Saturday, June 18, 2016

IDMommy Project: Cardboard Robot Fun!

Toby & Sam with their cardboard robots!
Here's a SUPER easy and cheap activity to keep your kiddos entertained this summer on rainy days!!

When I was little my siblings and I used to make "robots" out of cardboard boxes.  I kept mine probably until I was in college...it was only maybe 10" tall and all decked out with a real antenna from a broken radio, and a red plastic calculator screen for the mouth. His name was Radar and I also installed a retractable tape measure that could pull out from his side!  My sister and I even made a larger model named Rodney, that we could fit inside the back of to make his arms move!

Years ago when Sam was maybe 3 or 4, I thought it would be fun to help him make a cardboard robot of his own.  He was into Curious George at the time and loved the "Yorbo" episode, so he decided to name his Yorbo.  I spray painted a cardboard box with silver paint, and the rest was up to him! (though I helped wield the X-acto knife when he needed a precise hole cut) We took a trip to AxMan, our local surplus store, and loaded up on cool random parts.
Our shopping trip to AxMan, and robot construction...


Now Sam is 8 and this year I thought we'd help his little brother Toby make one too.  Sam still has Yorbo and keeps adding more features to him! Toby now has two robots.  This is such a fun and simple project for kids, and one that you can be as involved or not involved in as you want.  You can spray paint a box and let them go wild, or help coming up with ideas! Once Grandpa found out about their robots, he started saving cool parts from his workshop for them to add as well!

Supplies & Where to Get Them:
This project can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.  All you really need is a cardboard box, glue, tape, scissors, and random stuff from the junk drawer.  A can of silver spray paint really makes them look cool to start with, but isn't required of course.

A trip to the surplus store can add up fast, but they have so much fun with this part, even if I limit their spending.  We got some cool metallic silver duct tape there which got completely used up very fast! They also got some fun buttons, switches and wires.

Don't want to spend money on parts? No problem!  Keep an eye out around your house or ask your friends if they have any broken electronics or toys around.  We had a broken remote control car they just wouldn't let me get rid of, until they started making robots, and then they were thrilled to dismantle it for parts! Win-win! When my printer died a few weeks ago, we all had fun taking it apart and finding many cool circuitboards.  (Of course you should help when dismantling things like this! Some electronics can be dangerous to open, not to mention messy with ink like this printer, so use caution!)

Garage sale FREE boxes are a treasure trove for robot builders!!  Last week my boys found 6 remote controls in a free box and were SO excited.  They now have cool rubber buttons and little circuit boards.

I had to do some robot face paintings too!
They now each have a plastic bin to hold their robot parts. You can make unlimited robots, but it's fun to keep adding features to one, especially if you don't want your whole house overrun with robots! ;-)

Need some Inspiration?
Rent or borrow a copy of the movie "Robots" to get your kids inspired! I was able to snag a brand new, unopened DVD of Robots at a garage sale for $0.50 and the boys love it. Or, show them this post and just start taking apart a broken toy or electronic! Once they get into it the possibilities are endless!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

St Patrick's Day Mischief!

We had some fun on St Patrick's day this year! I painted the boys up before they left for school...


Boys all painted for school!
Toby had complained of something in his eye that morning and I encouraged him to try to make tears to wash it out.  But, later that day I got a call from the school that he wasn't doing well with his eye and rubbing it a lot.  So, I had to go pick him up and run him to the doc.  They saw some scratching on his eye and gave us drops, which did end up clearing it all up by the next morning.  But, he was SO bummed to miss out on all the St Patrick's day fun at school!!  They always have a mischievous leprechaun visit their classrooms and wreak havoc.  His class had planned to make leprechaun traps that day.  So, in an effort to still make it a fun day, we stopped at Walgreens on the way home to pick up some chocolate coins as "bait," and made our own trap!
Building our trap! And the mysterious milk that turned green at lunch!

Whaddaya know, turns out the leprechaun did end up visiting our house during his nap, leaving evidence all over!

Darn, I knew I shouldn't have left my face paints out on the table...I guess I should have known that a leprechaun couldn't resist a rainbow cake, as he painted all over the windows!!




Unfortunately we didn't catch the little bugger, but we did manage to catch his shoe in the trap!!  Toby was pretty excited to bring the shoe back to school the next day to show his friends!

I don't normally plan anything for this holiday, except for wearing green.  But, Toby being stuck at home from school ended up turning it into a fun day!

I already had plans to attend a balloon "jam" (get-together for balloon twisters) that night with my oldest, Sam...so we had a lot of fun that night while Toby got a fun night with Dad!

I made a balloon hat for Sam!
This year, even though it involved a trip to the pediatrician and pharmacy, and I didn't get ANY work done, it turned out be a great day of one-on-one time with each of my boys!!

Hope you had some fun on St Patrick's day! 


Lego Birthday Party Ideas!

