DIY'S for Imaginative Pretend Play

When I was a kid, I had a pretty vivid imagination. There was cast of fabricated characters that were my best playmates. My imaginary gang was always there and ready for a lively game of kick ball or a spontaneous trip to some fantastic exotic local. My imagination was big and bold, and holds a place in my memory bank as vivid as any of real events that I recall about my childhood. Imagination is a wonderful thing. One of my main objectives as Rowan's mom is to keep his alive, and breathing for as long as I can.

Here are some sweet, imaginative DIY's that will have your kids lost in the wonderful land of make believe in no time at all. Try some of them out, and let me know what you think.

Have fun with Pretend Play

1. Play Clay Sweet Shop | Handmade Charlotte
2. Little Red Riding Hood Finger Puppets | Easy Peasy and Fun
3. Cardboard Sea Creatures | Mr. Printables
4. Fox in Socks Puppet | Paging Supermom
5. Animal Masks | Mer Mag
6. Clothespin Animal Puppets | Delia Creates

Have a lovely weekend.

Clay Happy Face Pins

Rowan and I got into clay this weekend after a trip to the children's museum. The museum has a lovely outdoor area for playing with clay which my mess loving son gravitated to immediately. We sat for almost an hour deep in concentration, both of us on a mission to make something amazing. I made a robot, and Rowan made a cave for the robot to live in. We were both very proud of our creations. When we got home, Rowan wanted more, so we made this very easy recipe for air drying clay.

Inspired by this bead necklace post at Little Girl Designs, I got to playing around with the dough. I thought these little happy faces were cute, and a nice surprise for Rowan when he came home from school. You can convert them into pins making them a fun alternative to a gold star for good behavior.

• • • • • • • • • •

Clay Happy Face Pins

Brooch pins
Strong adhesive
Black pen
Seal spray

Pull of small sections of the dough, and form into little pancakes the size of a nickel or quarter. Lay out the circles onto parchment paper, and let dry overnight.

When fully dry, paint colored circles and let fully dry, about an hour.

Draw a happy face, and coat with a sealer. Set out to dry.

Glue a brooch pin on the back, or they are cute keepsakes for smaller children as is.

• • • 

Air Drying Clay

2 cups baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1.5 cups cold water

Add all of the ingredients to a pan and stir over medium heat. Mixture will be liquid, but will change consistency as you stir and it heats up. Continue stirring until dough has a dough consistency.

Remove from heat and spoon out onto a plate. Set it to cool all the way through. You can stick it in the refrigerator to speed things up.

When dough is cool lay out on a work surface that has been dusted with cornstarch. Cover hands in  cornstarch, and knead dough and it will turn into a pliable dough. Keep dusting with cornstarch to keep it from sticking.

Upcycled Cardboard Rocket Flyer

I kind of loved this project because it reminded me of the class projects I did when I was in preschool. I found the process of cutting, pasting and painting really relaxing and fun. Rowan was more of a cheerleader/militant dictator on this one, ordering me around to get it done as fast as possible. Once done, he loved it. He has been flying it around all week. He even ordered me to make more when he broke the first one I did. 


You will need:

Toilet tissue Roll
2 4” by 2” Cardboard Rectangles
4” inch circle of Kraft Paper
Long Stick
4 Strips of Red Tissue Paper

First cut a slit in the middle of the 4 inch circle and form in into a cone shape. Cut a small hole in the top of the cone.

Lace the string through the hole and tie a knot on the end. Then tape the cone to the tope of the toilet tissue roll.

Cut slits on both pieces of cardboard so that they fit together and form an X. Line up the toilet roll with the X and mark the spots where you will be cutting slits so that the rocket top fits on the rectangle squares.

Paint the all of the parts. Then tape tissue paper to the bottom of the rocket.

Tie string to the long stick and get ready to fly.

Have a Messy, Gooey, Slimy Weekend

Hands down, Rowan's favorite activities are the ones that make a greatest amount of mess. Anything that involves him getting covered in paint or mud or slime are tops on his list of fun things to do. Usually, whenever I have run out of ideas, I resort to a dirt patch in our backyard and the water hose, so that Rowan can get good a muddy. We have also been known to make fingerpaint, play dough and slime to pass the time as well.

Here is a little list some messy, gooey and slimy endeavors that I think you and your little ones will enjoy this weekend.

Laughing Kids Learn

Our Best Bites


Two Daloo

Learn Play Imagine

Little Monster

Modern Parents Messy Kids

Learn Play Imagine

These projects should no doubt satisfy your child's desire to get messy while igniting their curiosity and sense of wonder. You may be surprised, and enjoy the messiness too.

Have a lovely weekend.

Turn Beach Stones into Sparkly Fairy Gems
My son Rowan made these stones. He collected them from our walks on the beach. He painted them all on his own, and it was his idea to add clumps of glitter. When he was finished the project, he cried "Fairy Stones!", and that was that. I love these stones. They are all his work, and I am a proud parent. One day when he was at school, I arranged his stones in this little fairy garden for the windowsill in his room. 

The steps involved in making this DIY are quite easy on the parent. Parents, do nothing, well very little. Take them to the beach, or the park, or a lake, or the backyard, and collect. Pick up stones, or shells or branches, and bring them home. You can supply the paint, the glitter, the glue, and spread it out so everything is within good reach. Oh, and give them some paint brushes, they will need those too. But then, step back, ease off, make a good cup of tea, and let them play. 

Upcycled Cardboard Creations

Molly Moo

Handmade Charlotte


The Craft Train

All of a sudden, my son has a ton of toys. I didn't mean for it to happen, but after 4 years of birthdays, holidays, and just visits to Target, Rowan has accumulated a lot of stuff. Legos, cars, and art supplies are plentiful in this house, and it is time to slow things down. A big purge is in order, and I am looking forward to consolidating all of it. Lately, I have been holding back when I feel the familiar urge to buy him more things, saying no to the little impromptu surprises or rewards for eating his veggies.

What is making the transition smoother is making things. Taking things we have at home, and turning them into something else. The other afternoon, we made giant bubbles from dishwashing soap and twigs. The joy was not only in the oversized bubbles, but the real adventure was in finding all of the ingredients, taking the time to create the solution and building the wand. When after a few tries, we finally produced big, beautiful bubbles we were ecstatic! I don't think we would have found ourselves jumping  for joy over a ready made bubble kit from the store.

Here are some DIYs that will morph common household items into adorable playthings. They are so good don't you think? It is hard to tell that they were previously milk cartons, pizza boxes, egg cartons and toilet rolls. Plus, it will be the time you spend with your kids working on these projects that will become the treasured memory. Try it.

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