I’m happy to introduce another featured blog this week: Mama Smiles. Maryanne blogs about Joyful Parenting – Creativity, Learning and Play! I love Mama Smiles and there are some brilliant parenting posts there that you should check out later, but for now I am going to share with you 10 great cardboard craft ideas. We love junk modelling and creating with cardboard!
Click through each of the links below to go through to Mama Smiles and check out the full post for each activity.
You might remember recently we were involved in hosting the #Zackandquack Twitter party along with 29 other bloggers and their families. Well at the same time as the Twitter party, we had our own Zack & Quack party at home! This was a fun craft party and the boys loved it.
Makedo is a range of building tools encouraging open ended creative play. Basically, these are tools which facilitate junk modelling on a much bigger and potentially much more advanced scale
We were sent a couple of kits to try out, and the boys were really keen to give it a go!
We got started with the Find and Make London Bus kit:
The example on the box looks absolutely amazing! I have to say ours did not look anywhere near as good as that, but the boys did enjoy the activity a lot. The difficulty with making it look as good is that (like most people I would think?) the boxes we have around in the home don’t tend to be totally plain, but printed as they are from things like Amazon deliveries and big boxes of nappies. Also ours could have done with being a little taller.
The point of Makedo is to find what you have, and make do with what is around you just like with normal junk modelling, so there will be variation in everyone’s finished design depending on what kind of boxes and supplies you could get your hands on.
My kids were not really bothered that our bus did not look like the one on the box, as they were still proud of what they had made but I can imagine some more perfectionist children may have an issue with this? Perhaps a solution would be to paint the cardboard to cover any unwanted markings and then you could make a really effective design.
In the kit there are loads of tools:
Safe Saw – one side is for sawing and one side for punching holes
Re-usable clips. These are made up of two parts – the pins are pushed through a hole and then secured with the clip. These can then attach any two pieces of cardboard together.
Hinges. These can be fixed into positions or left able to swing
The Find and Make transport kits also come with a set of stickers to decorate your boxes. In this case we had stickers for the outside of the bus with number 15 to Trafalgar Square, and all the bus lights, then lots of little details for the inside of the bus too.
Clockwise from top left:
The tools in the box
Mr Z inside the back of the bus
Because the product is so open ended, no instructions are given but there is a sheet of inspiration with lots of different ideas and designs. Once you have finished with your model, you can reuse all the clips and tools to make something else.
Adding some stickers
We attached several boxes together to make our bus big enough. Mr Z (5) was able to punch holes and put the clips on with help and supervision from me but would not have been able to make a full model independently yet. Mr T (3) was really enthusiastic about taking part and making the bus but was too small to use the tools. His main role was sitting in the place of the bus driver with his steering wheel made from a paper plate and he was in charge of sticking on a lot of the stickers too. He was really happy with just doing that, so I did think it’s good that they can each enjoy the activity at their own level.
The Makedo kits are very versatile. If you had a child of 6 or 7+ I think they could really methodically approach the task and make something really impressive. For us with 3 children age 5 and under including a couple of active toddlers it was more a case of everyone jumping in and quickly making whatever we could. The youngest two got more out of the role play of sitting in the “bus” once it had been made, and Mr Z got more out of the actual building.
Makedo is pretty different than anything we have come across before and will be a great tool to have in the house for any families who enjoy junk modelling. I’m sure ours will be used for many different kinds of models over the years whether on this large scale or for smaller models too. It’s not just cardboard they can join together, but foam or any kind of junk modelling material so the only limit is your imagination really.
The recommended minimum age is 6+ and I would say it is about right, although 5 and a half should be okay. Little ones may love the idea of playing in a cardboard bus or tube, they are not really big enough to use the tools properly.
If you have a look on the Makedo Website, you can see loads of really cool examples to give you some more inspiration!
Recently on Playfest we had a session on Junk Modelling. It’s not something we do all the time but the children always really enjoy it and it gave me a push to let them do it a bit more often.
We were joined by the lovely Maggy Woodly from Red Ted Art, who came to share some of her ideas with us and give us some inspiration. A week or so before that I won her new book on twitter, which I was very happy about and as you can see so was my little boy!
I have to say, none of our projects turn out looking as good as they do in the book! I’m just telling myself it’s more about the “process” and the kids enjoyment, rather than the finished results. We will keep trying!
Here’s some pics of my boys in action, creating some “masterpieces” out of our junk packaging!
Here we have a space themed rattle/shaker made by my 4 year old out of a giant lolipop packet, filled with some pulses, decorated with paint and sparkles, and fixed together with decorative star tape – tada!!
This is our rocket. It’s made out of an old chocolate milk container, covered in tissue paper and foil and painted. This is still up on the shelf in their playroom, 4yr old is very proud of it!
I think this one was a boat 🙂
More junk modelling play, with the younger 2 they were just really exploring the materials rather than having a project in mind.
Here’s some ideas of materials you can put aside to use
Any form of cardboard, cereal boxes, packaging, shoe boxes. Really big boxes can be used to make giant models which can be played in
Any form of tubes – kitchen rolls, toilet rolls
Foil sweet wrappers, or tin foil
Plastic bottles, drinks bottles, fairy liquid etc
Tubs from butter or yoghurts
Bits of felt
Junk play is good for hand eye coordination, fine motor skills – using skills like cutting with scissors, gluing and painting – and of course for developing the imagination. Their creations have the potential to become anything they wish! I love seeing the sense of pride and achievement in what they have made.
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