Author Archives: Janette Harwell

Bee Mine Kindergarten Craft

Today we’re putting together an adorable classroom craft the kindergarteners are gonna LOVE to do for their Valentine’s Day party.

Supplies you’ll need:
Clean empty milk cartons, black pipe cleaners, red construction paper, and our Bee stickers.

1. Collect empty milk carton containers from the cafeteria. Be sure to rinse out thoroughly and let dry completely.

Bee-Supplies-web2. Have each child trace his/her hand on red construction paper and cut out. This will make each bee custom and personalized.

group-of-bees-web3. Apply all four Bee stickers (front, back and two sides). Just crack and peel.

4-finished-bees-web4. Punch a hole at the top of the milk carton and thread black pipe cleaner through. Twist once at the base and then twist the ends of the antennas.

5. Then tape or glue the cut hand prints to make the wings.


6. Now it’s time to reward the busy little bees with a LOVE cookie.


Teachers if you’d like to order a Teacher Pack for your class, please email us at

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Four Books To Kickstart a Happy, Prosperous, Healthier New Year

Happy New Year. Happy New You!  These four books have really inspired me to start 2015 with a renewed, positive attitude. Enjoy.

Box Play for Kids January 2015 books_2

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
“Our brains work better when they are happy.”

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder  by Arianna Huffington
For all of you (exhausted) overachievers out there, this is a must-read. Oh and…GET MORE SLEEP!

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
“Entrepreneurs succeed when they say “yes” to the right project, at the right time, in the right way. To accomplish this, they have to be good at saying “no” to all their other ideas.” Saying “no” to good opportunities has always been a challenge for me. You? Thanks to my friend, Katie Hess, founder of Lotuswei for recommending.

Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World  by Bruce Lourie
This book was eye-opening, informative and scary but definitely worth the read. Small changes can make a big difference. And then be sure to share!

Super Bowl Fun for Kids: On Fox 10

We spent the early morning at Fox 10 with Anita Roman and Ty Brennan. Super Bowl Madness is in full swing in Arizona because we’re hosting the XLIX Super Bowl on February 1st. The Big Game is not only for the big kids.

Box Play for Kids Football Jersey Party_2

You can pre-make these cute little football + jersey party favors before SB Sunday. Each kiddo will be able to sport their favorite team jersey!

During half-time you can whip together a crafting station and your little ones can keep entertained by repurposing more toilet paper rolls and our Football stickers.
Box Play for Kids Football Crafting Station_2

See segment here.

Throwing a party? Get your Football Party Pack stickers while they last!


Box Play for Kids Featured in Natural Health Magazine

Thank you, Natural Health Magazine, for featuring Box Play for Kids. What a wonderful surprise to start off 2015! We are truly honored to be in an article entitled “Integrity Inc.: Score New Year’s inspiration from six women who made it their business to make the world greener.”

These five women entrepreneurs are doing some pretty cool things. Check out their business ventures.

1. Saudia Davis, Founder and CEO of GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, a natural cleaning company.
2. Kavita Shukla, Founder and CEO of Fenugreen and inventor of FreshPaper, a 5-inch-square biodegradable sheet infused with organic spices that extends the life of produce.
3. Maxine Bédat & Soraya Darabi, Co-founders of Zady, an e-commerce site for sustainable fashion and gifts.
4. Kirsty Lewis, Co-founder and CEO of Quinn Popcorn, a line of natural snacks. (I’m obsessed with their Kale Popcorn.)


Time For Creative Learning

The kindergarteners are learning to tell time. We had fun crafting our rainbow watches with repurposed toilet paper rolls. We had both full-color watches and black and white watches for the kids to color. We asked each of the 26 kiddos what their favorite time of  day was. The two most popular answers were:

1. 10:45: Lunch time
2. After 3pm: Time to go home to see their moms and dads.

Most creative answer:

1:00am: When I’m dreaming.

Box Play for Kids Rainbow Watch Kindergarten


Paolo’s PaRRRot Costume

I need to brag a little. This amazing costume made with recycled materials was created by my nephew, Marvin, and his brilliant son, Paolo who won Best Costume in the 4th grade! Below is their write up with fantastic photos. I chuckled when I read Marvin, the engineer’s, copy doc. It’s written so thoroughly – like an engineering report. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they managed to make this costume an actual flying machine. Enjoy!

