Ideas to Keep Kids Occupied

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CREATE A SIMPLE CHINESE LANTERN

Mark 2 lines around a clean, empty soda can about 2.5 cms from the top & bottom. With a sharp craft knife, make vertical cuts between the lines about 1.5 cms apart. Make a cut across the bottom of 2 adjacent strips to make an opening for a candle. Gently press down on the can to make the strips bend in the middle. Insert a tea light candle through the opening, then tuck the cut ends of the opening strips inside the can. Attach a hanging loop. You can also spray paint the can before cutting if you like.

MAKE A BRACELET

String attractive buttons onto a 3mm wide leather thonging (available from craft shops), or make a “cuff” bracelet simply by sewing buttons onto wide elastic. You can make an attractive design by alternating large & small buttons of various colors.

MAKE A KAZOO

Cut 3 small holes in the middle of a paper towel tube. Then cover 1 end of the tube with waxed paper, secured with a rubber band. Now hum into the other end, while using your fingers to plug 1, 2, or all 3 of the hols to vary the pitch.

MAKE A GIANT BUBBLE WAND

Shape a wire coat hanger into a loop with a handle & dip into a bucket filled with 1 part dish washing liquid in 2 parts water. You can add a few drops of food coloring to make the bubbles more visible. A few tablespoons of glycerin will also help to keep the bubbles shiny & stable.

DECORATIVE SNOWFLAKES

Make decorative snowflakes by folding a piece of blue paper several times & snipping shapes into the resulting piece of paper. Unfold your snowflake. Brush 1 side with a thick mixture of water & epsom salts. After it dries, turn it over & brush the other side. When it’s finished, you’ll have a frosty looking snowflake you can hang in your window.

MAKE A PIGGY BANK

You can encourage thriftiness in your child by making a piggy bank out of any jar with a metal lid. Take the lid off the jar, place it on a flat work surface, such as a chopping board, & tap a screwdriver with a hammer to carefully punch a slot hole in the centre. Then use the hammer or a rasp to smooth the rough edges on the underside of the slot to protect from scratches.

MAKE A BOOKMARK

Paperclips make great bookmarks because they don’t fall out. A piece of ribbon or colorful string attached to the clip will make it even easier to use & find.

MAKE A SNOWMAN DECORATION

To create a cute winter snowman decoration, use 2 paper plates. Cut the rim off 1 plate to make it smaller. Staple the smaller plate to the larger plate, creating a head & body. Make boots & a hat out of black construction paper & mittens out of red paper, then glue them on. Decorate the face with googly eyes, buttons, pipe cleaners or draw on some features with a colored crayon or felt tip pen.

MAKE A BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY

Use colored markers to draw a bold design on a paper towel. Then lightly spray water on the towel. It should be damp so that the colors start to run, but don’t saturate the paper. When the towel is dry, fold it on half, open it up & then gather it together using the fold line as your guide. Loop a pipe cleaner around the centre to make the body of the butterfly & twist it closed. To make antennae, fold another pipe-cleaner into a v shape & clip it under the first pipe-cleaner at the top of the butterfly.

GREAT TRAVEL TOYS

If you’re worried about having a bored, wiggly child on your hands during your next long car or plane trip, throw a bunch of pipe-cleaners into your bag. Whip them out when the “are we there yet?” questions start coming your way. Colorful pipe-cleaners can be bent & shaped into fun figures, animals, flowers or whatever. They even make fun temporary bracelets & necklaces.

MAKE A JIGSAW PUZZLE

What to do with leftover wall paper? Why not use a piece to make a jigsaw puzzle? Simply cut off a medium sized rectangular piece & glue it onto a thin piece of cardboard. Once it’s dried, cut it up into a bunch of curvy & angular shapes. It’ll give you or the kids something to do on a rainy day.

MAKE PLAY FINGER PAINT

Mix food coloring with yogurt to make finger paints & let the kids go wild. You can even turn it into a lesson about primary & secondary colors.

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