hintsandthings.co.uk »Nursery

Cheap and Easy Ways to amuse young children, games to play, things to make and do.

little girl with pig tails



cheeky little boy

It is always a good idea to have a few odds and ends around
when you have children so, if you have the room, save things like bottle tops, cereal
packets magazines, yoghurt pots, computer printouts, wallpaper offcuts etc.  These
can be kept in shoeboxes until required.  Other useful items are safety scissors,
non-toxic crayons and felt tip pens (buy safety topped pens with a hole in the lid to
prevent suffocation if sucked into the windpipe), non-toxic paint and glue, masking tape
and old shirts or blouses to use as aprons.


I read your article titled “What
to do with a refrigerator box
” and would like to add my 2
cents…With the help of my 2 girls – ages 2 and 4 – we recently created a
play house out of 4 boxes, with 4 rooms of course. 

refrigerator box made into a play houseWe painted both the inside and
outside. It is complete with doors, windows, room borders, a door bell, a
flower box, working curtains, grass and flowers painted on the outside,
vinyl tiles in one room with the remaining rooms soon to be carpeted! 

has been a great craft project for the girls…and Mom, too.

Most of the
decorative items (vinyl tiles, door bell, borders, wall stickers, artificial
flowers, etc.) came from our local dollar store. 

The curtains were made
out of remnants from Joanne Fabrics and the various
colored wall paints were Oops Paints from the Home Depot.

I used old
electrical wire to hang up the curtains and shape the flower box. So
the total cost came to about $20.

picture of curtains made for play house
internal decoration of playhouse

inside view of playhouse

door of playhouse


contributed by Lesley Tauro

  • I have yet to come across a child who did not enjoy ‘bubbles’.
      This recipe is a bit different to one I used to use, it has
    been sent in by Ruth Ann and has been consumer tested by her granddaughter, Ashley!


Combine the following ingredients –

1/3 cup
dish soap (Joy, Palmolive, Fairy, baby shampoo etc.)

1.1/4 cups of water

2 teaspoons sugar (to help
bubbles hold together)

You can also add a drop of food colouring
for pretty bubbles!

  • Get the child to lie down on its back on a sheet of wallpaper or lining
    paper (which is very reasonable to buy).  Draw around the child’s shape, then help
    paint it in.

  • Draw the outline of a familiar object, then show the child how to dip
    its fingers into the paint and dab colour inside the shape.  Small pieces of sponge
    can also be used instead of their fingers.  As with all painting make sure furniture
    and floors are well protected.

  • Use masking tape to stick a doily onto a piece of paper.  Let the
    child paint over it and then remove to reveal the pattern underneath.

  • Get the child to draw a picture with WHITE crayon on a white sheet of
    paper, the  paint over the whole page.  The original painting will appear as if
    by magic.

  • Make some modelling clay, which can be used by all ages, by mixing
    together four cups of flour with one cup of table salt, add while stirring approximately 1
    1/2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil (for smoothness).  Do not add all
    the water at once as different flours take different amounts.  Knead well before
    using. Another recipe for dough is 750 g flour with 400ml of water and a little food
    colouring. Both recipes should keep for a week in an airtight container in the fridge.
      If they become sticky add a little flour.

  • Cut vegetables, such as potatoes, in half and then make a simple shape
    in the cut surface e.g. star, dip into paint and push down on some paper to print out a
    pattern.  Leaves, scrunched up paper and small pieces of sponge can also be used to
    make different types of patterns.

  • Find a rounded stone – ensure it is too big to be swallowed – help your
    child to draw or stick on eyes, nose and tail to make a mouse paperweight.

  • Use old gloves, mittens and socks to make glove puppets. Stick on pieces
    of felt or scraps of material to make eyes, ears etc.

  • Fold a piece of paper vertically in half, unfold, then get the child to
    paint on one side of the fold.  Fold the paper back down the same fold pushing down
    hard on the painted side.  Open up to reveal the mirror image of the painting.