creative challenge 7: magazinesToday I have something extra cool in store for you. Kiwi Crate and I are bringing you a super-star line-up of rockin’ kid-friendly bloggers for a no holds barred invitational kid-centered magazine challenge, and an extra-special Kiwi Crate box giveaway at the end of this post. Each of the 20+ bloggers spent some time tinkering, plotting, creating, and playing with their kids to come up with an activity that your kids will enjoy. After you read about how we manipulated and upcycled our magazines, spend some time checking out all the other ideas. Bookmark them or pin them, because you’re sure to need these ideas on a rainy or snowy day. Okay, do you have a cuppa ready? Here we go…

creative challenge 7: magazinesI spent about 20 minutes ripping pages from my favorite alumni magazine. Do you ever read yours? Loved the school, but sadly, the magazine just rolls right into my recycling bin each month. So I happily rolled the glossy pages of ho-hum stories into tubes, taped them with clear tape, and added them to a tall vase. The next morning, my 3 year old woke up to this provocation: Magazine tubes, clear tape, a stapler, and a bowl of stickers. I didn’t have a plan and was curious to see where she would take it.

creative challenge 7: magazinesShe started by taping the tubes together, ignored the stapler and stickers completely, and then found another roll of tape so that I could help her. Right, tape is popular. Must remember that!

creative challenge 7: magazinesThis is how it began.

creative challenge 7: magazinesThen she cut some tubes down to smaller pieces. How could I have forgotten the scissors? Tape and scissors…check. But that’s okay, we must have about 20 pairs and she knows where to find them.

creative challenge 7: magazinesOh, and she loves ribbon too. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with provocations when she knows her own mind. She found a few rolls and brought them over to the table. We created this structure together and then she wore it on her head for part of breakfast.

creative challenge 7: magazinesThe next day her dad took a turn at the table and this is what they came up with. I’m fascinated by it because my husband has a huge thing for hanging sculptures. I mean HUGE. It’s a wonder I’m not constantly banging my head on things that hang from our ceilings.

creative challenge 7: magazines He screwed an eye-hook into the ceiling, tied a piece of ribbon through it, and hung their masterpiece over the couch.

creative challenge 7: magazinesWhen standing on the couch, my daughter can bat at it, so I think I’ll call it an interactive hanging magazine sculpture. 

Creative Challenge Participants:

Child Central Station , kids in the studioTeach MamaThe Imagination Tree,Childhood101Teach Preschoolhands on as we grow, Artful Parent, Paint Cut PasteA Mom With A Lesson PlanToddler ApprovedKiwi Crate, Art 4 Little Hands,  Red Ted ArtThe Chocolate Muffin Tree,  Imagination Soup,Michelles Charm World, Messy PreschoolersTinker Lab, Mommy Labs, Putti Prapancha, Sun Hats and Wellie Boots

Kiwi Crate has generously offered to give away one crate box to two randomly chosen winners. Each box includes all the materials and inspiration for 2-3 projects related to a theme (e.g., dinosaurs.)  Projects may include arts and crafts, science activities, imaginative play and more, and have been hand-selected and kid-tested to be open ended and encourage curiosity, exploration and creativity! I love Kiwi Crate because it embraces the same process-oriented activities that I promote on this blog, but it’s all packaged up beautifully and delivered right to your door. To enter, leave a comment with your child’s age/s and favorite upcycled materials. And then hop on over to the Kiwi Crate blog for another chance to win. Winner’s address must be in the U.S. Deadline for entry: Monday, December 12, 9pm PST. Comments Closed. Thank you to all of you for your comments. The winner is Susan P! 

creative challenge 7: magazines

Your Turn…

What would you (and your kids) make with magazines? If you have a kid-centered magazine project that you’d like to share, please add your link to the blog hop or comment section below. And feel free grab the button or copy the text into your HTML. Tinkerlab Creative Challenge Code:<a href=”https://tinkerlab.com/” target=”_blank”><img style=”border: 2px;” src=”https://tinkerlab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/tinkerlab-challenge-button.png” alt=”Tinkerlab Creative Challenge” width=”150″ height=”150″ border=”2″ />


  1. Oh my I love all the activity going on here, rolling, sticking, glueing hanging! Looks great fun!

    Thank you so much for hosting such a fabulous challenge. So excited to have had a go – we love recycling!!


