Top five things to make with kids

Making fun from bits and pieces ...
Making fun from bits and pieces ... Photo: Getty Images

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Are you tired of spending a fortune on toys for your kids only to have them lose interest in a week? Or sick of hearing ‘I’m bored’ being whined at you on a daily basis? We have searched the best of the blogs and put together a list of fun, simple and cheap playtime solutions to get your kids creating games from materials easily found around the home or second-hand.

Create a milk carton city

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Photo: afnord.blogspot.se

Hold on to your empty milk cartons because there are always lots of fun things to be made with this nifty recyclable item. One blogger created this fabulously colourful city from hers. Here is how kids can make their own.

What you need:

  • Empty milk or juice cartons
  • Contact paper
  • Double-sided tape
  • Stapler
  • White drawing paper
  • Pen
  • Scissors

What next?

Rinse out your cartons and allow to dry. Open up the top of the carton to make it easier to cover in contact. Cut your contact to size and cover all outside areas. Fold the tops back together and staple where the two tops join together to form a 'roof'.

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Use a black marker to draw windows, doors and roof tiling onto the white paper. Cut out, arrange and tape to your coloured cartons.

Set up alongside each other on a craft table or play area. Your kids can now use their own toy cars, dolls or whatever else they have to create their city.

Make an awesome rocket-power jet pack

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Photo: doodlecraft.blogspot.com.au

What kid wouldn't love to fly away Astro Boy style in his very own rocket jet pack? This blogger was inspired by something she saw on Pinterest to create her own version. Here's how to make yours.

What you need:

  • 2 x 2L soft drink bottles
  • Cardboard
  • 2 pieces of elastic for arm bands
  • Silver spray paint
  • Red and orange scrap pieces of material for flames
  • Hot glue gun
  • String

What next?

Clean and dry your bottles. Remove the lids and labels. Set up an area outside to spray paint your bottles silver.

While they dry take your cardboard and cut to size depending on your child's back and shoulder width. Cut two slots into the cardboard top and bottom for the elastic to thread through then hot glue each end to the outside of the cardboard.

Cut up your red and orange material into flame shaped pieces in multiple sizes and then tie them into two bundles at the tip using a piece of string. Then hot glue them into the openings of your sprayed bottles. Cut a skinny rectangle piece of red material to resemble an ignition switch and glue to one of the arm straps.

Finally hot glue the bottles alongside each other to the back of the cardboard. Allow to dry and then give your child a test drive.

Make a playdough mermaid kingdom

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Photo: filthwizardry.com

Do you have little girls that love to imagine they're mermaids? Create an underwater mermaid kingdom for their mermaid dolls inspired by this amazing blogger.

What you need:

  • Coloured homemade playdough in blue, green, brown and yellow
  • Painted rocks and pebbles from the backyard
  • 2-3 juice bottles to make mermaid homes
  • Seashells collected from the beach or a bag from the hot dollar store
  • Any other pretty bits of craft supplies you have around the home
  • Mermaid dolls
  • Glitter
  • Coloured markers

What next?

Clear off a table to set up your kingdom. Take your juice bottles or plastic milk cartons and cut out an arch way big enough for the dolls to sit in. Unscrew the lid to allow for a bubble chimney. Get the kids to decorate with coloured markers by drawing windows, seaweed, shells and whatever else they feel like drawing. They could even add some glue and sprinkle with glitter.

Get the kids to set up the dough over the table. Let their imagination run wild with sandbed areas, deeper blue ocean areas, pools, rocks, etc. Then they can take the shells, painted rocks or pebbles and scatter around as desired. Set up the mermaids homes on the playdough bed. Sprinkle glitter over the playdough ocean.

Let them play until their heart's content.

Belt out some bongo shakers

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Photo: minieco.co.uk

Quick, simple and fun - these bongo shakers will have your music-lovin' child bopping away for hours. Inspired by this crafty UK blogger, we tell you how to make your own.

What you need:

  • Balloons
  • 3 x clean/empty tins
  • Rice
  • Sticks/chopsticks
  • Elastic bands

What next?

Ensure the edges of your cans are not sharp. Fill just under half way with rice.

Take your balloons, cut off the bottoms, then stretch over your tins. Secure with elastic bands. Handover with the chopsticks to your child and they are ready to make music.

Make a kiddies kitchen

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Photo: sewingdork.blogspot.ca

This activity inspired by sewingdork.blogspot.ca requires a little more effort and materials but it is well worth it and still cheap to make. If you don’t have some old pieces of furniture that are suitable you can head to the second-hand store or keep your eye out for steals on the side of the road.

What you need:

  • Couple of bedside tables or equivalent
  • Silver coasters for the stove burners
  • Square piece of wood for the sink
  • Wooden ‘J’ or ‘L’ letter for the sink faucet
  • Some old drawer knobs for the taps
  • A piece of material and string to make a curtain (depending on the furniture you use)
  • Silver paint for sink, taps and faucet
  • Paint in desired colour for kitchen
  • Superglue

What next?

Simply paint your furniture, sink, taps and faucet. Allow to dry. Superglue your sink, taps and faucet to the area you’re using as the basin. You can either do the same with your coasters for the stove burners or leave them loose. Set up your pieces together in the play area once dry.

Create a curtain out of scrap material by folding over about 2.5 cm of the material and stitch to the other side along the bottom. Thread through a piece of string. Staple onto the inside of your furniture cavity.

Add any accessories, tea sets, and final touches you might have around the house and it is ready to play with.

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