Thursday, May 13, 2010

Activity Boxes to the Rescue

The other day I read a post by one of my dear friends who has 3 children. She was so stressed from spending the afternoon in the examination room waiting for the Dr. with her little ones. Oh the memories came flooding back of the hospital and doctor visits we have had over the years that were so excruciating because of the ordeal of trying to keep three boys quiet while we waited so patiently. I immediately thought of the activity boxes we have used to entertain the boys during car trips, dr. visits and other boring scenarios for a child. They are awesome due to the fact they are made out of cereal boxes (recycle, reuse and reduce) and can be tailored to what your child is interested in. The twins immediately agreed that we needed a new one. First we grabbed an empty cereal box and marked the spot we felt the handles should go. You may need to adjust this to your childs hands.

After we cut the handles out, the box looks like this.

Next I creased the boxes on the sides so they are easier to tote for a child.

We decided to cover this box with old road maps but we have used old gift wrap, comics and scrapbook paper before. It is best to wrap the box like you would a present with the folds on the side. To minimize the bulkiness, you will need to cut the overlapping down to a tight fit. Elmers spray adhesive is wonderful to secure the paper in place for a nice wrap.

We like to use Mod Podge to seal the paper on the box with two coats. Now we wrap the edges with colored duct tape (LOVE this stuff, so many colors, so many possibilities). I find this adds more stability and a polished appearance to the tote. 

Oo0ops! Forgot to tell you to cut a section out to fold down before you Mod Podge. We are going to use this panel to make a road for some cars. Ok time to get back on track...... I found a big colorful button to sew on the box with some bright red ribbon I had in the craft closet. I have used velcro before. It works ok but you will need to secure it well or it will easily rip off over a period of time. I have found the button to be a better choice.
You will need to tie some ribbon to the section that folds down. Leave enough of the ribbon to wrap around the button to close the panel. Almost done, I promise but we need to embellish a bit!
I really lucked out and found a thin magnetic sign at The Dollar Tree. It was so thin that I was able to cut it with my paper trimmer to the size I needed for the tote. We sprayed it with some Chalkboard paint we had bought at Lowes (we keep it on hand all the time now).  I used the hole puncher to add holes to all four corners of the chalkboard. Fortunately I had some primary colored brads to secure the chalkboard to the tote on the opposite side.
We painted a road on the panel that folds down.

Well, it is done! Look at how much fun your kiddo can have with this!
They can use the chalkboard as a magnet play center or to write on, drive cars on the road,  and you can pack all kinds of cool things in the tote. Just grab it and go or store it in your car to have on hand for all those times you need to keep your child busy so you keep your cool.

The boys usually keep cars in a gift card box that I repurposed, the chalk is stored in an empty mini M&M container, colored pencils and notepad are handy for drawing. This is just one of many designs we have made over the years. I wonder what can you come up with for your child?

I am linking up with these great parties, please go check them out for
MORE great ideas from some very creative ladies!

Transformation Thursday
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  1. What a fun idea and a great activity to do with the kids!

    Thanks for linking up with What are little boys made of?

  2. This is such a cute idea! Thanks for sharing!

  3. That is about as cute as it gets!

  4. That is clever! I need to go get me some chalkboard paint! Thanks for sharing

  5. You are truely talented and amazing. The duct tape looks like leather binding and really finishes the peice. I need to get my kids to eat more cereal so I can have more boxes to work on your idea's. Thanks again and great job!!

  6. What a great idea! I've never seen chalkboard paint here, I'll have to get searching.

  7. That is a really great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks so much guys. Please show me how yours turn out. I would love to see your variation of it!


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