    • I’m so glad you were part of the fun, Maggy!

  2. What a fun activity!  I rolled about 150 of those puppies for a wreath I made…yikes!  When I saw your table set up I was thinking “why don’t I do that?”  Then as I read on I realized M and M would just change the materials any way.  I guess our creative kids know just what they want and it’s better that way ;).

    M and M (6 and 4) love to use egg cartons… although they greet ALL of the items in our recycle box with wide, sparkling eyes!

    • Rolling 30 of these felt like a lot, but 150! I bet it was a pretty wreath 🙂 Even though my daughter does her own foraging, the provocations still do a decent job of setting the tone. I’m learning a lot as she grows and gets older!

  3. I love how N just gets what she needs. Whatever, Mom! We all know who’s in charge. 🙂

    Hmm…paper, I guess. And cardboard tubes, but they aren’t used for crafting, they are used for creative play.

    • Yes, we all know who’s in charge! Isn’t that true?!

  4. This looks so much fun! Especially by hanging it, she must have felt enthralled.  
    Thank you so much, Rachelle, for setting up such an enjoyable challenge that let our creative juices flowing…!

    • And thank you, Rashmie, for joining in the fun!

  5. Love the hanging sculpture idea! Love when husbands/Dads get involved with the project…..wouldn’t that be a great blog challenge: a Dad guided post challenge!?
    I will definitely be pinning this idea along with many others….our kids will never be bored! 

    Thanks for inviting us in on the challenge. We had lots of fun and my mind is already thinking of more ideas for upcycling magazines!

    • I do love it when my husband gets involved. He’s every bit as artsy as me, but he doesn’t have the same bounty of time as I do. They really enjoy this time together. And thank you, Melissa, for being part of the challenge! 

  6. This is such a fun project!! Thanks for the challenge, so many creative ideas out there, love them all.

  7. I love the ideas! My kids C (10) and N (3) love used ribbon/twine, sticks and rocks from outside, and leftover fabric strips and empty thread spools. They have created me an entire village with just these things!

    • And I bet it was a beautiful village! So simple…I love it.

  8. The hanging sculpture is great! Letting kids explore their own ideas…using materials they think of and choose…that’s one reason I love your blog.

    We’re definitely going to try this.

    • Oh, thank you so much, Scott. Coming from you, this is a huge compliment! While we sometimes do more grown-up-guided projects, these kid-centered ones are amazing at building confidence and teaching a child to think for themselves. And it’s so fun to see what they come up with!

    • I’m sure you don’t want to sell the projects 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  9. Hi! My son is 3 and his fav upcycle is paper towel tubes. The become a bassoon, pirate telescope, microphone, car tunnel – can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

    • Aren’t paper towel tubes wonderful? Check out our tube challenge and add a picture of one of your creations in the comment section if you’d like!

  10. My kids are age 7, 5 and 2.  They love to upcycle toilet paper tubes as well as any cardboard material.  We keep a big box of recycled materials available for them always.  

    I love your daughters sculpture.  What a fun idea.  We made doll houses for this challenge and in the past we have used magazines to cut out animals and learn.  My daughter also made some cool coasters out of magazines too!

    • The stash of recyclables is an important part of the art cabinet, isn’t it?! Thanks for joining in the fun…your doll house in wonderful!!

  11. Great job!! Looks like a lot of fun 🙂 TAPE is always huge in this house too!!

    Autumn 6, Gabriel 5, Roman 4 all love Caps! We use them for so many activities and different things and they are easy to collect!

    • Isn’t tape the best?! We must own 20+ rolls! And caps…when my 1 year old is a bit older (and stops gnawing on everything) we’ll add those back into the mix…thanks for the reminder.

      • A fun tip, we store our rolls of tape on a paper towel holder! It works great and it’s portable! Once I get the craft space right where I like it, I plan to put them on a towel bar mounted on the sides of the craft table!

