Showing posts with label cardboard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cardboard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cardboard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cardboard. Show all posts

Summer Messy Play Activities for Preschoolers

Fun In The Sun - 6 Tips For Creating A Mud Kitchen For Your Kids

Kids love mud! And as dirty as they may get, it’s time to advocate messy play so they can learn new skills the fun way. The fastest and easiest way to encourage your kids to get outdoors is to build them a mud kitchen.They'll be tripping over each other to get outside

Building your own mud kitchen is a creative, cost-effective way of enabling messy play for your kids while saving money on an expensive play kitchen

You can build your mud kitchen in your own way, and in the end, your kids will have the perfect environment in which to get their hands dirty anytime.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.

Summer Messy Play Activities for Preschoolers

Photo: Jelleke Vanooteghem/Unsplash

Six tips to create your own mud kitchen

  1. Use What You’ve Got

Poke around your garage and see what you can recycle to save money on your mud kitchen. You can use wood, recycled pallets, and old timber for the construction. Old cookware and bakeware, utensils, and decorations can also be used to finish out the kitchen,

Remember, the idea is to ignite your child’s imagination, so your DIY mud kitchen doesn’t need to resemble a brand-new toy kitchen set. 

  1. Stove Tops Add to The Fun

While it’s great to leave some things up to the imagination, it’s a good idea to make your play kitchen resemble a real kitchen by creating a stove top. You can paint the burners on a piece of timber or wood, and you can even add broken or thrifted appliances to your outdoor kitchen to enhance its appearance. You can also use good, old cardboard to create a play stove.

  1. Bake Mud Cakes

The fun part of having a mud kitchen is that your kids get to play with mud and get as dirty as they want. All you need to make mud cakes is some sand or soil and water. You can use old cookware and bake ware to contain them and shape them like cakes and cupcakes.

Parents can get involved by showing kids how to create funky-shaped cookies with cookie cutters and molds or add colored pasta to the mud for added texture. This kind of sensory play is an important part of childhood development, but above all, it’s a whole lot of fun.

Pistachio Pudding Play Dough

  1. Set the Table

A mud kitchen is a fun way to teach your child table manners. Guide your preschoolers through setting a table and laying out the dishes. Show them the way to arrange cutlery and allow your children to bring some garden leaves to create napkins for a rustic table setting.

  1. Add a Sink

Since you’ve introduced messy play to your preschoolers with colored pasta and mud cakes, it’s a good idea to take care of the cleanup. The most logical way to do this is to add a sink to your mud kitchen! To create your sink, use a silver or grey bucket and fill it with water or a big flower put with the bottom plugged works nicely too.

Add a hose in the bucket so that there’s an accessible faucet. This is a great way to teach children how to clean up after themselves. Add some dish washing liquid and a sponge so you can wash all the cookware the kids used before bringing it back into the house!

How to Make your own Dish Washing Soap

  1. Dress For The Occasion

Every chef needs a chef’s hat and apron, so make sure to get these for your child. They will love it! Plus, the apron will offer some protection from mud splatter while playing. Rubber boots are a good idea too. Preschool age kids and toddlers love to wear galoshes!

How to Make your own Chef Hat


Have fun with your kiddos and their mud kitchen. You may want to wear some rubber boots yourself! Encourage your children to enjoy free and imaginative play, and you can bet they’ll learn tons of kitchen tricks in the process. Pretend play is the best way to learn!

Recommended Reading:

Pretend Play and Play Date Ideas from Adventures of Kids Creative Chaos

Fun Books about Galoshes from Amazon

How to make a Kitchen Stove for Kids Pretend Play from a Cardboard Box

Recycle Boxes and Bottle Caps for the Best Cardboard Play Stove Ever.

Is there anything better than cardboard box for creative play? A box is the best toy ever so we made a cardboard kitchen stove for kids pretend play. Here's a 'how to make' picture tutorial.

Cardboard Kitchen Stove Pretend How to Tutorial
Cardboard Pretend Stove with all the Recycled and Upcycled bells and whistles, ahem, knobs and handles.
How to make a pretend stove from cardboard and reused items

First, measure a width of wax paper and trace onto cardboard front of your box. Nevermind, if a flap is in the way, we'll fix it later. Now cut out the window (for your oven door) and reinforce the flaps with duct tape. Tape the wax paper on the inside. You can also use plexiglass and duct tape. Get a cardboard paper towel tube and attach to top of oven door. This will become your handle. 

