How to make police handcuffs

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A game of cops and robbers isn’t complete without a pair of handcuffs – and these are speedy to make. As they are only cardboard, you will need a fairly compliant villain, as resisting arrest might cause them to break.

What we used

  • Kitchen roll tube
  • Wrapping paper tube (or any thin cardboard tube)
  • Foil
  • Silver spray (not essential)
  • Scissors and stapler
  1. Cut three bands from kitchen roll tube for the handcuffs; we needed to attach an extra half of a band to each cuff to make them big enough. Use stapler to attach and join.
  2. Cover the cuffs with foil; just wrap it around and scrunch it a bit to secure.
  3. Cut the links from the thinner tube, loop together by cutting each one open and then reattaching with staple. Spray silver if you have any in the cupboard – and a patient enough child to wait for it to dry.
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How to make a superhero “zapping” cuff

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A really quick and easy one. Just what every well-dressed superhero needs: a shiny silver cuff with lots of buttons with different effects (child to supply noises).

What we used

  • Kitchen roll tube
  • Foil
  • Foam stickers
  • Coloured sticky tape (not essential)

How we made it

  1. Cut kitchen roll tube to size.
  2. Cut opening down the length of tube.
  3. Wrap foil round it and decorate it with foam stickers, coloured sticky tape or similar. Simples.

How to make an ice-cream bath toy

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In Norfolk we like to “do different”… So instead of an ice-cream van, on the Norfolk Broads you can chance upon a boat selling locally made Aldous ice cream. Eddie decided to have a go at making his own ice-cream boat, with a “freezer” trailer. Having cut out cones, scoops and sticks from coloured foam, Eddie and his brother had a lovely time building ice cream and lollies on the side of the bath.

What we used

  • Two margarine tubs
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Drinking straw
  • Coloured foam
  • Strong sticky tape
  • Scissors

How we made it

  1. Join the margarine tubs together using a pipe cleaner (we made slits to post the pipe cleaner through using a craft knife).
  2. Cut out triangles of yellow and brown foam for plain and chocolate cones.
    Cut out circles of foam with one straight edge for the ice cream scoops. We also cut out shapes for flakes, lolly sticks, and strips of ice lolly to be built into one.
  3. The Aldous ice cream boat has a giant ice cream on the front, so we attached (with strong sticky tape) a foam cone, scoop and flake to our mast (made from a straw stuck inside the margarine boat with sticky tape).

How to make a washing line in a card

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This interactive washing line in a card is really simple to make. It is also a fun way to encourage your child’s fine motor control by getting them to take clothes out of the basket and peg them on the line.

What you’ll need

  • White card
  • String
  • Mini clothes pegs (or those plastic clips you get with shirt packaging)
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Coloured paper
  • Stapler, scissors and sticky tape
  • Paints or felt-tip pens

What to do

  1. Fold a piece of card in half (we used A4 but any size is fine). Draw your background (Eddie drew sun, blue sky and our family on the grass using Chubbie Paint Markers).
  2. Cut slits in the top corners of card, thread string through to create washing line, and secure at the back with sticky tape.
  3. To make basket, draw a large rectangle (twice the size you want the basket to be) with a handle onto coloured paper. Cut it out, fold it in half lengthways and then fold into outer edges, fasten with sticky tape. Attach to card with sticky tape or using a stapler.
  4. Cut clothes shapes out of fabric and peg onto line or place in basket.

How to make a shoebox barbecue

For the past six months a corner of our house has been occupied by a junk avalanche. A teetering pile of shoeboxes, toilet rolls and packaging of all shapes and sizes.
I was running out of patience with my eldest son’s determination to complete a new project after school every night, so I put out a plea for advice on a Facebook group of supportive local mums. I was overwhelmed by the encouraging response, with many suggesting I start a blog.
So, instead of reducing the craft in our life a little, I have taken them at their word… I see it as a way of recording Eddie’s creativity and, who knows, perhaps other children might have a go at making one of Eddie’s inventions.

Toy barbecue made from shoe box
Toy barbecue made from shoebox

Eddie came up with the idea and design for this toy barbecue. Having watched Daddy cremate sausages on the barbecue all summer, Eddie wanted to create his own. It had to fit into his school book bag, have rotating knobs, a lid that opened and shut, a removable grill, and tongs.

What you need

  • Child’s shoebox (ideally with attached lid)
  • A lid from another small shoebox (grill)
  • Two lollipop sticks (tongs)
  • Foam (for buttons and end of tongs)
  • Paint, glitter, sequins, felt-tip pens (fire and charcoal)
  • Corrugated cardboard (“griddled” food)
  • Paper fasteners (rotating knobs)

How to make it

1. Decorate the bottom of shoebox with red paint, sequins and glitter to create flames and draw lumps of charcoal with a black felt-tip pen.
2. Make the grill by cutting strips into the lid of another small shoebox (I used a craft knife). You may need to alter the size of the lid so that it fits snugly into the top of shoebox. Paint the grill black.
3. To make rotating knobs, glue foam onto cardboard, cut out three circles and fasten to the shoebox with paper fasteners, which allow the buttons to turn.
4. Make tongs by gluing a small strip of foam between tongs and then fixing them together using another strip.
5. Draw food shapes onto corrugated cardboard and then cut out and paint.

Decorate bottom of shoebox to create fire and charcoal
1. Decorate bottom of shoebox to create fire and charcoal
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2. Grill made from shoebox lid
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4. Tong made from lollipop sticks fixed together with strips of foam