markers-mixing-marker-colors/
Donna said…
They color snow really well

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