Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TV-Free Toddler - Dixie Cup Castles

Today's TV-Free Activity: DIXIE CUP CASTLES!

Materials needed: Dixie cups - a lot of them (one box will do for one kid, if you have more than one, get a box for each)
Age range: 2 years through middle school age (and beyond - I still enjoy stacking the cups)
Time filled: 15 minutes to 2 hours+, depending on the age of the kids

Mama's Dixie Cup Stash
This is a fun activity for a huge range of ages.  I used to do it with my 1st - 3rd grade kids at summer camp.  I used it with middle schoolers in an after-school program.  On days when I was totally taped out idea-wise, I would dump out a box of 400 or so dixie cups and an hour later, they were still creating amazing three dimensional castles all over the room.  A friend of mine said they made it into a drinking game in college.  So I figured what is good enough for drunk college students is good enough for my 2-year-old (they are so similar anyway).

So here's what you do:  Open a box of Dixie Cups (or 2 or 3 boxes) and start stacking.  Lucy doesn't have quite the hand-eye coordination required to stack pyramids, but boy did she have fun knocking down the towers I built for her! Look at the gleam in her eyes...

While I was mindlessly stacking cups into towers, Lucy started thinking up her own creative uses for them. She found an egg carton in the box of cups and asked "Lucy want eggs in here?" Of course, one refusal is never enough, so she said, with greater emphasis, "Lucy want REAL eggs in HERE! RIGHT NOW!" And again, no. So, being denied the opportunity to sling raw eggs all over the living room, she started putting the dixie cups in the carton and saying "Mama want eggs for dinner?" and then throwing the carton around, thus validating my decision not to give her real eggs to play with.

Her next project was lining the cups up in a row and stepping on each one while saying "CRUNCH!" 

When she got bored of that, she moved on to crushing them in her hands. She also kicked them, threw them, jumped in them like a pile of leaves, jumped on them and beat on them with a drumstick.

All in all, good fun for about $3.00 worth of cups.

DISCLAIMER:  What you see pictured here is about 10 boxes of Dixie Cups salvaged from my drama camp days.

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