Shoeboxes are extremely useful items when it comes to keeping kids occupied with crafting activities. A very simple craft idea is to make drums by simply turning the boxes upside down and hitting them with a wooden spoon. Different sized boxes will make a differently pitched noise. Alternatively, and for a quieter activity that'll keep kids occupied for longer, save up a few shoeboxes and get the glue and paints out.
Gather together as many shoeboxes as possible of different shapes and sizes. Tape the lids onto the boxes so they don't come open, then decorate the boxes with acrylic paints to make houses, skyscrapers, cottages and shops. Add details to the building with squares or rectangles cut from construction paper, and glue these on for windows and doors. Decorate cottage roofs with grasses or raffia to make thatches, or glue on small, flat pebbles as slates or tiles. Arrange the shoebox houses into streets, and make a different village layout for each game.
Turn a shoebox on its side and you have a ready-made stage in which to create any kind of scene. Cut out pictures from books or magazines of countryside or city landscapes to stick in the inside of the shoebox as the background, then fill the inside with figures, models or odds and end that fit in with the background. To make a larger stage on which to glue items, glue the shoebox on its side inside the lid.
Keep all the kids' bits and bobs together by getting them to make their own storage boxes out of shoeboxes. Spend an afternoon painting and decorating shoeboxes with acrylic paints, stickers, glitters or pictures cut from magazines, comics or books. Let kids personalise their treasure chests with their names cut from the letters in magazines, or with favourite photos that you print on your home computer if you have one. Use the finished chests to store crayons or small model figures. Make several chests as memory boxes and use one each year to keep holiday memorabilia safe.
Add a square tissue box to a shoebox to make a truck or large car. Choose a colour for the vehicle then cover the two boxes with construction paper. Use the sides of the boxes as templates so you know how large to cut the squares. When both boxes are covered, glue the smaller tissue box to the front of the shoebox as the truck's cab. Cut four circles from black construction paper and stick these to the body of the truck as wheels. Cut blue construction paper squares and stick these to the smaller box a windows.
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