Weâ€™re all looking for ways to make budgets stretch further these days, especially coming up to the holiday season, so here are a few ideas that will entertain kids for hours without breaking the bank. Itâ€™s Scrooge, but without the misery, and all you need isâ€¦PAPER!!!
Doesnâ€™t it just kill you when kids get bored with their new mega-game console after 5 seconds, then spend hours playing with the box? Hereâ€™s an even better idea: save your money and just show them some paper:
Ok, so ripping paper is cute, and it gets a few laughs, but itâ€™s not going to cut it with slightly older kids. Keep them amused with some origami instead!
Hereâ€™s an easy one to start them off: just four folds, and you have a cute little doggie. They can even paint it if theyâ€™re feeling really creative!
There are lots of resources on the web, including many other free templates, and lots of well-written books and kits available too.
Making an origami dog is an easy start. Here are two ways of making an origami elephant; the easy way… and the hard way! The easy way is fun for younger children, especially if you’ve got some googly eyes to stick on!
If youâ€™re still stuck for inspiration, check out some of the work below: no pressure! (click on any image to find out more about the artist)
What about those boxes?
Itâ€™s one of those great childhood ironies that kids spend more time playing with the boxes than the gifts themselves. I used to think that this was an urban mythâ€¦ until I had my own kids! A cardboard box can become anything in a childâ€™s imagination.
A few days ago, my kids were feeling a little bit bored, so I asked them if they wanted to make a rocket. Their eyes lit up immediately, and I started by sticking together a few old boxes from my office (actually, tidying up my office was the real goal here, but hey, if the kids see me as a hero too, itâ€™s all good!) As you can see from the picture, my own efforts required about 10% cardboard, and 90% imagination.
Still, after cutting out a hole for a window (great idea!) and two holes for their arms (not so good), the â€˜Rocket Projectâ€™ took on a life of itâ€™s own. One week later, and theyâ€™re still painting it, adding stickers and swiping foil from the kitchen, to make it look more like a real space ship! One especially nice touch was when they discovered some bright orange tissue paper left over from Halloween, and stuck it to the base of the rocket. â€œThatâ€™s the fire, daddyâ€ was the explanation, and a pretty good one too!
So, donâ€™t despair if your kids ignore your carefully chosen gifts: just go with the flow and join in the cardboard box fun! It may not be pretty, but soon theyâ€™ll have the boat, the car and the house that theyâ€™ve always dreamed ofâ€¦ and a healthy dose of achievement too!