Not-so-obvious craft & play cupboard items

There are a lot of obvious essentials for a craft box: paper, pencils, scissors, crayons, paints, glue… And less obvious but useful things like sponges, recycling for junk modelling, toothbrushes for painting… Here are a few more ideas of relatively cheap additions for craft and other play.

1p stamps are a very cheap alternative to stickers. Okay, they’re all the same but a sheet of 25 1p stamps costs 25p and can be used for pretend post-office play, patterning, badges… Much cheaper than most sticker sheets! For 50p you can get 25 dark green 2p stamps for variety. Sheets of 25 available at most post offices.

Paper plates & cups
Slightly more obvious for craft play, paper plates are great fun for painting, drawing, sticking on, using as wheels for junk model vehicles, making giant caterpillars with, for tea parties (pretend or real)… MG’s current favourite is to take a dinner order and draw what you’ve ordered on the plates – great for both writing and drawing practice. Reasonably cost effective at about £1 for 25-30 plates from pound shops & similar.

Paper cups seem less available than plastic, and plastic will do, but I prefer paper for easier crafting – making puppet legs and arms, as a base for hats and noses… But my favourite is the hole-in-the-bottom make-a-mess craft like cup painting. I also want to try out sand painting with coloured sand, if the play sand I’ve ordered ever comes back in stock and there’s some dry days! Again available in pound shops, about 20 for £1.

Litter tray
I never would have thought of a litter tray, but thanks to this excellent post from Two of Everything, it’s on my wish list to add to our cupboards for sensory play.

Shot glasses & sauce bowls
These are great for ‘experiments’ like mixing vinegar and baking soda, colour mixing with food dies (especially when using droppers for fine motor skills). You can get around 40 plastic shot glasses for £1 or invest in a set of glass ones for heavier use. MG & DG’s Montessori nursery used (glass) shot glasses for the babies/toddlers to drink from as they are the perfect size for small children.

Sauce/dip bowls are also good for mixing experiments if you invest in some glass ones from eBay or similar. The only ones I’ve found in a pound shop were metal ones at 6 for £1 which have been great fun for kitchen pretend play but not sure if they’re much good for ‘experiments’ being metal!

Kitchen utensils
If you scour pound / cheap / charity stores you can get all sorts of different things for pretend kitchen play instead of buying a play set, and being ‘real’ they can be more fun. Milk pans are perfect as play saucepans, wooden spoons come in all sorts of sizes, silicone bakeware for mini loaves or chocolates fit with a pretend kitchen. Not to mention that a toddler will get hours of fun from a pan and wooden spoon for making noise 🙂 Cutters can be used for play dough and fimo, and icing cutters give some lovely intricate craft results.

Dried foods
Lentils, beans, cous-cous, coffee, rice, pasta… All these dried foods are great for play kitchens and for filling trays with for sensory play. Value and own brand items can be very cheap, and in theory you can also wash and eat most of them afterwards too – they also vacuum up very easily!

What other “not-so-obvious” items do you use in craft and other play with children? Please let me know in the comments.

8 responses to “Not-so-obvious craft & play cupboard items

  1. Bless you for the link – thank you 🙂 Great post too 🙂
    Merry recently posted..Wistman’s Wood.My Profile

  2. What great ideas. I particularly like the stamps ideas as my daughter is always writing letters and she would love some stamps to stick on them. I never knew you could get 1p stamps! (btw will be back doing the Friday Pick once school starts again and the kids give me a break!)
    Hertfordshiremummy recently posted..Being Good or Doing Good?My Profile

  3. I love the stamps idea too. I bet you could also get some fabulous lots from stamp auctions if you were dedicated enough! Thinking about my own craft collection, the little bits of ribbon you get in clothes can be snipped out to use, large packs of value sponges are pretty good, of course birthday and other cards can be cut up for sticking, as can all the junk mail/freebie papers which come through the door.
    Helen recently posted..The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little MyMy Profile

  4. omg, the stamps – what a FABULOUS idea, I’ll definitely be doing that!

    we love scouring charity shops, the best ‘tea set’ I ever bought them was an old coloured plastic picnic set in its own plastic box – hours of play for about 50p and we’ve actually used the items for picnicking and camping too!

  5. Love love love the stamp idea… Bet royal mail will be wondering why all their cheap stamps are flying off the books. Also loving the other craft ideas, plates and cups especially. Well done. Great and useful post 😉
    twins tiaras and tantrums recently posted..Decoupage Disaster!My Profile

  6. Thanks for the link! 🙂 Love this post, lots of fab ideas. I have a tendency to grab all sorts of things for the children to play with, think it comes from my teacher days… Pine cones are great for lots of activities – they make interesting marks in playdough and trays of finger paints, and catch grains of rice if you use them to scoop, or trickle the rice over. They’re nice to bury in sand too, or use as trees for a little dinosaur world…
    Two of Everything recently posted..Potty Training Carnival – Call for Posts!My Profile

  7. Kidney beans and corn together with glue and create artwork like corn houses. You can boil them afterwards to remove the glue and can become recycle bird food.
    mika recently posted..Europe Regulates Electronic WasteMy Profile

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