Category Archives: children’s activities (recycled materials)

Empty Boxes Make Great Building Blocks For Kid Fort Building

My daughter couldn’t wait to build herself this hide-away stocked with books, pillows and a flashlight. She even constructed a roof out of flattened boxes.

This photo shows part of a multi-room playhouse.

Give a kid a pile of boxes and he or she will be busy for hours and it doesn’t cost anything.
Such play allows children the opportunity to be engineers, architects, and builders. Boxes stack up to become walls, holes left become windows (or peep holes)… I love seeing all the creative ideas they come up with, such as strings that pull the door closed from the inside and then lock, built-in kitchen cabinets, box tables, and so much more… Today they may choose to build a multi-room palace and tomorrow a cozy reading nook fort. The possibilities are endless.

Are you expecting kids over for the holidays and don’t have any toys or you have toys but want something different to do? If so, introduce them to box blocks.

How to:

Collect the boxes prior to their arrival. Have a few things on hand like scissors and markers. There is nothing more to it!

Store the boxes stacked against the wall in an unused corner or in the garage.
Reuse or recycle boxes when done playing with them.

Firefly Lanterns Powered By Bioluminescence: Made From Glass Juice Bottles and Salvaged Wire

Catching fireflies is the quintessential children’s summer evening activity. Every new generation is captivated by these magical blinking moving lights and instinctively wants to know the source.
Make one today or If you are having a summer party that will continue after dark, make a bunch for your young guests.

How to make a firefly lantern:

Save your empty glass juice bottles. Take off the label and clean it.
Use scrap electrical wire to make the handle for your lantern; you will need a piece about 30 inches long. We had some pieces left over from an addition to our house. You might try calling an electrician in your area; maybe they could give you some scraps that would otherwise just go in the dumpster. How-to make the handle:

1. Start on one side of the lamp (point A), go half way around (point B).
2. At point B, bend the wire up for the handle. After you form the loop for the handle, you should end up on the other side of the bottle (point A; where you started).
3. At point A, bend the wire end around the handle loop to secure it.
4. The wire will continue around the neck of the bottle and attach at point B. Use wire cutters to trim off extra wire.

It is a lot easier done than said.

You will want to cover the top of the bottle to prevent the fireflies from prematurely escaping. You could put holes in the cap and use that. Or trace a large cup on a scrap piece of fabric and cut out with pinking shears if you have them. That circle of fabric is held in place with an elastic band. I have a little stash of elastic bands that came off of vegetables or other packaging. You will find a second use for them in projects like this and many others.

Did you know that there are thousands of different species of fireflies? Fireflies blink to attract a mate but some mimic the blinking pattern of a different species of firefly in order to lure them near so they can eat them. Yikes!

Did you know that Fireflies produce light via a chemical reaction?

Find out more about fireflies at The Firefly Files or National Geographic.

Have any other bright ideas or a clever variation? Send me an e-mail and I will pass on your great ideas.
Are any of the directions unclear? If you have any questions about this project or any other, send me an e-mail. -Jane

Make Your Own Clipboards Out Of Scrap Boards To Display Children’s Artwork

To make your own clipboard, you will need to find a thin scrap board. If it isn’t the right size, you will have to cut it to fit standard office paper. If you don’t want to bother cutting your board, ask around until you find something approximately the right size. Paint it with spare paint from your shed or leave it natural. When it dries completely, attach a clip like the one in the photo. The clips can be found at office supply stores.

These clipboards make excellent frames for displaying artwork. The clips already have a hook which makes hanging up easy.

Also see: Adding pictures to clips, clipboards made from scrap wood, and salvaged laminate flooring clipboards.

Clipboard Clips Made Nicer With Salvaged Pictures From Magazines and Junk Mail

You can choose to add a picture to your clip. This picture of a fox was too cute to put in the recycle bin. Cut to size and glue it on. Seed catalogs are also a good source of attractive images.

Also see: Clipboards made from scrap wood, salvaged laminate flooring clipboards and using clipboards to display children’s artwork.

Make Your Own Clipboards Out Of Leftover Laminate Flooring

This clipboard was made from left-over laminate flooring. Do you know someone doing some home improvement? Find a good piece and attach a clip like the one in the photo. The clips can be found at office supply stores. Reuse one-sided paper: here the paper was cut in half to make a smaller sized stack.

Also see: Adding pictures to clips, clipboards made from scrap wood, and using clipboards to display children’s artwork.