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Holiday Fun! Indoor Cubby House

25 Jun

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School holidays: It’s the opportunity to think big about play. Play, not only in sessions, but over days and weeks. Creating play environments, like a cubby house, is a good example because it starts with the building phase, then comes the play phase, and the fun evolves as the children add their own ideas to the mix.

cardboard box cubby house

Now the colder months have set in and air is chilly, creating a play space in a nook in the house or other undercover area is a good idea.  I transformed an empty unused garage in our family home into a simple play space for the children this holidays using cardboard boxes.   The idea is to stimulate the imagination by creating an environment that inspires creativity.  The set-up is quick, cheap and easy and can be extended in many ways.

indoor cubbyhouse -- cardboard box craft

What you need

  • 1 to 5 Boxes (tea-chest size or larger works best)
    – Try asking a department store like Good Guys or Harvey Norman for empty boxes, or you can buy boxes starting from about $3 from self-storage places and stationery stores like Officeworks.  A small investment for many hours of play.
  • Masking or Packing tape
    – I used masking tape because it’s easy to work with and the children can draw/decorate over the top if they like.
  • Crepe Streamers

1. Assemble

To create the dollhouse style cubbyhouse (as pictured above), you will first need to make 2 boxes with pointed roofs.

how to make a cardboard box cubby house

  1. Put the box together and tape to secure
  2. Sit the box with the opening at the top (as you would if you were packing)
  3. Leave the fold-over tops upright for height and tape along the join for strength
  4. Cut out one side panel of the box with large scissors or a Stanley knife This will become the roof.
  5. Use the cut out panel of the box for the roof. Bend in half and tape to the top of the box. (If the box you’re using is smaller than tea-chest size, you may need to use an extra piece of cardboard and tape two even pieces of cardboard together before attaching the roof to the box).

For the reminder of the 3 boxes, repeat the above, however for the roof, cut the panel cardboard to the size of the top of the box, and tape to secure.

2. Decoration

Decorating the boxes is all part of the fun. I wanted to keep this activity relatively mess-free, so went with streamers to add that splash of colour.

1. Lay a section of tape (as long as the width of the box) on a flat surface with the sticky side up.  Rip off streamers (to the height of the box) and place one end of each streamer evenly spaced along the tape. Once full, press the tape into the top back corner of the inside of the box and reinforce with another layer of tape over the top.

how to make a cardboard box cubby house

2. Using another piece of tape, secure the streamers to the bottom corner inside the back of the box.  It doesn’t have to look perfect as you can add a cushion or small blanket to the bottom of the box.

cardboard box cubby

3. For the upper level boxes, I used the streamers in the opening between the roof and the box. To do this, simply tape sections of streamers from the roof to the back of the box.

cardboard box cubby

Other decoration ideas

Decorate the box however you like! Below are more ideas:

  • Coloured masking tape
  • Texters/drawings
  • Paint
  • Stickers
  • Stencils
  • Stick photos to make a collage wall inside the box
  • Cut outs from magazines
  • Washi tape
  • Cut out windows on either side of the box
  • Glue on gems or shells

3. Set up

Stack three flat-top boxes at the bottom and the two pointed boxes at the top.  This gives it a dollhouse look. The top section can be used for light objects like stuffed toys, dolls or Lego; it’s a lovely height for standing play too. The bottom section fits a sitting child.

dollhouse cardboard box

Tip: Placing the boxes up against a wall is a good idea so children can lean back and read a book.

read in a cardboard boxWearing: owl print tee, snuggly warm leggings, faux fur zip front sweat

Another set up idea: Beach hut style

Google ‘beach hut’ together before you start for inspiration. Create 5 pointed roof houses and line up in beach hut style. Lay a yellow sheet /blanket (you could look for one at a second-hand shop) or piece of material in front to mimic sand and then do the same with another layer of blue material for the sea.  Add a few towels, shells, buckets and sea inspired books.

4. Add

To make the area inviting and cosy, add:

  • Cushions or a small blanket to the bottom of each box
  • Books
  • A rug, floor cushions and a few throw blankets

5. Play & Create

The morning after creating this space, I woke to hear the kids happily playing. I found them, still in their flannelette PJs, sitting in the cubbyhouse, eating breakfast with tea towels on the ground and mini umbrellas in their cereal bowls.  I almost scolded them for not being at the table, then I saw how much effort they put into the set up and what fun they were having.  Since then, boxes have been moved, toys added, pillows stacked and picnics eaten.  All good stuff. And it all started with a few boxes.

cardboard box cubbyhouseWearing: long sleeve graphic batwing top, floral skinny leg jeans, bows and hearts necklace, tangerine double bow boots, mock leather button front jacket

pumpkin patch kidsWearing: stripe long sleeve top, skinny fit stretch cords, mock leather fur collar jacket

More indoor cubbyhouse ideas

  • Place a sheet over a table and cushions underneath
  • Put a sheet between two separated sofas
  • Tie even lengths of crepe streamers around a hula hoop and suspend from a hook in the ceiling to create a colour bubble
  • Stack pillows and cushions and create an indoor obstacle course
  • Hang streamers in a door way
  • Criss-cross red streamers along a hallway to create a spy lazer challenge
  • Create a comfy reading corner by scattering pillows and placing a box of books nearby

Another Cardboard Box Idea

Create a Cardboard Box Road and City

About Kelly

Kelly BurstowKelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug. She enjoys stopping for a quiet moment to feel the wind on her face and adventuring at every opportunity with her family. Her blog, Be A Fun Mum, is all about loving the little moments in life and celebrating these. Kelly lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, four children and pet bird.

