Household Items You Can Repurpose As Toys
The kids are starting to feel midsummer fatigue. All the trips to the pool and days at the beach suddenly seem boring. They need a few ideas to keep their minds active and their bodies in motion. A good craft project may keep them busy while they recover from bumming around in flip-flops and swimsuits. Here are some ideas for household items you can repurpose as toys.
Plastic milk jugs can be turned into hours of fun for kids. Cut out the bottom, turn it upside down and you have one half of an elaborate game of catch. Use a small ball (tennis ball, racquetball or ping pong ball) to toss between two jugs. If your kids want to try something more challenging--and refreshing--they can toss water balloons.
With just a plastic water bottle, washcloth and rubber band, your kids can blow massive amounts of bubbles to pass a summer afternoon. All you do is cut the bottom off the bottle and secure the washcloth to the new opening with the rubber band. Mix two parts dish soap to one part water in a shallow dish. Dip the washcloth end of the bottle in the dish to soak up the bubble mixture. Then, from the mouth of the bottle blow through the washcloth to make bubbles! It takes a little time to make, but it's fun for hours.
A play washing machine can be constructed from a big box. All it needs to make it look semi-real is some embellishment with markers and glue. If your kids are good with scissors, they can transform a cube into a stove with a range and oven door to simulate a working kitchen.
Cardboard toys can be just as fun to make as they are to play with. In less than an hour, you can convert a box into a miniature guitar. Make It and Love It has a step-by-step tutorial to turn your brood into the next Brady Bunch. Cardboard boxes are disposable but so versatile -- even for kids who aren't crafty.
It doesn't take a lot of effort or imagination to make sock puppets. You don't even have to buy anything unless your child really wants his puppet to have googly eyes! Use yarn or cut up T-shirts to make wild hair; draw a face on old clothes; or cut up discarded fabric to create a mouth and nose. Make a day of it and have your kids come up with creative ways to give their puppets personality.
About the easiest thing you can make with an old sock is a bean bag. All you have to do is cut the sock horizontally to make small tubes. Sew or glue one side shut and turn it inside out. Fill it with dried beans and sew the other opening together and you have a bean bag. Use it for a game of bags, juggling, sidewalk tic-tac-toe -- the possibilities for bean bags to make a summer day more interesting are endless.
If you have a lot of wine corks on hand, you have the base for many craft projects -- a fun one for kids is making animals using things you have around the house like toothpicks or paperclips. Corks can be used for heads and torsos, and toothpicks can be used for legs and necks to hold all the parts together. Let your kids use their imaginations with markers, yarn and glue to create faces and tails. If you have enough corks, you can make an entire barnyard of animals!
Corks can also be used to make fabulous stamps. Foam stickers (roughly the size of corks) are perfect for sticking on the end of a cork because they're raised and can absorb just enough ink from an ink pad or tempera paint. Your kids can use the stamps to decorate scrapbooks or add a personal picture to stationery for their birthday and holiday thank-you notes.