Boxes make the perfect canvas for unleashing some creativity.

In the past, in an attempt to mix it up a bit, we have covered some boxes in white paper and then cut some pieces out of the box and covered those spaces in the boxes with pieces with garden mesh (I bought a large roll of this at one of the two dollar shops).

This time our canvases looked like this:

With the boxes ready to go, it was time to brainstorm possibilities for creating with these canvases. Master Four was quick to decide he wanted to make a robot that packs up (just what he needs as he is not a fan of packing up). Miss Six thought she would also like to make a robot, a girl robot in fact, one that sprinkled seeds into dirt and places where some colourful flowers would look beautiful.

Once we had some ideas it was time to raid the art cupboard for some supplies.

Materials on hand included:

We had feathers, faux leaves and flowers, pipe cleaners, cardboard tubes, paper doilies, egg carton cups, small pine cones, decorative star wire, ribbon, washi tape, coloured beads, plastic mini cups and recycled plastic materials, straws and lace.

Once we had supplies at the ready it was time to create.

Phase one was painting the boxes.

Miss Six wanted arms for her girl robot so after her box was painted she painted some robot arms. Master Four wanted to add “effects”, as he said, to his box, so he began some finger painting over his box. Miss Three made it a true sensory experience and used her hands to lather paint over her box.

Given that we made these over the weekend, we had daddy on hand to help. Master Four usually has a clear vision about what he wants to create and usually requires a little help to achieve his vision. We talked about “thinking outside the box” and coming up with some creative pieces that could be used for these creations. Master Four decided to use cardboard tubes for the eyes and pine cones for the pupils. Daddy helped make a slit in the cardboard tubes to insert the pine cones.

Miss Three’s creation was constantly evolving as she added different coloured paints to her box. Initially it was a darker purple, however Miss Three always asks for white paint which she enjoys mixing with other colours. Miss Three would stick pieces onto her creation and take them off again. It was a constantly changing piece.

In the end, Miss Six created a girl robot with the special power of producing  flowers in garden spaces that were otherwise dull.

I particularly like the eyes Miss Six created for her robot. Miss Six used small plastic cups for the eyes and covered them in washi tape (with some help). We do love to add a touch of washi tape to lots of things and now my cherubs are developing an appreciation for this lovely tape. For a finishing touch for the eyes, Miss Six added a pink sparkly gems to the bottom of each cup so this robot has dazzling eyes.

More of a profile view of the robot created by Miss Six.

Master Four is very proud of his robot. Master Four had some help executing his vision (mostly the feet and the beaded pipe cleaner on top).

Master Four usually draws – sometimes on paper, sometimes in the air – what he would like to achieve. Other times he tells us what he is planning to do and together we problem solve how he can achieve that. For example, he wanted to use the pipe cleaner that he threaded with beads to make some “rainbow loops” (his exact words) on the top of his robot’s head. He also wanted his robot to have big feet with “terrible claws” (Gruffalo inspired). We looked at the supplies and went through some possibilities. He decided on the plastic lids and pipe cleaner claws.

More of an aerial view:

Miss Three, after constantly changing the colour of her box, as well as applying and removing bits and pieces, ended up with this creation:

Miss Three enjoyed poking feathers and straws into the mesh (as well as pulling these materials out).

For a “less mess” version of this, ditch the painting and children could use coloured paper and various craft supplies to create characters, creatures, houses, modes of transport, or whatever pops into their imagination.