When inspiration fails….get crafting!
Figuring out what to do with your kids when you’re at home for a day can be tricky. Sometimes inspiration for imaginative play just doesn’t ‘strike’. So if the weather, commitments or costs prevent you getting out and about then it’s all too easy for the day to run away with you.
I like to think of the line from one of our favourite films, Boss Baby: “Either you run the day, or the day will run you!” (I know – move over Shakespeare!)
But he (the Boss Baby) has a point!
So whenever we can, we attempt a simple craft project during a day at home. And here’s our latest offering.
Make a Personalised Post Box: Simple Craft that offers great Imaginative Play opportunities
The process for making this post-box was really simple – we did it in around 40 minutes. We’ve set the steps out for your below:
- Get hold of a strong rectangular box that opens on the small end – we visited a local garden centre where they have loads of boxes for customers to use by the cash registers, and picked up a couple for free.
- Get a standard sized envelope and draw the outline of a posting hole at the top of the box. Make sure it is slightly wider than the envelope, and about an inch high. You want to position the top of the posting hole roughly 1.5 inches from the top of the box.
- Using a sharp knife, very carefully cut out the posting hole (adults only).
- Then mark a pencil line all the way round the bottom of the box, roughly 2-3 inches from the bottom.
- Using a big paintbrush, pain the main/top area of the box red on all sides. Paint the bottom area black. Leave it to dry completely.
- We’ve created an additional effect here with a serrated edge to the roof, to make it look more like a real post box. We used an amazon cardboard postage envelope – these have a got a strip you peel away to open the envelope, leaving you with a ‘serrated’ or indented edge to the cardboard. Simply cut out an area of card slightly larger than the top of your post box, and ensure one edge of the piece you cut is serrated. Paint this red too, allow it to dry, and stick it onto the top of the post box.
- We then printed out our own collection timetable and ‘day of the week’ label, using the computer. You can put anything you like here – as you can see, we have collections at 30 o’clock and 60 o’clock, for those of you who are running late with your post! To get the edges of the labels straight, we folded them under rather than cutting them (I have never in my life managed to cut a really straight line!). Once the paint is completely dry, stick these on.
- We sourced an image of a keyhole from the internet, and cut this out too – place it wherever you like on the box. You can see ours in the image below.
- Finally we drew an ERII symbol on the box – an optional extra!
- To make letters with ‘real stamps’ we cut out the franked postage label from some business envelopes and stuck them onto our own letters – very official looking!
- Of course once you’ve posted your letters you’ll want to be able to collect and deliver them. Leave the bottom/underneath of the post box open to enable you to do this.
Opportunities for Imaginative Play
Once you’ve made your post box, it’s a great portable toy to take along to playgroups or friends’ houses. You can encourage others to post letters and your little person to deliver them. It’s also great fun to set your toddler up on a little trike or similar, and have them play delivery man. They’ll have endless fun going round and round delivering and collecting letters. And it can be a great way to get them learning their sounds and letters.
We used our post-box on the snow day from school this week. The squabbling was starting; the TV was calling to us! So in a bid to resist it we decided to get the post box out. We challenged each other to write a letter to every other member of the family. The letters had to hlighlight at least one nice quality about the recipient… Heck, when the kids are that good at pointing out each other’s annoying habits I figured we might as well try turning it on its head! The kids got really into it, and we each wrote and posted our letters. Then my youngest got to take them out of the post box and deliver them. Call it trite if you will, but we’ve been left with some lovely little letters, and it sure beat squabbling!
So go on, give it a try. And do post your comments and pictures below – we’d love to hear from you!