Writing teachers sometimes say that if you have developed a character well, if you know the character well, you know what they have in their pocket. Well, what do they have in their purse/wallet?
Collect a bunch of purses. Make sure they are varied---some fancy, some kind of hippie-ish, some old lady pocketbooks and some teen purses. (You can buy them from thrift stores, or beg your friends and your friends' kids to loan some to you.)
Root around in your drawers for things that might intrigue a writer. An old ticket stub...a grocery store receipt...a copy of a help wanted ad, or a lost and found ad...a unique keychain...(You can also borrow these from friends.) Fill each purse with 5-6 items.
Have the purses in your classroom, and allow the students to pick out the purse they want to use. They then "dig" for the details of the character as they create...
This can be a springboard for a story, a character sketch, a poem. Wallets can also be used, but obviously, only bits of paper can be included (receipts, folded up take-out menus, etc.).