A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: Mommy Camp PEACE | Kid Tins

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21 June 2013

Mommy Camp PEACE | Kid Tins

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We are now square in the middle of our Mommy Camp weeks and while there are plenty of activities that surround our theme,
sometimes I just need a little peace time that doesn't have to be planned out and supervised.  Are you with me??
The solution? (...aside from babysitters....)

A little pre-planning, a few thrift store scores and a wee bit of spray paint.

Around here, we call them "kid tins" and they ONLY come out during quiet time.



Here is how they work:

     Step 1 -- Read Roo's blog and be inspired by her awesome quiet time lunchboxes.
     Step 2 -- Search for metal lunch boxes and be very sad that they are so expensive
     Step 3 -- Visit your local thrift store where holiday tins are VERY cheap (like 30 cents)
     Step 4 -- Pick a color scheme and buy as many as you can in a solid color (gold!!)
     Step 5 -- Grab a bottle of METALLIC spray paint that matches your color choice.
     Step 6 -- Collect random bits of things the kids leave laying around the house in a bucket.
     Step 7 -- Buy a few (really REALLY cheap) craft supplies, toys, books and fast food toys
     Step 8 -- Hide all of this from the kids for at least a few weeks to build suspense
     Step 9 -- Break out ONE tin per kid, separate them and threaten them with an actual nap
     Step 10 -- Encourage creativity with the materials and be amazed at what they come up with!

Basically, you are collecting the little bits of ephemera and crappy toys that you would typically toss in the trash and separating them into groupings, by color or activity.  Keeping all this junk away from the kids for awhile makes them forget about it (like a toy rotation system) and putting them in groupings in a pretty little tin makes them seem like a brand new game.  You are teaching your kids to see old stuff with new eyes in the way you combine the "junk".

The tins themselves are SO very prevalent in thrift stores.  They haven't hit the official "recycle, upcycle, DIY design trendwagon", so they are STILL CHEAP.  Don't wait too long though or someone else will snatch all the good solid colored ones out from under you :)  I went to our thrift store on half price day and found some Hershey's tins in gold (we live in Hershey, so I left them as is), a few solid gold circle tins and a few others in interesting shapes.  (see below)  Most tins were 30 cents (half off).  I choose the shallow round trays, large shallow square trays and one pencil shaped tin.

I used a metallic spray paint called "champagne" mist by rustoleum -- you can find it HERE or your local home improvement store.  The color is really nice -- somewhere between a gold and silver and brown -- and it only takes one coat to do the job on most tins.   The metallic paints are pricey ($7-10), but they are paint and primer in one (which you need for painting metal) and using a metallic paint instead of a matte paint makes the tins look as if they came that way instead of looking like a cheap spray painted tin.  Make sense? 

Total cost:

Tins -- Around $1-2 for 10 tins
Spray Paint -- $7-8 for one can
Fillers -- Mostly junk around the house, but some clearance Target party favors and thrift store cheapies as well
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$10-12 for the entire project

Here are the individual tins, what I filled them with and what they could be used for
 (though your kids will come up with more ideas and blow your mind!)


Coasters (party supply clearance), Post it Notes (with writing lines), colored pencil and "thought-starter" cubes

Use them as tangrams, write words to make mad libs with starter cubes, build a picture on a cube.....


Yarn, Pipe Cleaners, Color Dice, Play Money, Game Pieces

Use them to create a game, build a string trick or mini puppet on strings, draw a string picture.....


The long, thin boxes are perfect for pens, pencils, markers, etc.

Combine with paper or other medium for older kiddos.



Notepads (check out the clearance party favors), crayons, fast food toys

Write a story about the dog character, draw a flipbook, etc.....


Toy Cars, Bolt, Sunglasses, Tiger Tail Pipe Cleaner

For smaller children, watch the games they create with that simple pipe cleaner, bolt and cars - incredible!




Use with caution in rooms with windows, kids can play dominoes, create a make-believe scene, create a game....

...and for a small group of kids or organized art time, the large flat tins are perfect for...


Pipe Cleaners, Card Games, Stickers, Confetti (above and below photos)

A million craft projects, straight 'ol Go Fish and variations involving betting on winnings with pipe cleaners...


So do YOU need a little quiet?  Try collecting all those little bits and pieces of junk floating around the house 
and put them into tins to spark your little one's creativity!  Let's Get Quiet!  



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