5 Ways to Keep the Kids Amused at Easter Using Your Spare Packaging
Ever since I became a mother with small children to keep entertained over wet weekends and school holidays, I’ve rediscovered artistic talents I’d forgotten I possessed!
With Easter nearly upon us – and my sister’s children to look after as well as my own this year, while she and her husband are off celebrating their 10th anniversary with a romantic long weekend in the South of France – I’m going to have to be doubly creative to deal with double the usual number of bored children and toddlers.
Given the nature of my job – plus the fact that I hate throwing it away, because I know that if I do I’ll find a use for it five minutes later! – I always have lots of spare packaging materials lying around the house.
And, of course, children love packaging, as any parent who’s watched their little ones cast aside their expensive Christmas gifts in order to play with the cardboard boxes they came in will tell you! (And in case you think that’s just one of those things people say, research backs it up, as we have reported previously.)
So, with the two-week Easter break looming, here are five tried-and-trusted seasonal ideas for keeping them busy using all that spare packaging! Just click on the headings for links through to full instructions for these crafty ideas.
1 Make Easter bunnies using cardboard postal tubes
As a symbol of fertility, the link between the rabbit and springtime is understandable, but how we got from there to rabbits bringing us Easter eggs is a little less clear. It seems the tradition started in Germany and made its way with immigrants to the United States in the 18th century before spreading around the rest of the world in more recent times.
Regardless, rabbits and Easter now appear to be inextricably linked, and who’s going to complain when it gives us a) an excuse for eating more chocolate and b) the chance to make these cute bunnies using only a cardboard tube (those you get with rolls of kitchen paper will do just as well as our postal tubes – but the bigger the tube, the bigger the bunny!).
2 Bubble wrap egg printing
Originally, the Easter bunny distributed hens’ eggs rather than chocolate ones. The Christian church adopted the custom of eggs at Easter, regarding them as a symbol of the resurrection, while in many Eastern and Orthodox churches eggs are dyed red to signify the blood of Jesus. From these traditions has sprung the art of egg decoration and this is still one of the most popular activities to keep children entertained at Easter, while also giving their artistic sensibilities full rein.
Regular followers of our blog will know that bubble wrap has a multitude of uses, including numerous art and craft projects. Covering it in paint and using it to decorate eggs makes for some really interesting patterns and once you’re done, you should still have all those bubbles left to pop for even more fun!
3 Easter baskets from brown paper carrier bags
So you’ve got your Easter bunny, and you’ve got some beautifully decorated eggs for him to distribute – but what’s he going to keep them in as he does so? An Easter basket is the traditional solution, and you can make a beautiful one with, of all things, brown paper carrier bags!
This one takes a little longer than our other ideas, and it may be a bit fiddly for the smallest fingers, but they’ll love the result and you’ll be surprised how strong this basket is!
4 Easter Bonnets using white news offcuts and tissue paper
The tradition of the Easter bonnet is, apparently, all that is left of the practice of wearing new clothes at Easter as part of the whole theme of renewal and rebirth in springtime. Of course, these days, with new fashion lines released not just for each season, but seemingly for each week as well, it seems distinctly archaic.
Nonetheless, it can be a lot of fun, and never more so than when you see toddlers parading in their colourful, homemade creations!
The instructions here suggest using newspaper, but I’m lucky, because I can easily get my hands on our white news offcuts – essentially the same thing, but without all that messy print to smudge fingers with! If you don’t get them from us – and I heartily recommend you do, because they’re great for wrapping and protecting breakables like crockery and pottery – you can also get them wrapped around a portion of chips from your local chippy, although it may be a little greasy to turn into a hat and put on your child’s head!
Coloured tissue paper is then used to make flowers for decorating the brim and giving the hat that extra bit of pizzazz. I can’t wait to do this one with the kids in a few weeks and see them all lined up in their colourful bonnets!
5 Easter flower or chocolate boxes
One thing we’re never short of around our house is old cardboard boxes and this is a great idea that can be adapted to all manner of occasions and holidays. I love the suggestion on this link of using it as a flower box, which in itself makes it entirely suitable as an Easter project, as you should have lots of fresh and colourful spring flowers coming through in the garden.
However, the way the windows have been cut out reminded me of how most Easter egg boxes look, so last year I made one of these for each of the children, decorated it, filled it with straw and hid a few small chocolate eggs inside. And, of course, the bigger the box you’re using, the more space you’ll have for more or bigger eggs!
If you’ve got any extra large cardboard boxes available, you could even cut out a number of windows and have a lucky dip, where the children take turns to pick a window, stick their hands through and have a rummage to see what they can find.
If you have any ideas for art and craft projects using old bits of packaging, do let us know by leaving a comment below. We’ll have a go at the best ones and post the results on our Facebook page. Or tweet us your own pictures to @DavpackUK.