Maker Play: Create with Anything!
By Amanda Bindel, Toca Magazine Writer
Give a kid a cardboard box, and you see imagination explode. That box can become a bed, a rocket ship, a house, a train station. Or it can be altered into Minecraft creatures, robot arms or whatever else little minds can imagine. So, inspired by cardboard boxes, we like to find random things around the house and just spend some time playing. That may start with “What can we make with this stuff?” or get more advanced with a specific challenge. “Let’s use these items (and nothing else) to make the tallest tower we can.”
The idea is to use what we have on hand, but since we play this way fairly often, I stock some of the items in the supplies list to encourage creativity.
Setup is minimal, too. Dump the items for the challenge onto a table or floor, deliver the challenge and start creating. Sometimes we set a time limit to increase the challenge — giving a couple of minutes to complete the task. Sometimes we build slowly and take time to pay more attention to details. Sometimes we work collaboratively, all building the same solution, and sometimes we compete, either racing to see who finishes first or whose structure is highest or holds the most.
We like to mix up the fun, too, especially seasonally. In the winter, I often have marshmallows or maybe even gum drops on hand, and we can those in a play challenge to stick toothpicks or uncooked spaghetti together to build a structure.
Category: Creative and Maker Play
Target age: 4 and up
Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate
Materials: Stuff you probably have at home
Prep time: 1 to 30 minutes
What You’ll Need
Everything is optional!
- aluminum foil
- chenille sticks (pipe cleaners)
- craft sticks
- drinking straws
- paper clips
- paper cups
- rubber bands