The difficult part is attaching the interior shelf. Get a glue gun and attach strips of cardboard to each side to serve as the ledge the shelf sits on. Make them 2-3 pieces of wide, glue together, and attach face side to the right and left walls of oven. Cut shelf to fit. I used flaps from another box. Now it will slide in and sit atop your pieces of cardboard. I also added "legs" for extra play durability. (The cat likes to climb in and sleep on our shelf!)

Now tape up the bottom and back side flaps of the box. Leave the top box flap up to serve a the area for a clock and knobs. See the photo above, I also added a flap from another box to hold this flap upright, otherwise it likes to fall closed. You are tired and worn out from all of the cutting, taping, and thinking. Sleep on it and save the rest for day two.

See picture below. Now, trace the fast food cup holders on the top of your box. You may have room for four burners. Cut the hole about 1/2" smaller than the tracing. I used duct tape to attach the burners, but I encourage you to use hot glue and reinforce with tape... BUT NOT YET.

First, cover the sides and the door with some leftover wrapping paper. I used a glue stick on the box and secured the edges with tape. Then, cover your cardboard tube with foil. Cover your stove top with foil. Yes, the whole top. Poke a hole in the center of each opening and cut a small "x". You will have a slit opening with triangles. Fold the triangles in and tape on the underside to the "stove top". Now you can attach your fast food "burners". Tip: I cut the foil about 3" more than what I needed to cover the top of the stove and neatly folded it down forming a chrome edge. 

Go take a break; it will look better after you've had some time away from it.

When you return, attach your knobs (soda and milk lids glued together) and your clock front (Numbers printed off from a Word Document). Let these dry for at least 15 minutes. Remind the kids not to really turn the knobs these are the push to start variety :) We lost one on the first play!

Now, call the kids! It's time for a session of creative play. We save the little french fry containers, small cereal boxes, and juice containers to pretend.

And... the Mommy you are awesome hugs and rewards are worth the frustration :)  

upcycle cardboard boxes to pretend play kitchen stove
Make a cardboard kitchen stove.

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Jake's Journey Homeschool Science Project: How to Build a Cave Model Diorama from a Cardboard Shoebox

How to Build a Cave Model Diorama from a Cardboard Shoebox and Construction Paper

Here's a Homeschool Science Project on Stalactites and Stalagmites. Make your own cave for a science fair diorama project. Make sure everything is labeled clearly. This was made for a third grade science project for a gifted class, but it is suitable for grades 3-8. Enjoy!

How to Make a Homeschool Science Diorama Model for a Cave Project
Learning about spelunking and cave exploration by building a cave diorama project.
Great model, eh? How is this not art? Jake had a fabulous time designing and crafting this model of a cave for his Homeschool Science portfolio. He enjoyed researching each term, but refused to write them out in a report form. He labeled each item and taped down a descriptive tag, but did not do a report. He despises the art form of handwriting (we are working on this too).

The cave words were particularly intriguing with speleothems (cave formations) and speleologists (scientist who explore caves) ranking at the top of his interest list. All of the spelunking terms are fun to say!

To make a shoebox model diorama like this one you will need:

  • shoe box or cereal box with the face cut off
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • tape and glue
  • action figures
First, cover the inside of your cardboard box with an appropriate color of paper. Then, cut out cave formations (stalactites and stalagmites) leaving a little extra on the base. Fold this extra down like a flap, and glue or tape it to the top or bottom of your diorama. This makes it stay erect and sturdy.

Research the definition of various cave terms. Type these into a word program leaving several spaces between definitions, so they can be cut out for labels. Attach with tape or glue. This information should also be written into a companion report for your project to work toward an 'A' grade.

In Jake's model you can see the Cave Bacon which is a stalactite hanging from the "ceiling" of the cave. It looks like bacon with the side stripes of color. Cave Eggs cover the floor or ground as Stalagmites. These are round formations with circular rings of pattern. Cave Cauliflower and Soda Straws are pictured above, but you need something to research on your own, so get busy!

How can you remember which is which? Easy! Use this simple memory trick.

stalaCtite - look for the "C" for ceiling of the cave.

stalaGmite - look for the "G" for ground of the cave.

Recommended Reading:

Complete Caving Manual: Spelunking*

Don't Behave Like You Live in a Cave *

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