#crapcrafts: 5 things parents should never throw away…

As a stay at home parent, the day can feel a bit like the crystal maze – each hour a challenge to conquer, finding entertainment for the ankle biters which doesn’t leave you feeling like banging on the door screaming ‘LET ME OUT’.

The very suggestion of ‘craft’ might conjure up images of smug Mums of instagram, or possibly bring you out in a cold sweat imagining black ‘washable’ paint all over your scandi inspired dining table. But it doesn’t have to be like this. A pile of junk might just equal happy kids for a little while, which in my book means we just won another crystal.

Here is the MMT guide to invaluable household items, when it comes to a bit of #crapcraft.

  1. Washing gel pots. These handy little containers seem to multiply due to the endless stream of laundry through our home. Way too good to chuck in the bin, these are the perfect containers for a bit of PVA glue or (if you can face it) paint. No need to wash them up if you can’t be arsed later. Voila.image
  2. Birthday cards & gift wrap. I realised pretty quickly that keeping cards as keepsakes was going to leave us up to our necks in bundles of paper by the time the kids are 18. That said, it’s well worth keeping some back as the card texture makes great ‘cutting up’ practice material and the girls love cutting out the cutesy animals, flowers, letters, glittery bits and embellishments. The latter all get added to our jar of sequins – it’s amazing how much sticking material you can generate from one pile of cards! Posh wrapping paper is also FAR too useful to go in the bin…we are still using bits of a super sparkly sheet from about 4 years back….image
  3. Tubes. Kind of obvious, but the simple loo roll tube is the king of all crap craft activities isn’t it? Trumped by a kitchen roll tube, and if you’re really going to town, a wrapping paper tube will elevate you to master #crapcrafter in the eyes of your kids. Just imagine all the sorts of weapons imaginary play props that can be created with that starting point. Light sabers, swords, err, light sabers…image
  4. Cereal boxes. We have been known to get through a cereal box or two in our household thanks to it being one of the major food groups actually eaten by the mouse. They team up well with item #3 to create basically anything known to man child. Flatten them up and slip them down the side of a box of toys, I promise you that you will be glad one day that you kept it back.image
  5. Magazine sticker sheets. Kids magazines…the business idea of the century aren’t they? Lure kids in with a tat toy on the front, charge the sucker of a parent a fiver for the privilege of a ‘treat’ for the kiddos, unwrap toy, discard magazine. The end… Or is it? If, like me, the rest of the magazine ends up in pieces and binned a month later, just be sure to grab out the stickers first. One wet afternoon, you might just be grateful for a drawerful of naff stickers for the kids to create a collage with. Fun factor = 10, stress factor = 0.
  6. Wall lining paper. Ok, this may not be something you’d just happen to be throwing away…but revelation: this stuff is a god send when you have a child who loves drawing but is a bit behind in the ‘ONLY ON THE PAPER’ concept. We now almost permanently have a table length roll of paper out for the kids to go crazy with. It has no edges to miss, it makes a great chuck away table protector when you’re making rockets out of loo rolls & rice crispie boxes, decorating them with cut out bits of birthday cards stuck on with PVA glue too. And the odd Peppa pig sticker, of course.image


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20 thoughts on “#crapcrafts: 5 things parents should never throw away…

  1. Jemma@thimbleandtwig Reply

    I always use paper plates for glue because I cannot be bothered to wash it up but I haven’t thought about washing lids! Much better idea for a 2 year old obsessed with glue! Happy days!

  2. Donna Reply

    The Boy never wants to throw anything away. Anything! a lid off a yogurt of a wrapper off a chocolate and it’s “can i keep that for my….ROBOT” or dinosaur or spaceship. i tried smuggling things into the bin in the night, but he got really upset when he found i’d thrown away a “dinosaur scale”! #coolmumclub

  3. The Kitschy Mumma Reply

    I’m really OCD about my dining table and wood floor with glue and play-doh but you’ve actually just inspired me to try and let it go and enjoy doing crafts with my Daughter! Iwill be channelling my inner Mr Maker 🙂 #coolmumclub

  4. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) Reply

    This is a great list – we use all of these on a regular basis. Lining paper is absolutely brilliant – great for covering the entire table so they can draw/paint or for doing outdoor painting. #coolmumclub

