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Thunder Bay Food Strategy
Safe Cycling Thunder Bay

Let's Have A Swap!

What a great way to reinforce the idea of REUSE and REDUCE while also having a fun classroom event. By having your class host a swap, students will have a chance to bring in a gently used item of their own and trade it for something new to them.

Swap Themes:

  • Books
  • Toys/Games
  • Clothes
  • Sports Equipment


  1. Select a theme for your swap. If you are involving the class in the planning process, you may pose a vote to the class to select a theme. Try to select a theme that will involve all students in the class.
  2. Select a date to hold the swap.
  3. Brainstorm how students may decide what items to bring in for the swap.
  4. Write a letter to send home with students.


  1. Discuss with students the proper way to engage in trading and trade discussion.
  • Only our first swap, so may have more chances to trade in future
  • Be reasonable with those wanting to trade
  • Think before you speak – consider other people’s feelings (no bullying!)
  1. Set the classroom up in a pattern conducive to moving around easily (U shape might work well)
  2. Have students place their item(s) on their desk for viewing.
  3. Walk around classroom looking at the items first.
  4. Then have students discuss with each other any items they may like to trade.

(You may decide to bring in a few items of your own, to use in the swap as well)


  1. Discuss how it all went.
  • Did you accomplish a “green” act? Did you reuse something? Did you keep something out of landfill?
  • What else can we do to continue to think about reducing and reusing?
  1. Write an article as a class to submit to the school newsletter.


Some students may choose not to participate in the swap. Assign them alternate roles to allow them to still be involved in the activity.

Some Alternate Roles: photographer, note taker, referee (mediator)


Your class could organize a class or school drive to collect unused items for donation.

  • A Used Clothing Drive
  • A Used Toy Drive

The lesson is similar, that we should do everything we can to keep unnecessary items out of landfill. Your class may be able to take a leadership role in the school if you choose to organize a school-wide drive. You could create announcements that explain the drive. You could have your class collect facts on waste to enforce the idea of diverting waste from the landfill.

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Thunder Bay, Ontario
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