Empty or full, food packaging has great potential to inspire activities to entertain kids while also promoting developmental skills! Raid your cabinets or the recycling bin and try whipping up one of these fun activities for kids! Activities with empty packages are always a blast!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Empty cereal or granola bar boxes; empty canisters (e.g. Pringles, oats, spice containers); unopened canned items (e.g. veggies, soup,); water bottles (full or empty)
WHAT TO DO:
1. Stacking and Building – Empty boxes and canisters make great building blocks! Have kids stack them as high as they’ll go or use them to build pyramids and tunnels! Cover them with construction paper and have kids draw doors and windows to make them into houses and buildings. Build a whole city right in your kitchen! Try stacking up unopened soup cans or full boxes of cereal or granola bars – the extra weight gives great proprioceptive feedback and provides a good opportunity for strengthening…not to mention the cool sound the full boxes make when you shake them! :)
2. Sorting – Have kids sort groceries and containers by size, color, or food type! Can they put all of the boxes together? All of the canned goods? Can they sort out canisters and packages by color? Try emptying the pantry and letting your little one reorganize for you, putting things back where they belong! Have them do a refrigerator clean-out, putting fruits and veggies in the correct drawers and other food items on the shelves where they belong. All great motor, visual, and cognitive challenges!
3. Lifting – Try a strengthening workout using unopened cans or bottled water as weights! See if kids can follow your lead: lifting containers up above their heads (be careful!) and out to the side, or performing biceps curls!
4. Creating – Pick out some empty cardboard containers and canisters and see what masterpieces your kids can create! Spice containers filled with rice make great maracas! Empty sour cream containers make awesome drums! Our friend Daria at World Music for Children creates awesome musical masterpieces from empty food containers! Check out her DIY Ocean Drum For Kids!
Or, try Daria’s awesome free printable craft that lets kids turn an empty egg carton into a rattle instrument! First, have kids color and cut out the printable decoration. Then, they’ll glue it to the outside of an empty egg carton, fill it with small items like jingle bells, pebbles, or marbles and shake it like nobody’s business! Daria’s printable instructions have playing suggestions and background information about the inspiration for this craft, the guijada, or jawbone rattle.
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Strength, visual motor integration, coordination, fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, grasp, proprioception, motor control