  12. Love the idea and all of the creative blogger links – thanks for organizing such imaginative recycled ideas!!

  13. I was going to say we roll them into tubes and build wild and wacky sculptures, but you just did that!! LOL! We add yarn and feathers and all kinds of “whatever” to make the sculptures explode with creativity. These same sculptures work great with rolls of newspaper (much bigger), and on the smaller side, with drinking straws and regular tape. Thanks for the reminder of how much fun magazines can be. 
    ~ MaryAnn Kohl
    PS I just saw a post on Artful Parent about making transfers for T-shirts from magazine pictures.

    • MaryAnn, since I aspire to be just like you, I’m so glad to hear that we think alike!! 🙂 After reading through some of these comments, I realize that this really is a “tube” project. Aren’t tubes and magazines wonderful?! Lucky for us, The Artful Parent joined this challenge and the magazine post is part of it!

  14. We haven’t done much with magazines though I am thinking we need to do a paper mache project soon.  The one thing that gets reused the most here is packing paper that comes in packages and some leftover packing papers from when we moved.  They’re perfect for artwork!

  15. We haven’t done much with magazines though I am thinking we need to do a paper mache project soon.  The one thing that gets reused the most here is packing paper that comes in packages and some leftover packing papers from when we moved.  They’re perfect for artwork!

    • Isn’t the scale and texture of that packing paper wonderful? 

  16. my babes are 5 and 2. And they, like i, LOVE using the mail as a tool to create. infact i think that is why the mail comes to our door everyday!!!!
    i am making christmas ornaments with thin strips of Anthropologies catalogue (my favorite paper to use and it comes once a month! for free!). i twist and sew… wait a minute! this is about the kids! they can make hanging tree sculptures too:)

    • Ooooh, I want to see your Anthropologie ornaments! And I’m totally stealing your mail/art idea…hope you don’t mind :) 

  17. My girls are 3 and 1 and they of course love the ultimate upcycled item: the cardboard box.

  18. this is super cool! i always love how child-directed and open the art adventures are in your home. your kids are lucky to have you as a momma!

    • Thanks Jen. I hope my kids would agree!

  19. My 6 yr old son has gone through phases where I have to hide the recycling bin from him. He likes to take the materials and build towns out of them. It’s fun to see what he comes up with…just not so much fun when they’re taking over the house. He’ll take food packaging boxes and cut out windows, then puts plastic over them for the glass. He’ll cut out doors and build stairs and chimneys and so on. We’re starting to take pictures of them so that maybe they can re-make their way back out to the recycling bin.  Our 4 year old has spent an inordinate amount of time simply cutting up paper into TEENY, tiny, and I do mean tiny, pieces. She started this at about 2.5 years of age and has gone through phases since. I figure it’s teaching fine muscle control and a cheap way to pass the time! 🙂

    • I totally get this! I suppose the tradeoff of having a house jam-packed with sculptures or overwhelmed with teensy pieces of scattered paper is that your kids are engaged and building self-confidence. I’m constantly navigating the push-pull of saying yes or no to things that I know are good for my kids when it’s too messy or time consuming for me. 

  20. Fun fun fun! Boys, ages 4 & 7. Favorite re-usuable art projects include paper towel/toilet roll tubes, egg cartons and cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes! Thanks for the chance to win!

  21. ds 7. dd 10. we love to use felted sweaters. also corks. :) 

  22. Yeah, my 6 year old girl LOVES toilet paper and paper towel tubes. A million ways to play and create with those things.

  23. Fun! My boys are 5, 4, & 1 and we love crafting with recycled materials. We especially love paper towel tubes and magazines! 🙂

  24. I do crafts with my nephew (7) and niece (4) we love toilet paper rolls!

  25. Egg cartons are a favorite as well a magazines

  26. My daughters (1 1/2 & 6 months) are always finding new uses/ideas for emptied oatmeal cardboard containers.

  27. My kids (4 and 2) are forever asking to use scissors and tape to repurpose anything they can get their hands on! We recently made Christmas trees out of old knitting yarn cones. No need for styrofoam forms! 🙂

  28. I used to love making paper beads with colorful magazines, but I hated cutting all the strips.  Maybe I can rig up a paper trimmer to do the job more efficiently.

