I collect recyclable materials like soda cans, yogurt cans, bottle caps, used paper towel rolls, etc in a cardboard box. I add a few pairs of child safe scissors, glue, buttons, sequins, googly eyes, rubber bands, a couple of different kinds of paper, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, uncooked pasta, uncooked beans, etc to that box and keep it handy. I took it out last night after dinner to keep my 3 yr old twin boys busy while I finish up my chores. I told them they could create whatever they want to create with those materials. One of the boys created a “boom blaster” (in his own words) using paper towel rolls, rubber bands, colored tissue paper, sequins, etc and another one created a yogurt can marakka using bottle caps, uncooked pasta and beans for the sound effects. They needed some help from me here and there but mostly they were on their own.
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