Encourage creativity with this no-prep activity perfect for long summer days!
Growing up, my mom was the queen of what she called “trash toys.” The idea is simple — find something that would normally go in the trash and give it a second life by turning it into something to play with. Modern day crunchy moms would have really liked her philosophy.
I’m not the best at this, but every once in a while, I feel the call of the trash toys of my childhood. Plastic bag kites originated here, along with an ever-increasing arsenal of toilet paper tube crafts.
Which brings us to cardboard coloring. We just moved and are living with an abundance of moving boxes. Flattening a couple and taping them to the fence, then letting the kids loose with markers and crayons was an easy way to keep them out of the way. And it was a hit.
The kids kept talking about how they got to draw on the wall — there seems to be a novelty to the fact that they could color vertically. They also loved having such a huge space to draw on. My daughter proudly proclaimed that now she could use all her colors.
How do I set up cardboard coloring?
Set up is easy! I simply flattened a cardboard box, then used masking tape to tape it to the fence.
This activity would also work with giant sheets of paper, or several sheets of paper taped together, then taped to the fence with sticky tack or masking tape. You could even do this inside by taping the cardboard or paper to the wall!
Variations to keep it fresh
My children colored on their own for the first 20 minutes or so, but then they got tired. Here are a few tricks I used to get them back into the activity:
- Scribble some lines on their board (ask first!). Then, have them use those lines to create a pattern or picture.
- Split their cardboard up into “frames.” Have them illustrate a story in those frames.
- Have them write and decorate their name.
- Call out a color and have them draw something with that color.