    • Yes, you can!  You can also find multi-blade scissors for chefs, designed to cut herbs, which may be worth investigating. Like these: https://www.amazon.com/Harold-Imports-Stainless-Steel-Multi-Blade-Scissors/dp/B000X7IJKI

  29. What a fab line up of bloggers and some awesome ideas!
    I love the creation your little one made… my kids are tape lovers too. They are each getting a few different rolls in their stocking for Christmas!

    • Thanks for the great idea, Kate! N has been enthralled by this patterned tape at our neighbor’s house, and I think I’ll pick up a few rolls for her for the holidays.

  30. My son, 4, will take yarn and tape and string it across the playroom like a spiderweb. He always claims its a machine. I think he’s thinking of a rube goldberg machine, he just doesn’t understand physics yet. Large cardboard boxes are also a favorite.

  31. My daughter is 2.5 . . . and favorite upcycled item is paper, used plastic gift cards

  32. I was so excited for this one! I rolled up pages of a pretty catalogue and stuck the tubes in a new Christmas mug next to scissors, tape and a stapler for my son to find. He promptly ignored everything but the stapler which he spent the next 20 minutes happily dismantling and trying to figure out. Oh well, I had fun stapling the tubes into giant stars to hang on the windows.

    For the contest– he’s 3.5 and loves toilet paper rolls. He’s made binoculars, rocket ships, telescopes, boats, leaf blowers… you name it!

    • Ha Ha!! Thanks for sharing your story with me. I have those moments all the time and try not to get frustrated. As they say, ” You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

  33. I can’t get the second linky to work on my other blog posts.

  34. Our favorite art materials right now are tape, staples and any kind of paper.  Endless hours of enjoyment. 

  35. The 6 yr old loves cupcake liners and coffee filters and the 3 yr old loves any kind of string.

  36. Happy to visit your page and be a part of this challenge . We usually collect pictures from magazines for school projects . My daughter is 5 yrs old .

  37. I love this! We have so many catalogs now because of the holidays, and my (2yo) daughter’s been practicing cutting out pictures, but I think demonstrating how to roll the pages and providing tape and scissors, maybe a few stickers, will lead to something brand new. I can’t wait to try!

    I think our favorite upcycled materials here are paper plates, so many things you can do with them, and egg cartons. Although really we’ve used virtually every type of container one might find at a grocery store for various projects. 🙂

  38. My son is 3.  His favorite upcycled material is a classic — a cardboard box.  These are good for wearing on your head, launching into the air, a home for stuffed animals, a garage for cars, and a jail for bad guys, among other things.  Fortunately it’s box season and they seem to be magically showing up at our front door.

  39. 2 Boys ; the 3 year old loves paint and scissors, the 8 year old loves cardboard and tape more than anything else!

  40. My kids are 11, 8, 5, 4, and 1, and we go through tape like crazy, too! Right now they’re on a diorama kick, and have used up every stray shoebox and random piece of cardboard they can find. Paper napkins are another art-making favorite lately. They seem to find napkins to be more interesting than regular paper for cutting and taping. I keep meaning to direct them toward snowflake making with that one, but it hasn’t quite happened yet. 🙂

  41. i have a 4, 2, and 9 month old 🙂 we love all things trash! right now we are having fun transforming cardboard boxs

  42. My son who’s 2 plays with every egg carton we finish … we use them in the obvious ways … receptacles for Montessori transfer activities, counting games, etc. But he also loves taking a box of toothpicks and poking them into the cups to make a “spiky caterpillar” sort of thing. 

  43. old string and yarn is always being turned into “traps” around here be a certain cagey 5 year old!

  44. I have a 6 and 3 year old at home, and they are constantly coming up with projects with paper towel tubes. I adore their creativity!

  45. My boys are 6 yrs old.  They love yarn and old toilet paper tubes.  Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

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