GeekDad Crowdstorming — Assembling An Ultimate Kid Craft Box (Plus Contest!)

Crafts

Geek dads and moms… I need your help. My son’s 7th birthday is around the corner, and although my wife and I have gift ideas that he’s provided to us, I find myself wanting to offer him something that will feed his creativity. For some time now, he’s shown a solid interest in just making things. Duct tape, scissors, glue… these are his tools. Construction paper, string, cardboard, popsicle sticks… these are his materials.

For his birthday, I’m wanting to present him with The Ultimate Kid Craft Box — a toolbox/container full of useful (yet safe) tools and materials and widgets and other stuff. Ideally, I’d love to keep the price between $30 and $40. Michaels and Hobby Lobby offer up a lot of $1 craft supplies so I’m already planning a trip there to stock up.

Any suggestions? I don’t want to buy any one item that costs a substantial amount of money unless it’s something he can possibly re-use over and over. I think he’s old enough for a glue gun, but I’ll open that for debate. I want to cram this container full of amazing things, and I’d love to hear your ideas. (And please tell me where I can buy if it’s not a craft store kind of thing.)

Already in the box are the following — duct tape (assorted colors), popsicle sticks, string, scissors, clear tape, white glue, wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, and all sorts of paper in all manner of colors.

Please offer up your suggestions in the comments, and I’ll be sure to post a photo of the final box along with an itemized list (and prices) of what I end up stuffing in there.

Project Kid

Finally, a contest for a free book, open to all US residents who contribute an idea or two for a craft supply or tool. Commenters will be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of a new book titled Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun by Amanda Kingloff and published by Artisan Books. (And I’ll be doing a more in-depth review of the book in a few weeks.) I’ll pick one lucky winner from all participants who respond in the comments with a tool, material, or other item that would be inexpensive and useful in a kid’s craft box — deadline will be 11:59pm PDT May 16, 2014. Winner will be notified via email with a request for a mailing address.

Note: I’d like to thank Elizabeth Z. with Artisan Books for providing a review copy and a giveaway copy.

About James Floyd Kelly

James Floyd Kelly is a writer from Atlanta, GA. His latest two books are "Arduino Adventures: Escape from Gemini Station" and "Kodu for Kids." He and his wife have two young boys who are into everything, literally and figuratively.

About James Floyd Kelly

James Floyd Kelly is a writer from Atlanta, GA. His latest two books are "Arduino Adventures: Escape from Gemini Station" and "Kodu for Kids." He and his wife have two young boys who are into everything, literally and figuratively.

28 thoughts on “GeekDad Crowdstorming — Assembling An Ultimate Kid Craft Box (Plus Contest!)

  1. Needle & threads (also tapestry threads, which are a bit thicker & more colourful than plain string)
    Buttons
    old cotton thread reels (bobbins?)

  2. glue dots are handy. also, it won’t fit inside your box well, but we’ve gotten a lot of crafting mileage out if toilet paper and paper towel tubes and egg cartons.

  3. How about http://mymakedo.com/ stuff. They are a little more “product” than craft, but the cardboard knife (with the hole punch on the end) is something my 8-year-old uses regularly. The little connecting parts are cool for hinges too, and they are all reusable.

  4. Yarn in various colors
    Paints and brushes (depending on the kid, this could be messier then you want)

    I think 7 is old enough for a glue gun. Make a rule that it can only be used if supervised, and see how he does.

  5. Cotton balls and Q-tips are pretty cheap and you can do so much with them in arts and crafts! You can also usually find a stack of scapbook paper in the clearance section of JoAnns. My daughter uses this paper for all sorts of things. (Backgrounds, cut out images, and to make sweet cards :)).

    My daughter is 8. We have used to glue gun together a couple of times. It does get very hot and messy, so I agree supervision is probably a must.

    Have fun! Such a great idea!

  6. Assorted color printouts from google image searches (dragons, cars, balloons) for collages.

    MTG sleeves for designing your own card game.

    Chopsticks. Assorted colors/sizes of dice. Plastic miniatures (people, animals) that can be painted and used in dioramas (plenty of dollar stores carry these cheap).

    Mini canvases (Michaels carries these – some as small as 2.5″ square) and small assorted paints and brushes.

    Good luck and great idea!

  7. Low temperature glue gun (K-8 use these all the time at my daughter’s school), glue dots (because sometimes you do not want to deal with the glue gun), wire, elastic thread and/or other narrow elastic, velcro dots, rubber bands, glitter glue, crayons/markers, “gems” and different colored pebbles (bags of these at Michaels and probably JoAnnes), paper cups/plates/bowls, cardboard/styrofoam in different forms. I agree wholeheartedly with reuse of paper towel rolls and other household “debris,” including packing materials. Peanuts! These all saw a lot of use in in our house in all kinds of projects. And do not forget to check out the fabric ends and sale items at JoAnnes. You might find good fuzzy or glittery stuff to throw in the box.

