Saturday, May 25, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

DIY Train Pencil Case

We love watching Mister Maker.  He has some great ideas for using common household items to make beautiful works of art.  Ok, so maybe they're not worthy of having their own showing at MoMA,  but for a 3 year old, they're pretty amazing.  As soon as my 3 year old heard the word "train", he was glued.  And I knew it was going to be our next project.

You will need:

1.  An empty can of potato crisps with a plastic lid
2.  Any variety of empty boxes (we used boxes left over from tea bags, Panadol, and granola)
3.  Wheels (we used the wheels off a broken toy car, which turned out to be really cool, because the train actually rolls, but you can use anything that resembles wheels)
4.  Paint and paintbrushes
5.  Black marker
6.  1 plastic sports bottle lid, and 1 regular water bottle or juice bottle lid

First you will need to glue everything together.  The tricky part is finding boxes that are the same length and width as eachother.  Luckily, this is a preschool project, so we're not too picky about how perfect things are.  The idea is to get your child working with his hands and creating things for himself.  We glued the granola box  (which we had to cut to size) to the side of the potato crisp can lengthwise.  Then we glued the tea box to the bottom, and the Panadol box on top of that to create the "cab" where the conductor sits.

After the glue dries, you will need to paint the train.  This is the fun part for the kids.  I took them into the shower stall, along with their little plastic table, the train and the paint, and I let them at it.  They went nuts! They had total creative freedom without me having to worry about where I was going to be finding paint for the next month.  Even when you're careful, 2 toddlers and a whole bunch of paint can end up disastrous.  With everything confined to the shower, I just turned it on when they were done, and rinsed them and the table off right then and there!

After you've cleaned everyone up and the paint is nice and dry, you will need to take a black magic marker and draw on the details, such as the windows and the little screws and anything else that might make your train look more like a train.  Also, glue on the water bottle lids to make the parts of the train which I honestly don't know the names of, but you get the idea.  This is when we put on the wheels from the broken car.  They were still on the axle, so we just pushed them through the cardboard.  If you are gluing them on, you'll have to do that before you paint, and if you are drawing them on, then you can do that during this step.  And there you have it!  A DIY train pencil case.  It could also be a money bank, crayon holder, or a place to put their little matchbox cars.  The possibilities are endless!

**If you're feeling especially ambitious, have a look at this completely recycled train I found online when I was (unsuccessfully by way of laziness) searching for the names of train parts.  It totally dwarfs my feeble attempt at a recycled train, but it's so cool, I had to include it in this post!!

How to Turn a Cardboard Box into a Firetruck

We've all heard the old adage about kids having more fun with the box than the instead of throwing out the box, why not make it into something cool, like a firetruck? I was inspired when my son came home from school with a Fireman's helmet made out of a paper plate.  What better to go with a paper plate than a cardboard box? And so our journey began..
We started out with an empty diaper box and spray painted a base coat of black paint, because that's what we had on hand.  In retrospect, white would have been better, but we always try to work with what we have...
Then we searched online for some templates to print out for the emblems....
And cut out a couple of ladders, windows and headlights...
Then we pasted them on!  That simple! We had a Rolobox kit, which is a set of reusable wheels that can be put on any size box.  It's an awesome product for toddlers, because it comes with brackets that are large and easy enough for them to twist and turn.  It's good for their fine motor development, and fun for them because it's something they can actually do themselves! My son wanted a ladder he could take out and play with, so we ended up making one from the leftover cardboard....and here's the final product!  Not overly complicated, but it gets the point across, and he loves it!
BTW, here's the Fireman's helmet he came home simple yet ingenious!  They come up with the best ideas at his school!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Repurposing Old Furniture Into Children's Toys

  Here are some really cool ideas for making toys out of old furniture:

Colorful DIY kitchen from Easy Peasy Pie:
This folksy one from Apartment Therapy reminds of something out of "Heidi":

    Here's a cool Pirate's Chest from Kate's Creative Space:
Any boy (or girl!) would love to have this in their room:

        Such a simple yet neat idea...just spray some chalkboard paint on an old coffee table...
 Another one from Apartment Therapy:

And finally, from Honest to Nod, a doll house from a bookcase.  It's all in the details!