Build with Ice Blocks! Mix paint or food coloring with water and pour it into cardboard milk cartons, then put them in the freezer overnight to make colorful ice blocks. You can also make smaller blocks by freezing colored water in plastic food containers or ice cube trays. When they're ready show your child how to build by sticking blocks together with water. They won't last long in the summer heat but it's a fun way to construct and stay cool!
Here is a fun, environmentally friendly way to build your own puzzles! Start by cutting the cereal box apart, but make sure to keep the front of the box intact. Next have your child draw a picture on the brown side of the cereal box. Then cut the box into puzzle pieces and have your child put the puzzle together. See if they can remember what they drew on the box and put it together on their own! You can also flip the box over and solve the puzzle with the cereal box title.
Make an Egg-Carton School Bus! Cut the lid off of an old egg carton and paint it yellow, this will be the school bus. While it dries, talk about the things you might find on the bus. Make a list and help draw and cut out the people and items from the list. Encourage your child to think of what objects they would like to use for each item and glue them to different spots around the inside of the bus. Once the bus is decorated, encourage your child to play with it. If there is a bus ride in their future, this can be a great tool to prepare for the new experience ahead!
What child doesn't want to launch a toy across the room? You will need 7 Popsicle sticks, three rubber bands, a milk or juice cap and a cotton ball or small toy to launch. Start by stacking five craft sticks together and hold them together with a rubber band at the end. Then stack 2 craft sticks and wrap a rubber band around them. Spread the two craft sticks apart and place the set of five Popsicle sticks in-between the two craft sticks. Wrap a rubber band around all of the craft sticks to hold the catapult together. Glue or tape the milk or juice cap to the top Popsicle stick. Once you have created the catapult, try launching things across the room and measuring how far they go.
Make Sand! Mix 4 cups of sand and 2 cups of cornstarch in an old pot (it may scratch!) Pour 2 cups of water into the mixture and heat on the stove over low heat. Keep stirring until the sand is close to the consistency of very thick mud, then cool it in another bowl. When it has completely cooled place the sand on a piece of newspaper outside. Have your child kneed the mixture until it feels like Play-Doh, when it's ready, they can build a sandcastle on a piece of cardboard. If the sand starts to dry out, have them wet their hands and continue. Before the sand dries, they can add shells or other beachy touches.
Bring some springtime flowers into the month of January! You will need paper plates, crayons or paint, a popsicle stick, scissors and glue or tape. Cut small slits into the edges of the plate to make petals. Next you can paint or color your flower and then glue or tape the popsicle stick or something else to the back of the plate to make a stem. You can cut two leaves for the stem of the flower from paper if you want. This will help to brighten up those cold January days!