Get Crafty With Everyday Items

March 14, 2010
<div xmlns:cc="" about=""><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href= / CC BY 2.0

The next time you are about to throw out a used container or an old t-shirt or the cardboard roll that holds the paper towels, think again—your kids may find it useful.

Children love fantasy. And they enjoy working with their hands, learning as they go along.

With a little bit of imagination and an assortment of household disposables, you can keep your child happily occupied during those long, rainy afternoons, and also during those long, dry afternoons.

So before you throw out whatever it is you’re holding over that bin, think first if your children can use it to create or learn something. There is a wealth of free art materials in old bottles, egg cartons, toilet tissue rolls, corks, scraps of cloth, junk mail, cardboard boxes and others.

No need to spend a fortune on manufactured toys. Older children can make dolls or characters out of toilet tissue and kitchen towel rolls by pasting on some cloth for clothes, shredded paper for hair, eyebrows, moustaches and beards and painting in whatever else is missing.

Younger children will probably like to stick one end of these paper rolls on someone’s ear and shout so loud that both collapse into helpless giggles.

Painting is a great favourite among children. When they tire of painting on art block, present them with an egg carton, a toilet tissue roll, a cardboard box, even a white t-shirt that they can later feel proud wearing.

Old magazines, junk mail and scraps of cloth are great for making collages. This is something to do that is not too difficult, even for the younger ones once they can handle a pair of blunt scissors.

<div xmlns:cc="" about=""><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href= / CC BY 2.0

With a little coloured paper and a pen, cardboard boxes can be turned into cars where the kids can spend endless hours pretending they are dad or mum bringing the whole family out for a drive. Perhaps some are already imagining themselves formula one race drivers.

These boxes are also good as boats, spaceships, and aeroplanes or just for plain old climbing in and out of. They are great as little mini houses if you throw in a couple of cushions and blankets with perhaps some bread or grapes, if the kids should be so lucky.

Before sending off your old clothes for recycling, save a few choice pieces that your children can use to play dress-up. Hats, gloves, stockings, socks, belts and costume jewellery too will all add to the mood.

Old string can be used for learning how to tie knots and long ones can be used as leashes for favourite stuffed toys. “Here doggy, here doggy” is a favourite childhood game. Threading pieces of macaroni or penne into necklaces help toddlers develop dexterity in their fingers.

Plastic mineral water bottles make nice plant holders if you cut a sizeable opening or two somewhere in the middle of the bottle and then paint it all sorts of bright colours and designs.

Make your own play dough by mixing flour and water. Encourage older children to do this on their own—they will soon get hang of what the ideal proportions should be and absorb some math at the same time. After moulding the dough into various figures and shapes, the children may bake them and, if mum deems them clean enough, even eat them.

Old socks can be turned into glove puppets by sewing on buttons for eyes and red thread for a mouth. Glove puppets can also be made from old envelopes big enough to fit your child’s hand. Draw on a face, complete with expression.

<div xmlns:cc="" about=""><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href= / CC BY 2.0

Entire villages and towns can been made from leftover scraps. Matchboxes are great for painting over as all sorts of buildings – fire stations, houses, schools, hospitals, shops—ice-cream sticks with green crepe paper can be trees, cloth or coloured paper can be used to make winding paths or roads. Throw in some plastic, toy people and some real-live pebbles and sand, and you’ve got a community.

The idea here is to give children a free rein when it comes to creating stuff. Your suggestions and ideas should remain just that—suggestions and ideas. Try not to let them become orders to be followed or else, otherwise the fun goes out of the whole exercise.

Sometimes the children will ask for your help to do certain things that their little hands cannot yet manage. But leave the imaginative part up to them—more often than not, they will amaze you.


Comments are closed.

Search this blog