ThreeJars Daily: Cures For Your Kids’ Winter Blues

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Cures For Your Kids’ Winter Blues

Photo: TKTK




By Susannah Felts

Your kids are already bored with their holiday loot, and they've got major cabin fever? Instead of a pricey trip to the movies or Chuck E. Cheese's, make these cool toys together at home—you'll save money and have a blast together!

Shoebox Guitar
(Adapted from Heather Swain’s Make These Toys: 101 Clever Creations from Everyday Items.)
What you need:
Kid-sized shoebox or a tissue box
Gift-wrap, craft paper, or decorative paper of your choice
Cardboard tube from a dry-cleaner coat hanger
Paper-towel tube
6 rubber bands
6 brads (optional)
Bread-bag tag (for picking the guitar strings)

What to do:
  1. Cover the box, its lid, and the paper-towel tube with decorative paper. (Or you could paint these items.)
  2. Cut an oval in the center of the box lid.
  3. Position the paper-towel tube in the center of the short end of the box. Trace a circle around it on the box. Draw two lines bisecting the circle (as if cutting a pie into four pieces), and cut the box along these lines. Slide the paper-towel tube through the opening this creates. Attach brads to the top of the tube for guitar “tuning pegs.”
  4. Stretch rubber bands lengthwise around the box. These are your guitar “strings.”
  5. Cut the cardboard hanger tube in two pieces. Slide these under the rubber bands, one above and one below the oval. (Color or cover these with decorative paper if you wish.) Glue them in place. You can also substitute pencils for the tube pieces. Now you can strum away. Make another guitar and start a band!

Paper Plate Maraca
What you need:
2 small paper plates
Uncooked beans or popcorn kernels
Crayons and/or markers

What to do:
  1. Have your child decorate one side of the paper plates with the crayons and/or markers.
  2. Place about 1/4 cup of beans on one plate, then put the other plate on top of it upside-down. Staple the two plates together around the edges, making sure not to leave any gaps where beans could escape.
  3. Turn on some music and shake, shake, shake!

Mini-Marshmallow Popper
(Adapted from Heather Swain’s Make These Toys: 101 Clever Creations from Everyday Items.)
What you need:
Paper cup
Rubber band or hair elastic

What to do:
  1. Cut the bottom off the cup.
  2. Tie a knot in the un-inflated balloon and snip off its top (about half an inch).
  3. Stretch the knotted balloon end over the bottom of the cup so that the knot is centered, and secure with the rubber band or hair elastic.
  4. Place a marshmallow in the cup, centered above the balloon knot. Pull gently back on the knot, release, and watch the marshmallow fly!

Susannah Felts also writes for Health, Spry,, and other magazines and web sites.


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