Well, I'm WAY behind on my blogging, but I thought I'd start catching up by sharing the not one, but TWO Lego themed birthday parties we had in our house, just 1 month apart!  When I heard that both of my boys wanted Lego parties, part of me thought, "great! I can re-use stuff!"  But then the other part still wanted to make each party unique and special in their own way.  So, I did do a mix of recycled decor and new stuff.  So, if you're looking for Lego ideas, you're definitely in the right place...here are TWO parties' worth of ideas!!

My little man, all painted up! I used this pic on his thank you cards. ;-)  (I'm also a professional face and body painter)


The Cakes

Sam's cake I sortof carved out of a sheet cake! I used some extra trimmings to make a couple loose Lego blocks, with matching M&M's on top!
Lego man cake

 For Toby's cake I decided to make a big Lego head! I just made two bundt cakes, and then realized it wasn't quite tall enough when I stacked them.  Luckily I had an extra sheet cake in the freezer, left over from Sam's birthday the month before (I though I'd need two but didn't).  So, I put a layer of that cake in the middle to give it more height.  Then I filled in the top hole and put a round piece on top to get that interlocking shape!

Lego Head cake
The Decorations

Our local dollar store didn't have anything Lego related, so I just got some primary colored, blank mylar balloons, and drew faces on the yellow ones!


We have these metal beverage tubs that have gotten a ton of mileage at our parties, and always are able to take on the theme of the day! Just some black construction paper turned the yellow one into a Lego face:
beverage tub with black construction paper taped on

I have a sweet friend who gave me her Lego garland pieces, which were designed to hang on a little clothesline.  I taped them around the walls and doors instead, and they looked cute scattered around the house. Here's the front door:


While our dollar store didn't have Lego themed stuff, they did have big sheets of primary colored poster board! I cut and glued together a sheet of red, yellow and blue to make this gigantic Lego man that I stuck to the sliding back door:

Paper Lego man!

 I had to make one for Toby too, of course! His is a little shorter but I made him the Lego space man:

Homemade Lego man, and letters from a Google search
 For the boys' names I just did a Google image search for "Lego letter T" and so on...printed one out per sheet and spelled their names in Lego!  They are now adorning their bedroom doors. ;-)


I built some plasticware holders using the generic bricks from Target and some of our Duplos:
silverware
There really is no need to buy licensed character plates and napkins...just get colors that go with the theme and it all goes great!

The Lego doors were super fun and cheap to do!!!  I did a blue one for one kid and a red one for the other.  This is just a plastic tablecloth and matching paper plates from the dollar store.  The whole thing cost maybe $3 bucks!
This door cost about $3

The Treats 

I got some fun, colorful candy and treats to put around the party...these fruity Twizzlers were a hit.  I just cut them in half with a pair of kitchen shears to make more, shorter pieces. They looked really cute standing up in this dish:

 The interlocking Lego candies I got on Amazin, and got enough to have plenty out for both parties.

I found this cute idea somewhere online to make Lego head marshmallow pops! They turned out so cute!!
 The Lego pops were out for Toby's party. My hubby cut some foam chunks and I stuck them in that, inside little plastic baskets from the dollar store:

Toby LOVES skittles too so we had a bowl of those for him!

I got a set of Lego molds and made some ice cubes in the shapes of minifigures and bricks! These I did for Sam's party but not Toby's...not sure if they were really worth the work.  But now we have molds if we want to make them out of chocolate, or crayons, or whatever...

Lego ice cubes
The Activities:

I made a pull-string pinata for each party.  Sam had a classic Lego brick shape:

Lego pinata
Toby really loves the line from the movie, "Honey, where are my pants?"  So, I just had to make a pants shaped pinata for him!!

 The top parts are just plastic cups glued to the box!  The rest is just made up of cut boxes and tubes.  Then the whole thing is covered with paper mache and painted.

 I got some cheap knockoff bricks in Target's dollar section, and those were fun to scatter around for decorations.  The kids had fun building stuff with them too!  Another friend of mine had a bunch of great Lego coloring sheets left over from one of her parties, and we had enough of those to use for both parties too...
Coloring sheets & bricks to build
Goodie Bags

I usually just use paper lunch bags, and then print out the kids' names on the computer to label them.  For Sam's party the kids got bubbles, pencils, minifigure-shaped crayons, Lego candies, and these suuuper cool notebooks.  The notebooks were also from Target's dollar section, $3 each! Later they sold mini ones for $1 but it was too late for us!  These were really neat though and went over well.

Sam's party bags
 Somehow I ended up with more items in Toby's goodie bags, but there were so many fun things it was hard to choose, ha ha! I got some cool Lego wristbands for Sam's party, as he's a huge wristband collector, but there were only 12 in the pack and he had more kids than that attend.  So, we saved them for Toby's.  The cool stacking crayon/pen things and the round shooters I got at Goodwill! (Brand new donations from Target)  Then I got some fun wallets and keychains (from Oriental Trading), and erasers.  Yeah, I think I went a little overboard on the goodie bags this year...but they were SO FUN! 

Toby's party bags

We had so much fun doing these parties!! I have been hoping for years that the boys would want a Lego theme someday, so you can probably tell I was excited to go overboard, ha ha!

I hope this helps give you some ideas for your own kids' parties!!  Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave any of your own ideas in the comments!






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