~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

Creating From What’s at Hand or “Make Do” Games and Crafts

I love to re-create. Others may call it up-cycling, or re-purposing. Whatever it is it’s fun, pretty easy and definitely low cost. In this workshop I will share techniques and projects you will be able to adapt to meet your individual needs from items most of us have on hand. (The hands-on will be limited, but the examples will be plentiful.)


 fabric, foam traysscratch design sheets

Foam tray projects
bat , *vibration painting – video in action, *skewer lacing – video in action 
*weaving , *airplane,  flyer

Oatmeal Containers projects
*monsters – use for bowling,  or with removable covers great for holding treasures, maybe use for monster matching game 

Clear Fruit Baskets:

 turtles – papier mache then paint, add head/tail and feet from construction paper
*weaving – thread yarn through the side slits and weave away
*closed painting container for young (older always want to do it too) – video in action
*mask – papier mache and then add embellishments, tape craft sticks at bottom corners so easy to hold mask in place

Tissue Boxes:
monster heads – 
*stuff and pull – video in action

Cardboard, Cereal Boxes:
*turned blocks – before you recycle all those empty cereal or cracker boxes think large building blocks. Carefully take the box apart by running your finger under the glued edges. Open it up flat. Now is the time to color, paint the solid side if you want some extra fun. To make just reglue (hot glue works best) or tape (the kids favorite) the sides then ends closed. Be sure you have the original outside to the inside now. These are fun inside, but they are our outside play blocks. To store I use a twin bed spread. Pile the blocks on and then gather and tie up opposite corners. One giant block sack.
*circus –  recycled double bag pretzel box. Dolls are from pegs. Stands from egg carton
*yarn letter – cut a letter shape from heavy corrugated cardboard then just wrap with yarn, fabric strips, or our favorite: homemade t-shirt yarn


Milk Jug:
*catching jug – a favorite year round indoor outdoor toy here. Just cut off the bottom of milk jugs and you have a catching toy. We usually use soft cloth or foam balls, but tennis balls also work. On a smaller milk jug you can punch 1 hole near the open/cut edge and tie a length of string/yarn through it. Then tie on a large heavy button, wooden bead, etc. and you have an old-fashioned toss/catch game.
totem pole to airplane to animals
doll houses – cut out a large section (like a cut away view into a house) for the play opening. We glue pictures of doors, windows, furniture inside the milk jug. The girls have made fabric rugs and curtains that also glue down. The use small play pieces or make peg dolls for imaginative doll house play. These are fun outside for fairy play. You can hotglue leaves, twigs, moss to the outside.

Zip-lock Bag:
*smack mat

*foam blocks – did you know that all those pieces of foam that come in packing crates can be cut with a regular serrated bread knife. They cut like butter. Then gather solid toothpicks (we like the colored ones) and start building your sculpture, wall, house, bridge……….. All you do is poke the toothpick into each foam piece. It’s surprising how strong these builds can be. Some really great science in this creative building block set.
*sock blocks – pull out those odd socks, or worn socks and roll them up starting at the open end. It’s great to have a variety of sizes, colors and textures. They can also be turned inside out for even more textile experiences. When they get dirty just wash and reroll.
*popsicle stick pulls – I use the larger colored craft sticks for these pull sticks. On the computer write out a list of the words , directions, motions….you want to use these for then print them out, cut up and glue onto the sticks.

I use recycled tin cans to hold our different sets of sticks.


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