Milk Jug Igloo


This is what we learned when building a milk jug igloo for the classroom:
  1. Promote Jug Collection – Our milk jug igloo took more than 400 milk jugs. That’s a lot of milk — and orange juice, water and so forth. We put up posters signed by the children and inserted a notice in the school’s print and e-newsletters in order to get the entire school of 100 students to help the collection effort. In addition our teenage sons liberated milk jugs from recycling bins in various areas of the city during their appointed recycling day. A parent also helped out by collecting jugs daily from a local coffee shop, which was an excellent source. It took us 3 weeks to get all the jugs we needed.
  2. Wash Jugs Well – You’ll want to wash the jugs well as they arrive, or your classroom will begin to smell pretty bad — and you’ll be teaching a lesson on microbiology instead of snow. We strung the jugs in groups of 10 and stored them in a corner of the room.
  3. Use a Cardboard Base – Using a cardboard box as a base will give your igloo stability as you glue the first row down. You can get a large box from your local big box or appliance store on delivery day. A refrigerator box works well.
  4. Use HIGH TEMPERATURE Hot Glue – You’ll need a HIGH temperature hot glue gun and HIGH temperature hot glue to put everything together. The Inuit call it an “iglu,” which is appropriate because you’ll use lots of hot glu. We used about 80 long sticks, which cost about $12. We only had a low temperature gun, so we had to buy a new dual temperature gun. That was about $14 on sale. So our total igloo investment was under $25. Because of the dangers of getting burned, the children played a limited role in the actual construction, but there was still plenty for them to do with counting, graphing, making patterns out of the lids, washing and so forth.
  5. Collect Extra Caps – Most milk jugs we collected didn’t come with their lids. You may want to start early collecting just caps so that you have enough to make patterns and decorate the final result.
  6. It Takes Time –

This is a big project and it is so worth it!

We used our igloo all winter long as a calming book nook for one or two kids to ‘get away’. We had a couple of accidents where the igloo was damaged. No worries! It is easy to fix with hot glue and so explaining to kids that our igloo is like our home and we must keep good care of it.

As the winter came to a close and the spring air  was warming up… I saw a chance to continue learning with our igloo. Our igloo was going to ‘melt’. We changed the focus of the igloo to recycling and how we could reuse our igloo.


This project can change and morph to whatever your theme is… just think outside the box!


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