Reuse and Play with Playgroup WA: Holiday Season Edition

The holiday season brings lots of potential craft and play materials into our homes – cardboard boxes from deliveries, wrapping paper and ribbons from presents and plastic bottles from end-of-year gatherings.

If your playgroup is taking a break over the summer, below are three ways you can craft and play at home using these materials. Not having to buy new things for these activities…

  • saves money
  • reduces your environmental impact
  • gives items destined for landfill one more use
  • creates an opportunity to chat to your little ones about reducing, reusing and recycling.

We hope you enjoy these!


DIY Discovery Box

Easy ♦◊◊

Great for: Babies (You can also collect several empty tissue boxes and get older children involved in making these.)


What you need:

  • An empty tissue box
  • Various materials with different textures, such as squares of bubble wrap or crumpled tissue paper (nothing that is small enough to be a choking hazard for your child)
  • Your child’s materials and toys that will fit in the box, such as face washers, rattles or blocks


What you do:

1) Place various materials in the empty tissue box and let the discovery begin.

2) Repeat! This is hours of fun for very little ones. You can also change up the materials each time.

See it in action here!


DIY Bowling Set

Easy ♦◊◊

Great for: 0-5 year olds (From simply observing, to exploring the bowling pins, to creating the whole set – all ages can be involved in some way.)


What you need:

  • Several empty plastic bottles (washed and dried)
  • Pieces of wrapping paper and ribbons
  • Duct tape (optional – if you’re worried about your child opening the bottles, you can secure the lids on with duct tape)
  • A ball


What you do:

1) Fill the bottles with wrapping paper and ribbons.

2) Secure the lids.

3) Line up your new bowling pins and bowl away!

See it in action here!


DIY String Puppet Theatre

Medium ♦♦◊

Great for: 4-5+ year olds (Did you know puppets can provide visual stimulation for your baby and help develop their eye movements? A great reason for older children to put on a show for their baby siblings too.)


What you need:

  • A medium-sized cardboard box
  • Box cutter or scissors
  • Wrapping paper
  • Sticky tape
  • Paint, markers, pencils, crayons or paper and glue (whatever you have on hand)
  • Christmas cards
  • Holepunch
  • Ribbons


What you do:

1) Grown-up task: Using the box cutter, cut out a window in one side of the box, leaving a border around the edge. Alternatively, using the scissors, cut out one whole side of the box and create a nice border with wrapping paper.

2) Decorate the box/theatre how you wish, using paint, markers, pencils, crayons or paper and glue.

3) Gather your Christmas cards. Cut out the characters on the cards, or simply use the blank side of the cards to create your own characters.

4) Holepunch a hole at the top of the cardboard characters.

5) Tie a ribbon through each hole, ensuring the length is suitable for your box/theatre.

6) You’re ready to create a story and put on a show!

See it in action here!