10 February 2014

DIY Toddler Mailbox

As an early childhood education major, I worked played in a two-year-old preschool classroom for five weeks for college credit. (I also took a children's literature class where it was my homework to read hundreds of children's picture and chapter books over the semester. Love my major!)

As J is turning two in a few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the activities we did in the preschool with our small students. Some things I'm not quite brave enough to do yet, like letting J crack raw eggs to make pancakes! 

But other things are so completely perfect that I can't help but give it a try. Like make J an adorable mailbox so we can play "mailman". And even better, Valentine's Day is this week so we can write pretend (or real) love notes to the ones we love. (Like Daddy or the stuffed dog, Broderick).

When making a project for J to play with it has to be easy and free. I've learned that toddlers really don't care how much you spent on supplies or the time you took to make it look cute. I have to keep it simple and cheap so when J destroys plays with it I won't be too emotionally attached. 

- empty oatmeal container with lid (a 32 oz yogurt container would work too)
- brown paper bag, or wrapping papper
- scissors
- ruler
- glue / double-sided tape
- envelopes or pretend mail 

This simple project really only has two steps, and both will vary depending on the size and shape of the container you choose.

First, you need to cut a mail slot in the lid of your container. Measure the width of the mail/envelopes you will be using, adding a little extra space for the letter to push through smoothly. My envelope was 4-inches wide so I drew and then cut a 4 1/4-inch by 1/2-inch rectangle in the center of my lid.

Second, you need to cover your container with the paper or wrapping paper of your choice. Measure the height of your container. Without wanting to calculate the circumference of the container, I just cut my paper bag open so it was laying flat. 

Then I just taped it in place, rolled it along the paper and cut it when I had an inch overlap. Glue or tape the paper around the container, making sure to secure at the top and bottom.

And then you are finished! Now you (and your helper) can decorate however you want. Because I wanted it to be a mailbox to use all year, I placed heart shape post-it notes that can be removed when Valentine's Day is over.

Oh what's that? J already removed them... of course he did.

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