Vintery, Mintery

A little crazy, a lot of fun.

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Googly Eyes Make Everyone Look Better

Great afternoon activity:

Cut up a bunch of photos of animals or people and glue googly eyes on them.

These eventually became puppets with chopsticks taped on the back.


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Create Better Blocks

I have a really nice set of hardwood blocks.  But I was about to throw out some floor samples and suddenly it occured to me that these would make great additions to the blocks.


So I added:

  • A rubber floor sample
  • A piece of synthetic grass
  • A few larger pieces of pine (8″ wide cut into various lengths)
  • Some scrap samples left over from my sister’s gate – very dense, dark hardwood already stained


M had a great time making garages and putting the cars on pedestals.  Very mid-century design and a lot more creative than just a set of blocks.


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Pimp Your Play Kitchen


Play kitchens are expensive.  I had resolved to make one out of cardboard boxes when the timing seemed right.  However, after watching the boy play with some play kitchens at a preschool we tried out, I decided that the whole idea of playing with a non-functional sink was probably not nearly as fun as playing with a real sink.

To quote M, “Mommy, why doesn’t this sink work?”


So I built a small box around an 18 gal Rubbermaid container.


The top of the sink is a piece of scrap melamine MDF with a hole cut out to fit an IKEA TROFAST storage tray.  I cut a hole in the tray (which was no easy task) and hot glued a drain into it.  Lots of hot glue.  The IKEA peeps don’t like their plastic to be easily cut by irritated moms with dull jigsaws.  I recommend finding an alternative.


The faucet is a PVC toilet fitting sprayed silver.


Then I ran pond tubing through that and stuck a cheap tabletop fountain pump in the Rubbermaid and voila!  $32 later a functional recirculating sink.


Hours of fun indoors or out.


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Why not make a giant ball pit?

What do you do with a two-year-old in a tiny one-bedroom apartment?

Construct a ball pit, of course.

I built a simple frame out of 2×8’s stacked together.  They are just connected with some braces so that they are easy to dismantle.


I sized the pit to fit exactly the size of a twin mattress.  There is a piece of 1×2 Douglas fir screwed on both long sides to support bed slats (purchased from IKEA) and then the mattress goes on top.


I wanted about 12 full inches of balls.  Some simple math: 1500 balls.  Ordered!


But, when they came, two problems emerged.  One, I put the balls directly on top of the carpet.  This somehow doesn’t feel right.  So I pulled them all back out and stuck two yoga mats underneath.  Removing all the balls is a hassle, so yoga mats should go down first.


The second issue was that while the kids were having a blast adults would sink to the bottom.  This ruins the ball pit experience – you need to have at least one layer of balls to feel buoyant so back on the phone to order some more.  I actually was able to score an extra 300 from various parents eager to get rid of the balls (they are far less fun when you just have 100).  1800 is the critical number, but it does overflow with adults.


Rules of the ball pit: no eating or drinking.  Those balls are hard to clean!


Thumbs up for this project.  I use it more than the boy!