Category Archives: imaginative play

Have Fun Making Your Own Time Traveler Gadgets: Dr. Who Inspired

JadesLocatorO(Here you see a portable Detector Device3B.)

Have a blast making your own time traveler devices. These were inspired by the show Dr. Who on PBS. Children will love creating their own gadgets: all they need is junk parts and imagination!

My clever daughter made these gadgets and she started by raiding my robot making box. This box is a box filled with parts of broken items that I thought could look good as part of a robot. She used a hot glue gun but younger children will likely need you to do the gluing to their specifications.

I hope this will help get your creative juices flowing.

Make your own Dr Who Gadgets

Here you see: A Super Sonic Detector and its on/ off button

a Surveillance Bot147 and an Electronic Spyglass.

DrWhoGadgetsAO

Here you see a portable Detector Device 3B and a Medical Scanner 919 (can detect disease)

an Electronic Lighter (extinguishes light or illuminates the immediate vicinity) and a Sonic Toothbrush (picks up particles and analyses them).

Not only do you get to invent gadgets, you also get to work out their capabilities.

Homemade Dr Who Tardis for Imaginative Play

Tardis in the Universe

This Tardis was made out of a large box by my clever daughter and I during the summer break. Any Dr. Who fans out there? FYI, I used a photo from this site as the background of this picture: http://hubblesite.org/the_telescope/.

Girl Emerges From Tardis

I used a box cutter to cut the panels out of the front doors and then we worked together to glue another piece of cardboard onto each door (on the inside). Basically the doors are twice as thick. This detail looks cool but isn’t necessary. My daughter painted the Tardis and cut the “window panes” from paper and glued them on the box. She also did all the clever workings inside. (Lots of knobs and levers!)

Tardis And Girl With Sonic Screwdriver

I love the way it sparks imaginative play.

Girl Looks At Sonic Screwdriver NearTardis

Here are a few things that might help you with your project:

Tardis In The Making

The window panes on this Tardis measure 5.5 inches x 3.75 inches. (You will need 12.)

The sign on the door I was able to find on the web and print out.

Here is The Police Public Call Box sign that we used on our Tardis. I made it/ sized it to print out easily on a standard piece of paper. Print out, cut out, glue on.

 

Bedroom Blizzard: Paper Snowflake Decor

Paper Snowflakes; Snowing in bedroom.

 

Add a little fun to your life by making a winter wonderland in the comfort of your own home.

Pretty Paper SnowFlake

This snowflake was made from an invoice I received. I’ve been collecting these invoices and instead of sending them to be recycled (which is good too) I saved them to make a blizzard. Invoices work because the little bit of writing on the back isn’t overly noticeable. Also, I try to work with the whitest parts.

Paper Snow Flakes

Put a few of the snowflakes directly on the wall. Also, you can hang one snowflake under another.

Bedroom Blizzard: Paper Snowflakes

Hang snowflakes at different levels for a more natural snowing affect. I used salvaged fishing wire to hang some of the snowflakes. I have some fishing wire found during beach clean-ups. Parts that aren’t too tangled can be washed and reused.

Falling Paper Snow Flakes

It’s so lovely to go in that room and look up (or if you are lying on the bed and looking up); it makes you feel like the snow is really falling down all around. I couldn’t capture it in a picture so you’ll have to make it to see for yourself.

How to tips:

Paper snowflakes can be made with scrap paper, invoices, and used printer paper that still has a lot of white left. Have you ever printed stuff from the internet and the last page that prints only has the web address on it?

I save my favorite snowflakes to use again. Store them where they can stay flat such as in an unwanted (salvaged) book. The added benefit is that pressing them in a book flattens them out nicely.

Note: I tried ironing my snowflakes. (That’s not a sentence you see too often.) What I discovered is that some invoices such as from Amazon are printed with a heat printer of some kind; thus, rendering one side of the snowflake black when ironed. Best to test your paper first if ironing.

Sweet Little Table and Stools Made From Logs: A Home-made Children’s Toy

lion and rabbit's tea party

Lion invites Rabbit over for tea to apologize for his behavior the previous day. All is forgiven as they enjoy the beautiful day, the smell of the Lilly-of-the-Valleys, and the delicious tea.

The log tabletop in the pictures is about 10 inches across. I got the idea for this project when my husband was recently chain sawing a tree that had fallen during a storm. I asked him to cut me a thin slice of a branch. I used smaller branches and my sliding miter saw to cut the stool tops and bottoms, as well as, the table bottom. I used a product called liquid nails (left over from a home-improvement project) to glue the top and bottom together. It was so simple to make.

log table children's toy

 

I’m going to make a few extra table and chairs sets to give away as gifts. I love toys that really spark the imagination.

tea for two stuffed animals

 

Not long after Rabbit left, Bee stopped by.

