Monday, September 28th, 2015

Got Kids? Popsicle Sticks For Hours of CHEAP Fun – Epic Fun House

by Kristen Suzanne in family, kamea, Motherhood
Epic fun house from popsicle sticks and creativity.

Epic fun house from popsicle sticks and creativity.

My husband gets credit for this post. Using popsicle sticks to create what has turned out to be an epic fun house was his idea. He wanted to teach Kamea a bunch of skills and concepts in a way that’s accessible to a 4-year-old, as well as convey that activities don’t all have to be pre-packaged, that you can do big amazing stuff with simple objects. He’s very big on teaching her to use things for their unintended purposes (to teach lateral thinking), kind of like “coloring outside the lines” on steroids. Also, he wanted her to engage in a multi-month project to augment the single-serving creative sessions we usually do. There’s something about seeing a project grow and expand over time into wild directions, some planned and some unplanned.

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And, so, I share this crazy fun idea with you, parents, out there if you’re in need of a creative activity and long-term project for kids. Keep in mind though, it requires some participation from you, the parents, but it’s easy and relaxed fun. Even mindfully meditative, at times.

My husband bought a bunch of popsicle sticks, and he started gluing them together with Kamea (she’s five years, but this project started while she was four).

Excited to get to work on the fun house.

Excited to get to work on the fun house.

 

The house started to really take on quite a life for itself and they started to decorate it with paint, stickers, markers, clay, found objects from the recycle bin, and much more. They also incorporated colored popsicle sticks. It’s become the center of attraction for play-dates as kids stare at it in awe. In fact, so do the parents!

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Oh, and get ready for this. They made a rock-climbing wall for the play house’s ninja training center. Here’s the two of them making the rock-climbing handles from polymer clay.

Working away with polymer clay.

Working away with polymer clay.

Greg told me to tell you all that it’s smart to not throw away scraps of clay because all of the mixed up scraps give more colors to use later. Store them in a ziploc.

It's so pretty. It's like art. :)

It’s so pretty. It’s like art. :)

 

Another tip is using clothespins to hold pieces together while waiting for the glue to dry.

See the clips? Very helpful.

See the clothespins holding the popsicle sticks together? Very helpful.

 

Seriously, this project is pretty amazing, and when they’re not building on to it, Kamea is spending hours playing with it. I’ll be honest, it’s not hours at a time, but hours and hours in total of wonderful independent play. She uses her little figurines to play in it, which are perfect from Disney mini-figure princesses and others like this to Calico Critters dolls and all of her animal figurines. It’s a happy coincidence that the standard popsicle stick length is the perfect scale for a doll house for these figurines.

A mother's favorite site: independent imaginary play. Ahhh where's my pillow?

A mother’s favorite site: independent imaginary play. Ahhh where’s my pillow?

I just might read a book.

I just might read a book.

 

More pictures of our epic fun house made with simple popsicle sticks, glue, and decorations.

This is in the beginning days.

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It fit on the table at one time.

It fit on the table at one time. This pic shows the front and back pieces fit together when it’s closed, but they open up to reveal the living areas inside.

 

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I didn’t expect it to grow so much.

It grew.

It grew. They added a tower with a removable penthouse deck that Kamea calls “the Hangout Place.”

I don't even know what to say.

I don’t even know what to say.

Now, it connects to the table via a bridge.

Now, it connects to the table via a rope bridge.

A view from above - pretty spectacular.

A view from above – pretty spectacular.

It has a few additions, including her actual Calico Critter house. Why not? They dubbed it the “calico critter expansion project.”

Here are some special daddy-made-in-workshop additions:

Of course, it has two working winches…

… because you never know when princess Amber might need a ride.

… because you never know when princess Amber might need a ride.

 

An secret escape rope ladder

A secret escape rope ladder, accessible through a secret sliding trap door (not shown).

 

Dad also surprised Kamea one morning when she came downstairs to find working hinged barn doors.

Awesome hinged doors.

Awesome hinged doors.

 

But, wait, there’s more. How about a functional tongue-and-groove sliding garage door. Because… why not?

(Sometimes I wonder if this is a daddy doll house. He gets into flow mode and listens to tech podcasts while building structural things at night, and then Kamea helps glue on easier and decorative elements during the day.)

This thing is pretty bad-ass.

This thing is pretty bad-ass.

 

I know you are all dying to see the Ninja Training Rock Climbing Wall.

Ta-Da!

Of course, Greg added a bar to the top.

Of course, Greg added a bar to the top.

Ariel's beau, Eric, is set to Ninja train. Gotta keep his girl safe, after all.

Ariel’s beau, Eric, is set to Ninja train. Gotta keep his girl safe, after all.


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