You don’t need expensive equipment for Discovery Time activities. Your community can often supply ‘loose parts’ that you can get for free.
Start with your school community and ask families to save corks, bottle tops, boxes, fabric, wool scraps cardboard tubes etc
Then look at your business community and get offcuts from timber yards, plumbers, printers, manufacturers etc
Keep an eye out for excess produce. Some schools we’ve visited have been able to get hold of large quantities of: eggs, lemons, tins of spaghetti, strawberries, beans…
Whenever you have an excess of any one thing get creative! Set a challenge for the children to come up with ideas for using them.
children came up with for using plastic cups.
Have a look at the article from Community Playthings that gives lots of ideas for ‘loose parts’ – I liked the one about old sheep bones that teachers buried in the sandpit for kids to find.