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The Craft Box

My children once spent an entire morning making “dog houses”—decorating shoe boxes for their stuffed animals to live in—and the entire afternoon playing with them. All children have the capacity for creativity, and one of the best ways to nurture that creativity is free play, freestyle crafts, and free time. If you aren’t very crafty, never fear. All you need is a craft box!

Grab a copy paper box. Write “Craft Box” on it in big letters. Start filling it with odds and ends. You might invest in a glue gun. They’re cheap and make for fast adhesion. Some of our favorite supplies included

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Buttons
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Odds and ends I found in clearance bins at craft stores
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Oatmeal cartons
  • Feathers
  • Egg cartons
  • Small jewelry boxes
  • Paper bags
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Empty spice jars
  • Felt squares
  • Old playing cards
  • Jingle bells
  • Decorations removed from floral arrangements, wreaths, etc.

What might they make besides puppy houses? Cars, robots, castles, houses, games, props for dress-up, masks…you name it. Gluing popsicle sticks inside a shoebox lid makes for a great marble maze! We once decorated pumpkins with felt, feathers, paint and old hardware—safer for 4-year-olds than carving and very attractive!!

Create alongside your child. What fits together? What adds texture? What does an object remind you of? What might a stuffed toy or play horses or a model pirate ship need? Help your children learn to imagine and create!

By Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant, 
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is