Matchbox Car Toilet Paper Tube Maze
Almost every home we visit has matchbox cars or something similar. And everyone seems to use toilet paper. So here is a craft for you: use your TP roles, some scrap cardboard and duct tape to build a maze that will grow and expand – and be cheap to throw away when your kids destroy it – which they should! Kids need to explore, and cheap, recycled crafts are the thing to use for fun and educational destruction.
Toilet paper rolls
Somewhere to lean the finished project!
So take your toilet paper tubes, and cut them in half. (older kids can help with this, or cut ahead of time) Find a large piece of scrap cardboard (every appliance store I have ever visited will give me cardboard boxes) or ask Walmart for some large scrap boxes and they will happily share. Or save your own.
Use the duct tape to arrange and secure the TP half-rolls to the scrap cardboard. Have your kids help! This should be fun. Arrange the half-tubes in any pattern you want, and encourage exploration. Kids want to create mazes that won’t work, in that the cars won’t roll down the tubes properly. That is the point! By arranging and re-arranging the rolls, kids learn important things, such as “match box cars won’t fly across a cardboard box for two feet without more support.” This is physics and math. And the more they explore the less trouble they are in.
So I am showing you a picture of what the “finished” maze can look like, but please please don’t make this for your kids. And don’t worry about buying balls, matchbox cars are fine! This is a fun activity for you and kiddie to do together…. and btw, my teenager youth group loved this activity, too, and worked at it for hours. So teen Vacation Bible school teachers, pay attention!
Recycled Board Game!
There are tons of used kiddo board games out there – check Goodwill, flea markets and garage sales. All are missing pieces, have chewed up corners, and falling apart boxes. But they make a fun activity.
Chewed up old board game or dominoes or scrabble tiles if your child is over three years old (scrabble tiles are not choke-proof!)
Pictures of any sort or kind
Scissors – or tear pictures with little kids
Paste (mix flour and water to thick consistency)
Markers if you wanna color
Paint if you wanna paint!
Find one of your own chewed-up board games, or get one cheap at flea markets… and then let kids have fun with them.
You can cut up junk mail, kids’ art work, old photos, and use a homemade paste or store-bought glue to affix the paper to the game: re-make that chewed-up board, cover up the old cards from a monopoly set, color over matching picture tiles. The idea is to make something and have fun!
Older kids can create their own, new, self-designed game. Younger kids create lovely messes. All is good and fun. Just remember: the idea is to have a good time!
Ok, this is not just for little ones! Mud is so much fun, and families buy expensive play doughs forgetting how much fun the original clay really is. Do this inside (in the tub works) or better yet, outside!
Ingredients are simple:
(if inside, some container or bucket to hold the mud)
optional: old pots and pans, muffin tins, margarine tubs, yogurt cups, spoons, spatulas, boxes from the trash or recycling, pots, seeds… whatever is cheap and easy!
Mix ingredients, stir.
Mud should keep your little ones super busy for hours. If you have a kiddo who is sensitive to textures, mud can be challenging, so adjust YOUR expectations accordingly. Allow your sensitive kid to stir mud with spoons, sticks, an old ruler. The more you participate in mud and have fun, the better your child will see that mud matters.
Ok, it is MAY!!!!! After this snowy winter, it is great to get outside! So GET OUTSIDE!
Walking with children is a wondrous activity. Yes they look at every rock on the path. Yes they find every stick amazing. Yes each dandelion is cool. But isn’t that the wonder of kids??? They remind us that yes, every rock is amazing. So go outside with the kids and enjoy them and the world. They will show YOU amazing things.
You and kids.
Maybe a bag to collect stuff.
Take the kids and go walk somewhere with lots of wild flowers. Try a park, your neighbor who hasn’t mowed (guilty of this myself), or just your neighborhood. Go walking and look at flowers, and suggest collecting the wild ones in bags: find dandelions this week aplenty, violets, buttercups, and anything else that is weedy and pretty. Bring the flowers home to enjoy – as a bouquet, as a mishmash mess (some kids scrunch their flowers and this is ok), as fun supplies for your mud activity (see above).
Warnings: don’t pick flowers on state or national lands, and don’t pick your next door neighbor’s prized peonies. If in doubt, don’t pick. There are always plenty of nice weeds, so if your little one is heading to pick grandma’s favorite rose, just re-direct your kiddo by saying, let’s pick this one over here! Usually works.
The fun of flowers is that weeds are plentiful, fun, and many even edible (dandelion leaves are, buttercup leaves are, and violets are)! Best of all, enjoy the fresh air, the fun of walking, and the knowledge that your child will be worn out and sleeping soon.
So there you have it! HOURS OF FUN activities, for you and child/ren, no matter the age! The point of all of these ideas is to spend time together, to get your child/ren active, to have fun. This is not “make a masterpiece” time. It is FAMILY FUN time.