Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Make a "Make Something Box"

(... it must be Monday somewhere in the world...)
Hi there. Hej! Hola. Ciao. Bonjour! ... Yes: Caught .... here in Sweden, it is Tuesday --- tisdag. Rather than posting what I had planned yesterday, something happened this weekend to make me wonder if you've ever heard of a "Make Something Box?" Do you have one? Have you heard of this concept before? To continue for more about a "Make Something Box" click on "read more" to continue below:
My sister, who's a specialist in early childhood learning and learning disabilities, has always shared wise little educational tidbits with me. She's a super organized, studied, educational, methodical type of creative which is a wonderful ying to the yang of my expressive, unplanned let's catch-a-cloud-and-sail-it nature.  One day she asked me if I ever created a "Make Something Box" for the kids to "make something." She explained the concept and since then, we've been doing this, too, for years. I used this concept more when the kids were toddlers, but this past weekend I got out our "Make Something Box," filled it with odd supplies (see below) and gave the kids a theme: Viking Boat; left the room and let them build. It's a great way to re-cycle objects around the house, too. Oh, how quiet they worked! Rather than sharing the Viking Boat project I've created for you (and them); instead, I wanted to share this creative concept --- a "Make Something Box" -- where you do the creating! (However, that Viking boat project will set sail onto willowday one day! It's ready to be skippered.) 

A Make Something Box:

Concept: The concept is simple: make something using everything in the box.

1.  Fill Box
Fill a box with odds and end objects
As a rule, I like to keep the number of items to be between 10 - 30 objects including some item that you know will work to bind: tape, glue, string, wire, aluminum foil, art hanging gum, etc --- see below for more details.

2.  Make
Instruct the kids to"make something" --- anything -- with all of the pieces in the box. I'd love to see what you do with your Make Something Boxes, too! Why not show me what you do with this yourselves? I'd love it is you share it with my on instagram (@willowdaygram) or Facebook. 
(For this example, I mentioned to the kids that I'd like Viking boats, but I don't usually give direction. I like to use it freely and expressively but, if you give a theme, as I did here, it will work.)

Items I've included in Various Make Something Boxes:
Old unused toys from Polly Pocket clothing to marbles;  damaged legos, pieces of art supplies, old cards, pompoms, paper, colored paper, cellophane, re-cycled bottles and bottle caps, cups, straws, bobby pins, hair bands and pins, bottle pull tabs, containers. blocks, magnets, beads, collectible cards, beads, school board letters, paper towel rolls, twisty tops, acorns, leaves, twigs, flowers, pods, tree bark, rocks

Binding materials: tape, glue, string, wire, aluminum foil, art hanging gum, twisters, package clamps, etc.
1. Make Something Box: Making the box can be a project in its self - We recycled a cardboard box and used washi tape to write MAKE on it's top. I like one that's large enough for bigger objects, too. Decorate with anything: washi tape, pens, crayons, paint, collage it, etc! Make a "Make Something Box" to return to time and time again.

2. Supplies: Tin Foil, Wood Skewers, Duct Tape (any water proof tape will do) Napkins, Clothes Pins, Scissors, Plastic Cups and Scissors
Maybe you've already seen a weekend glimpse of this boat on willowday's instagram (willowdaygram!) click hereAbove are scenes from F and G's making something session. Their boats were really quite different from one another. The boats sailed but we discovered, when we arrived at the lake, that it needed to be weighted with pebbles for better balance. 
A"Make Something Box" is a great creative expression exercise with a goal: a finished product (What ever it may be!) incorporating all of the items.  Both planned process art vs expressive unplanned art are important. I usually try to bring you process art with steps and tutorials here at willowday, but, projects like this are also so fantastic for development. I genuinely believe kids need both. Being creative doesn't mean that you have to be the best drawer or painter --- we all have different degrees of artistic abilities--- but everyone benefits from developing their own personal creativity. Happy Making! Happy Creating!

Something you might like:
Monday Makings: Cup Cake Tin Art
Leaf Printables
Build a Tree House
Viking Visit; Birka


  1. This is a very kind box for children! Love your idea! Thanks!

    1. Thank you, too, for your kind comment! I hope it brings a little inspiration to your home!

  2. Replies
    1. I hope it gives you a little inspiration!

  3. Dear Gina
    A MAKE- Something-box! I have to fill one for my son!
    Thanks for sharing this idea.
    Best, Natalie

    1. Natalie, I'd love to see what you do! Warm September wishes/ Gina

  4. Wendy (Mueller) FalkSeptember 19, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    Gina, this looks fantastic! Beth never told me about this, but I'm glad you shared it! This would make an excellent addition to my family's "Fun Day Fridays" and for my counseling office as a team building activity when beginning group therapy. Thanks so much for sharing!

    By the way, the English teacher in me is absolutely loving your whimsical style of writing, and your voice comes through beautifully. Voice is an incredibly difficult thing to teach in writing, and you have it in spade. A beautiful blog all around! I will definitely be checking back in! :) Greetings to the family from Oshkosh, WI!

    1. Wendy, not only do you make my day but you make me blush. Sincere thanks for such a very thoughtful and meaningful note. I deeply appreciate this -- writing, in this way, is such an exposed and solitary experience. I'm just thrilled to hear that I've hit a note. (And from an English teacher to bout!)

      It's also a highlight to bridge the distance! I hope we'll meet on one of our trips back soon. Yes, Beth is very low key about so many smart, daily, ideas she slips into their daily life. I'm glad I listened! What a fantastic idea to use for team building in group therapy. I'd love to hear if you do this and how it goes. Warm, warm wishes from Sweden to you and your family/G

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you, Mina! It's one of those that it's so simple, it's sublime!


Thank you!