Make A Super Cool Tipi Fort Using Recycled Materials

teepee

Although tee-pee is often spelled tee-pee (t-e-e-p-e-e), tipi (t-i-p-i) is considered the correct spelling. Tipi is a Sioux word formed from the word meaning to dwell or live- ti, and the word meaning used to live in -pi. Regardless of the spelling, they make a super cool fort.
Tipi poles:
1. I made my poles out of bamboo from a friend’s property. Start asking around to see who might have some. Bamboo grows quickly and spreads easily. I bet people with bamboo on their property would be glad to have you come by and harvest some. Use a hand saw to cut down and use clippers to cut off any side branches. Alternative: use straight thin trees with few if any side branches. The diameter of the poles should reflect the size of the tipi: a larger tipi will need thicker poles than a smaller tipi. Use your judgment: poles should be thick enough to support the cover without bowing in. You will need 11 or more poles for this extra large tipi; each pole should be 11.5 feet long. If you plan to use your tipi inside, like we do, make sure to make it a size that will fit. I have high ceilings so I was able to make a really large tipi. Smaller tipis don’t need as many poles. The toddler tipi fort I made had only 6 poles that were 64 inches long. Poles for a toddler tipi could also be made out of newspaper. Make long thick rolls of newspaper. Connect these rolls with some masking tape. Then add more layers of newspaper to reinforce the places where the tubes connect.
Making your tipi cover:
1. I used blankets from the thrift store; it took me several months before I found enough for this project. I think I pieced together about four blankets. I thought that these blankets looked vaguely like animal skins and had the benefit of not needing to be hemmed along the edges. To make it look more authentic, I hand-sewed the pieced together with imitation sinew, which is thick waxy cord, using a large upholstery needle. Sinew is what Indians traditionally used to sew skins with; it is made from the tendons of animals.
Sheets would also work well as a cover. The benefit of using sheets is that they are easy to find at second-hand shops; you might even have some old ones around your house. Also, especially if you are using white or another light color, the cover could be painted as many tipis often were. In addition, you may like that you can sew the sheets together with a sewing machine.
2. To make the shape of the cover:
paper tipi 1

paper tipi 2

To make it easier to visualize, I made a paper model. Note that the tipi shown here is in the shape of an inverted cone. Usually a tipi would be in the shape of a tilted cone: the floor would be in an egg shape and when viewed from the side you could see the back was steeper then the front. We ignore this fact for purposes of this play tipi. To make the cone-shaped cover you will first need to decide how big you want your tipi. Remember that the height of your tipi will not be as tall as the poles, ie: make the poles longer than the desired height plus extra to extend out the top. Determine the length of the tipi side (A to B in image). Your fabric can be folded in half like in the image or you can lay the fabric out and cut out the resulting semicircle. I had someone hold a string (cut to the length of the tipi side) at point A. I then marked the distance while swinging the string in an arc.

Add smoke Flaps, for decorative purposes, if you like. Smoke flaps were used to help direct the flow of smoke. If it rained, the smoke flaps could be closed. Also cut a door. A smaller door would have been more authentic but I thought wildly playing kids would have an easier time getting in and out.
3. You can make a door out of some of the left-over cover material and two sticks. Turn over the fabric and sew a channel for the stick (as I did on the top of my door) or slice small holes and weave the stick through (as I did on the bottom of the door).

tipi door detail -sticks

tipi door open

Flip door to the side if you want to leave the door open.

Setting up your tipi:

tipi setup 1
2. Tie four poles together about 18 inches from the top (traditional tipis had a lot more pole extending out the top). Then stand the poles up. (Smaller tipis can have less pole extending out.)
tipi setup 2

3. Arrange other poles (11 or more total) for a x-large teepee.

tipi setup 3
4. Apply the “skin”. (Have your covering folded in half with the good side on the inside of the fold. Placing center back into place first then unfold the other side.

tipi setup 4
5. Arrange the cover. I used large safety pins to close the front (not authentic of course but easy). The next time I set up our tipi I think I’ll try “pinning” it up the front with sticks in the traditional way.

tipi setup5 with door

Fake Christmas trees are perfect for this imaginative play. I got mine second-hand of course.

tipi door detail

Tie the ends of the top stick to the tipi.
I couldn’t capture in pictures how cool it feels being inside. Furthermore, it is surprisingly spacious (an adult can stand in it and sleep inside) yet it has a very cozy feel. Your kids will want to make up their own Indian names like: Eagle Feather, Big Bear, Dancing Deer…