Nicole Haney, MS, OTR/L, CIMC | February 22, 2024 | General

Upcycled Adventures: Developing Skills and Smiles from Everyday Items

Are you running out of indoor activities to occupy your kids during the winter? Eating more family meals at home together is a blessing; however, it can create more mess and more mounds of garbage. Why not use those empty containers and boxes to have some fun with your kids?

Empty package box

  • Break a large box down to build a race car or space ship.

  • Turn the box into a garage for toy cars.

  • Cut holes in the box for a putting hole.

  • Connect different sizes boxes to make into tunnels or forts.

Use these ideas to work on pretend play, turn-taking, following directions, and eye-hand coordination!

Parmesan cheese containers

  • Use a large hole in the container to drop cotton balls, pom poms, coins, or marbles. Add kitchen or child-size tongs for an extra challenge.

  • Use small holes in the container to drop toothpicks, golf tees, q-tips, or cut-up pieces of straws.

    Use these activities to target counting, color sorting, pincher grasp, and bilateral coordination!

    Kleenex box

  • Make a monster- decorate and have your child feed him.

  • Make a tissue box guitar- using rubber bands and a paper towel roll.

  • Turn into a crayon or marker container for your child’s coloring corner.

  • Practice shoe tying- attached and thread a shoelace to the top of the box.

    Use these ideas to promote imaginary and pretend play, organizational skills, and self-care skills.

Empty baby wipe container

  • Put various ribbons, yard, or fabrics inside and have your child practice pulling them out.

  • Repurpose various lids (water bottles, baby jars, baby pouches) and place them inside a slotted portion of the container.

  • Use two containers with yarn or ribbon to create walking stilts.

    Use these ideas to focus on fine motor skills, counting, color identification, and sorting. 

Toilet paper or paper towel rolls

  • Make binoculars using two rolls.

  • Secure tubes vertically on a window or piece of cardboard and drop cotton balls, pom poms, or letter magnets through them.

  • Connect rolls or cut them into half pieces to create a tunnel for toy cars.

  • Make a bird feeder- attach a string to the roll. Spread peanut butter onto roll and roll into birdseed. 

    Use these ideas to target fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and imaginary play!

    Looking for more fun ideas or wondering if your child’s skills are age-appropriate? Contact our office or search our website for more information about visiting us for physical, occupational, and speech therapy services.