When Big Sis was born Dirk and I vowed to keep the TV off when she was awake. We didn’t want her to watch any TV until she was two years old…HAHAHA! Reality hit and she spent months 9-12 constantly teething, waking up at all hours of the night. The TV was my saving grace, Yo Gabba Gabba in particular. That’s when her infatuation with TV started.
We’ve always limited her screen time but regardless, she asks to watch a show or play on the iPad ALL.DAY.LONG. And let’s just be honest, TV is an easy out for us moms too. It can cure a whiney child, it can give you 30 minutes of quiet time, maybe even let you take a short nap if needed. TV is an easy crutch but it’s not always the best thing for your kiddo.
Welcome to the collage box. It’s my best idea yet! (See my notes below about adaptation for younger toddlers)
Big Sis doesn’t like to color but she loves to draw, and glue and paint and create. So one day I thought I’m just going to raid all of my craft supplies and my junk drawer and see what I can throw in this box for her to create with. I started throwing whatever I could find into the box, stickers, bits of tulle, bits of felt, pom poms, foam cut outs, paper cutouts, bits of silk plants I had left over, feathers, random markers, colored pencils, glitter glue, anything random that I could get my hands on.
I gave her a 12×12 piece of white paper a bottle of glue and all of the contents in the box. She was elated! She spent at least 30 minutes on her first creation, all the while talking about what she was doing, “Okay, this should go here because it’s perfectly sparkly, and this round sing (thing) should go here because we love round sings.” Seriously, I could listen to her talk to herself all day.
This was her first creation:
And here’s another:
Now she wants to glue EVERYTHING! The hubby got a gift in a small cardboard box, Big Sis saw it and said, “Daddy, can I have that???” He gave the go ahead and it became this…
You never know what’s going to be made into a creation in our house.
Do you have younger toddlers? Why not try using clear contact paper instead of glue and paper. You can tape the contact paper onto a table or window and allow your toddler to stick things to the sticky contact paper. No messy glue and no fuss with taking stickers off of the paper. An easy and less messy collage!
I love so many things about this:
- You can keep adding new and fresh items to keep the interest level high.
- Cleaning up is so easy, even a toddler can do it, no seriously your toddler should clean it up because it’s so easy. We literally just take everything that belongs in the collage box and throw it back in, put the lid on and put the box away for another day.
- It boosts creativity. Big Sis is now looking at things as a way to make them into art and asks if she can use all sorts of media that I wouldn’t have thought of. Some of it is of course not stuff that she is able to cut and glue but others are great ideas!
- You can take the box with you! We had an outside church event that was mostly for adults but kids were welcome. I brought the box with us and she was able to complete a quiet task and fully enjoy it.
- A wide range of skills being practiced, especially fine motor: Exploring color combinations, using glue, learning to cut with scissors, exploring with writing utensils (chalk, pens, markers, crayons), and SO much more.
- Language Development: when kids are left alone and their creative juices are flowing, they get into their own world. They are able to freely speak without anyone judging them or without any expectations. It’s their time to just let go.
- Declutter: I get to declutter my house. As I find random things I think, “hmmm…would this be good for the collage box?” When someone gets her a little something, usually involving stickers, they all go right into the collage box instead of strewn across my house, only to be thrown away as we step on them in some random place.
This is so easy to literally throw together and costs little to nothing! If you give it a try, I’d love to see your little one’s creations. So much fun!