  5. Mum in Brum Reply

    I am all about the crap crafts – some great ideas here! Love the idea of the laundry tablet tubs – I always end up throwing away perfectly good tupperware. We are loving sticker books at the minute – I’m finding stickers everywhere, but it beats paint any day! xx #coolmumclub

  6. Something About Baby Reply

    I love a bit of grown up crafting, but as yet haven’t managed any kiddy crafts – the fear of paint on the carpet of our rented house and crayons on the walls makes me leave all the creative stuff for Alfie to enjoy at nursery! Ironically I have a massive craft drawer at home so maybe with the winter drawing in, I shall set up some rainy day activites! I’ll start collecting some crap! You totally should start a pinterest board called #crapcraft which “real” parents can aspire to! #coolmumclub

  7. Jo (Mother of Teenagers) Reply

    I remember those days with fondness! Hours of going through the recycling bag and retrieving anything that could be used to keep the kids happy with a glue stick, pair of scissors and some paint. I used to keep wrapping paper and ribbon too and still to this day have a huge button box. You will find all these things come in handy later as you move into the territory of making costumes for school plays etc. So much to look forward to. #coolmumclub

  8. Sarah Reply

    Oh my gosh, the thought of crafts and my nice cream carpet actually makes me panic. Sadly I don’t think it will be long before Matilda will be into the stickers etc. GULP. Crafts are so far out of my comfort zone. #coolmumclub

  9. Rhyming with Wine Reply

    Finally! Another use for all those little laundry pot thingies! I have drawers full of them as I kind of sensed that I could be doing something with them, but aside from chucking a couple into the bath with all the other bits of plastic toot I was stuck. Disposable paint containers! Genius! #coolmumclub xx

  10. Helen Reply

    Yes to the bloody genius/con of this decade – the kiddy mag. I’m sure they used to be £2.99?
    You are a secret craft whizz, you’re going to be Mr Maker’s co-host before you know it! Great post x Helen #coolmumclub

  11. Lucy At Home Reply

    As a fellow #crapcrafter, this is great! My eldest loves craft and I never have any inspiration. I find bubble wrap to be great for craft too! #CoolMumClub

  12. alifeinpracticeblog.com Reply

    Awesome! I have a drawer full of tubes and egg cartons haha, also I always cut out the decorations from cute cards to use in projects later! x #coolmumclub

  13. Squirmy Popple Reply

    Isn’t it funny how the most worthless crap can keep kids entertained for ages? My mum used to roll out a big sheet of freezer paper and give me and my brother some markers – it kept us entertained for hours. Big cardboard boxes were also winners. #coolmumclub

  14. Claire @ Sandbmama2015 Reply

    #crapcraft is my new favourite hash tag. Some great ideas never again will I waste a toilet roll tube or washing gel pot. #coolmumclub

  15. Tracey Abrahams Reply

    Lining paper was a must when the boys were young. They were always doodling on bits of it. Paper plates for glue and paint was a must as well. #coolmumsclub

  16. Silly Mummy Reply

    Yes, I agree with all of these! I find the correct technique is to save said items, put them in a storage cupboard for when needed, never use them, get sick of them cluttering cupboard unused, throw out, the next day come up with a craft idea requiring all items you no longer have, postpone idea, start collecting items again, forget idea and don’t use items, repeat! #coolmumclub

  17. absolutely prabulous Reply

    I’m the worst mother. The WORST. I hate crafts with a passion, never even knew about kids’ magazines til I was over last month for the MADs and my friend came home with a piece of tat for his daughter with a toy on the front and have probably done crafts with them once. I also thank my lucky stars that they’ve never been the kind of kids to need constant entertainment and just occupy themselves because honestly I couldn’t have coped. That said…we do have an arts and crafts cupboard…full of a lot of the above so maybe I’m a ‘cool mum’ after all 🙂 #coolmumclub

  18. butterflymum83 Reply

    This are fabulous tips! I never would have thought of the washing containers or bday card ideas, thank you xx #coolmumclub

  19. DomesticatedMomster Reply

    The weather is quite crappy here today so maybe this is just what’s in store for my littles when I pick them up from school. Perhaps some halloween decorations since here it is the middle of the month and I haven’t even started to decorate. Crazy schedules…crazy life. But crafts have been overdue. Thank goodness for the ones they make at school. Thanks again for hosting the fab #coolmumclub.

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