  8. My kid would benefit from something like this soon. Cool idea.

    Best contribution I can offer to the kit would be to swing through Etsy and other homemade crafts sites, and anything you like, or think the kid would like, make sure you have supplies to do it.

    There is a TON you can do with Cardboard. So try to find a way to let him easily cut cardboard. I imagine a few knife sharpeners or pipe cutters could have an enclosed cutting surface capable of slicing through cardboard. But those do run a bit more expensive. Scissors CAN cut cardboard, but your fingers hurt after you do any large quantity.

  9. Please keep offering your suggestions! These are great!

    I meant to tell you that I took one of my 5 gallon buckets and put a pocket skirt in it (pockets on inside and out for scissors, pencils, glue sticks, etc. the bucket looks awesome and I plan on making a trip this weekend to grab so much of your suggestions.

    Thank you, readers!!!

  10. We have one of those containers that you use for a relish tray. The dip container holds sequins and the other compartments have googly eyes, pomp poms, craft foam in assorted shapes and letters, and feathers. As my kids get bored with the variety, I change it up with other odds and ends. My kids suggestion (ages 8 and 9) as a must have ~ a hole punch.

  11. wine corks/bobbers, origami paper and easy how-to books/pamphlets, fabric scraps in various sizes and shapes, styrofoam shapes (for planets, etc)

  12. Bottle caps and tops off of various containers. Straws, bubble wrap, My 9 year old loves his makedo cardboard saw.
    Yarn, toothpicks, plaster bandages, aluminum foil, stapler,

  13. You folks are outstanding! I have acquired quite a varied list of items from all your suggestions, and it is much appreciated. Have a great weekend, and know that your assistance is going to make my son’s craft bucket one amazing collection of items.

    JFK

  14. kids digital camera?we picked up a few for $20 or so for our kids a few years ago. they should be cheaper by now, and the ones made for kids are USUALLY pretty durable. (that way he can print out anything he sees and cut it for his art (or scrapbooking, especially if he has scissors with the specialty blades that cut different patterns)

  15. My son went through a stage of wanting to create everything out of paper. Sometimes they were ‘mock ups’ before making it out of something else. I bought both copy paper and a lightweight cardstock in reams from the office supply store. Much better price for the cardstock, but of course it’s all white or beige.

    He used so much tape on these projects that I ended up having him use his allowance to buy tape!

    Did you mention a ruler yet? Non toxic, washable ink pads and stamps are fun too. Of course there’s always making your own stamps out of vegetables or objects.

    A couple of ‘fancy edge’ scissors can be fun. Stencils.

    Later, he can help with recycling and get to keep the cardboard/tubes etc. IOU’s for special craft events: homemade paper mache; homemade play dough etc.

  16. #6 Recycleable plastic makes great shrinky dinks
    http://www.curbly.com/users/chrisjob/posts/2252-diy-shrinky-dinks
    and it won’t cost you a thing if you already buy pastries from the grocery store (or know someone who does).

    And old muffin tin makes a great paint tray.

    Food colouring and cornstarch are a great base for making paint. You can also use pigmented tempera powder in homemade paint.

    There are lots of simple recipes for play dough on-line.

    Clothes pins can be used to hold things together while they dry, to hang* finished art, or can be decorated to be a craft in itself.

    *I strung string across one wall of my daughter’s room – a line about every 18″, in order to hang pictures, diplomas, crafts, and artwork.

  17. Craftsmart® Plastalina Modeling Clay. It can be used over and over again and typically comes in a pack of 4 colors. you can also stick gears and pipe cleaners in it to build sculptures. I used it 10 years ago to make a pagoda roof for a project and it is still reusable (other than where I used hot glue and it melted a little). Also some colored pencils and markers.

  18. You mentioned duct tape, but for large cardboard projects you could get him a coupla’ packs of Mr. McGroovy’s box rivets for building large-scale cardboard models and forts! https://mrmcgroovys.com/

    They have plans you can download, including a free spaceship, plus a pirate ship, a castle, and more.

    If you’re looking for smaller projects using construction paper, you can get him packs of old-fashioned paper fasteners: http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/613827/Office-Depot-Brand-Round-Head-Fasteners/

    …which are great for making paper puppets or other types of jointed paper sculptures.

    Both the box rivets and the paper fasteners are reusable!

  19. Feathers. A box of popup foil sheets.
    A ceramic blade paper cutter (the ones that don’t slice their little fingers off. Straws. Sculpey is awesome, but get the 40% coupon from Michaels.
    Pebbles. Seed pods. Leaves.
    Never too early to have them burning their wee fingers with a low temp glue gun.

    THINGS NEVER, EVER TO GET:
    Martha Stewart brand glitter. Ever. I don’t care if that old jailbird is standing on a Corner Near You, handing it out with a free freaking coffee to boot. Run! Actually, kick her for me, then Run!
    I am still scraping glitter out of dark places four years later.

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