 

Mother’s Day: Photo Bookmark

7 May

photo bookmark for mother's dayEach year to celebrate Mother’s Day, I turn  a photo of the kids into a gift for the grandparents.  I’m sure these hilarious hanging photo bookmarks will produce a smile.

Photo craft is a winner for Mother’s Day because it’s personal, significant and special.  The photo bookmark delivers on all those things, plus they are useful and fun too.  Give as a gift, post to family who live far away or use as a gift tag to decorate a present.

While much of this project needs to be done by an adult, it’s fun to get children involved in the photoshoot so it becomes a family activity (and kids love seeing the finished product — it is pretty cool).

Materials

Craft Board

Craft Knife (or Stanley Knife)

Scissors

Photo paper

Small Tassel (available from craft and discount stores)

Permanent Marker

Laminator sheet / Laminator (optional)

Camera / Printer

1. Take a photograph

Capturing the photo for this project is part of the fun. Below are a few tips to keep in mind:

a) Keep the body in proportion

Hold the camera directly in front of the subject so the body is in proportion.  This usually means you’ll have to crouch down on your knees.

 tips for taking photos

b) Poses

You want to give the illusion of movement.   Below are some ideas on how to bring that element to the picture:

  • Lean on a wall or chair (in my picture, I had my daughter sit on our rock wall with her legs dangling down)
  • Stand on tiptoes
  • Stand on one leg and lean to one side
  • Make funny faces
  • Lean in different directions
  • Jump (if you have a camera with a quick shutter speed)
  • Look up
  • Try one hand in the air…or two!
  • Look into the direction of the intended movement (I did this with my picture)
  • Set the scene with instruction like, “Pretend you’re hanging off a rope?” and have the camera ready to capture the action.

Mother's Day Craft -- photo bookmark

2. Format

  • Crop the photo around the subject and then insert into a program like Microsoft Word/Publisher.
  • Adjust the size (by dragging the corner of the picture) so the photograph is approximately half an A4 size (portrait) in height.
  • Fit as many photographs on an A4 page as will allow.
  • Keep in mind, from the top of the hands to the bottom of the feet is how long the bookmark will be.  If you do find the size is too big/small after printing, it’s easy to readjust and reprint.  (Check by holding the picture up against the cover of an average book).

mother's day craft -- photo bookmark

3. Print

Print the document on A4 Photo Paper.

4. Cut

This part of the project is a little time-consuming but not difficult.  I used both small scissors and a craft knife.

  • First, carefully cut around the body of the subject (avoiding the tricky parts) using scissors.
  • Then, use the craft knife on a board to finish it off.

Mother's Day Craft -- photo bookmark

5. Laminate (optional)

For best results, laminate the cut-out photograph to prevent breakage.  Once finished, cut an oval or rectangle shape around the photo using scissors.

If you don’t have a laminator, stick the cut-out photograph on a piece of white photo paper with glue and cut around the image into a bookmark shape.

6. String

  • Make a small hole near the hands (carefully, using a sharp pair of scissors or craft knife).
  • Feed the tassel through the hole.
  • Secure the tassel by threading the end part through the loop and tighten.

Mother's Day Craft -- photo bookmark

Mother's Day Craft -- photo bookmark

7. Date

Date the back and add a message using a permanent marker.

Mother's Day Craft -- photo bookmark

Done!

They look fantastic! Hilarious!  The photo part of the bookmark sits inside the book, marking the place between reading, and the tassel hangs outside looking all pretty-pretty.

Mother's Day Craft -- photo bookmark

About Kelly

Kelly BurstowKelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug. She enjoys stopping for a quiet moment to feel the wind on her face and adventuring at every opportunity with her family. Her blog, Be A Fun Mum, is all about loving the little moments in life and celebrating these. Kelly lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, four children and pet bird.

A Paper Poppy for ANZAC Day

23 Apr

anzac day poppy craft for kids

ANZAC Day is one of Australia and New Zealand’s most important national days encompassing nationhood, love and loss, and the gratitude and honor given to our servicemen and women.   The poppy has increasingly become a symbol for ANZAC Day, and one that children can easily relate to (read more about the significance of the poppy here).

I believe in the importance of teaching  my children about the history of our country and its people, so my husband and I made a point of visiting the War Memorial Museum in Canberra (Australia) on one of our road trips.  I didn’t expect the flood of emotions that ran through me when I saw The Roll of Honour with my own eyes. Thousands of poppies lined the walls filled with too many names to count, and I felt overwhelmed by the immense loss.

It’s good to remember, and we take the time to do this particularly on ANZAC Day.  A simple paper poppy is one way to mark this important occasion with kids.

poppy canberra war memorial

Make a Paper Poppy

Materials

2 x Red cupcake cases

Green bamboo craft rods or paddle pop stick/green straw (available from craft and discount stores)

Permanent marker (or black texter)

Craft Glue

Instructions

ancaz day craft kids paper poppy

1. Turn the two cupcake cases inside out.

2. Cut a wavy edge — in about 1 cm — around the first cupcake case.

3. Cut a wavy edge — in about 0.5 cm — around the second cupcake cases.

4. Draw a black centre inside the smaller cupcake case.

5. Glue the smaller cupcake case inside the larger one.

6. Glue the flower on to the bamboo rod (or paddle pop stick).

7. Make many and display in a vase or cup.

Tip: To ensure the paper poppies stand apart, use shredded paper or small pebbles in the base of the cup and arrange the flowers to your liking.

Our paper poppies are sitting bright and tall in the kitchen.

Lest We Forget.

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About Kelly

_DSC0490 (2)Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug. She enjoys stopping for a quiet moment to feel the wind on her face and adventuring at every opportunity with her family. Her blog, Be A Fun Mum, is all about loving the little moments in life and celebrating these. Kelly lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, four children and pet bird.

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