D90_141031_14517 xx


This tutorial covers making a Parrrot Costume out of generally available recycled materials. Last Halloween my son asked me to help him make a costume rather than buying one that was store bought. The costume we came up with was “Steve” from Minecraft®. We made it out of a single box with eye cutouts. We traced a grid pattern on the box and had him color in the “pixels” to match the Minecraft® color palette. This year we got a little more ambitious and decided to do this Parrrot Costume. The original plan is not ours. We took guidance from a Makedo® costume that we found on the Instructables Web Site. That particular set of plans required purchasing a set of tools and plastic rivets to make it; we deviated from that plan by using materials we found at home or discarded at the office. In the end we constructed a costume that represented the three “R’s”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Hence, a paRRRot.


Materials for this project can be easily sourced from around the home or office.





Recycled Packaging Home or Office Feathers (wings) The more colorful and greater variety the better.
Used File Folders Home or Office Feathers (wings and head dress) Used this in the head dress since it was easier to work with and could easily be curled.
Large Cardboard Box Home, Office, Costco dumpster Wing Base and Head dress base material Any sturdy cardboard box will do.
Plastic Reinforced Tape Home or Garage Construction Otherwise known as “Duct Tape”.
Brass Round Head Fasteners Home, Office or Staples Construction You can also use a stapler for this.
Mr. McGroovey’s Rivets Structural Reinforcement Optional

The rivets are optional, but could add to the life span of the costume. Alternatives to purchasing these rivets are using spare nuts and bolts with cardboard washers to spread the load.

Other items you will need are a utility knife or scissors, a straight edge, powered drill and a stapler.


A Basis for Flight


1. Cut the cardboard box into strips that are about 6 inches wide and a bit bigger than the kid. Cut three strips that are successively smaller than the last. Round the edges to give them a natural curvature.

2. Line up the cardboard slats and attach with tape. Join them at the edges so that the tape itself forms the joint. This will allow for movement in the wings.

Feathering the Bird


1. Trace a rough outline of the feathers into a sturdy material to create a template. A template will create a systematic way of replicating a large number of feathers.

2. Using the template, trace the feathers into a substrate that you plan on using (recycled material or file folders).

3. Using utility scissors, cut the feathers out carefully.

4. For the wings, start at the bottom and work your way to the top. Do a test layout to check the patterns and overall look.

5. Again starting from the bottom, secure the feathers to the wings using duct tape. Place tape on the top surface first to secure the feathers in place, and the flip the feathers up so that you can attach the bottom surface as well.


Hang on Tight

Reinforcement Layout

1. Cut strips of cardboard to form the straps for the hands and shoulders.

2.  Layer duct tape on the straps to reinforce the straps and to make them more comfortable to use.

3. Place the feathered surface of the wings down and have the wearer of the costume lay down on the wings.

4. Measure for the placement of the shoulder and hand straps.

5. Tape the straps to the mounting locations.

6. Use more tape to secure the mounting locations.

7. Cut a cardboard reinforcement plate to place between the shoulder straps to spread the load of the wings.

8. Use more tape to secure the reinforcement plate.

(Optional) Use reinforcement rivets in at the shoulders and straps. Drill the area where they are needed and slide the rivets through to secure them.

Time to crown a recycling king!


1. Cut some 1.5 inch wide strips of cardboard to construct the headpiece.

2. Carefully measure the circumference of the wearer’s head or use their baseball hat as a template.

3. Make a circle with one strip and a ½ circle strip for vertical support.

4. Cut a triangle for the front of the crown.

5.  Figure below indicates the different areas of attachment. During our first attempt we didn’t make the triangle large enough and had to add the support areas after the initial construction. A and B marks the zone of where the feathers will be attached and C will be where the beak will be attached.

6. After thinking about the way we put it together, I would suggest that the beak be enlarged to cover the A and B areas so that the attachment points can be hidden.

7. Wrap the crown area where it will intersect with the head with layers of duct tape. This will reinforce the area, make it more comfortable to wear and make it sweat proof.

Speak of the Beak

Beak Area Layout

1. We used the template for the beak available on the Instructables site.

2. Print the template and trace it onto the substrate. The substrate should be study but thin material. We used a discarded donut box (the wax liner made for rigid yet light material to build with).

3. Cut and fold according to the template.

4. Drill very small holes to the areas that you will attach the small brass round head fasteners. Alternatively you can staple to beak together.

5. Attach the beak to the crown now or later depending on what layer you would like the beak to be. I would suggest moving on to the feathers at this point and saving the beak for last (although this is not the way we did it)

Feathers in your cap


1. Start layering the feathers from the bottom up.

2. Tape the beginning of the feather layer at the bottom and wrap it around the lower crown, secure the end with tape.

3. Drill small holes around the circumference of the crown through the feather layer and the crown substrate.

4. Pierce all the layers with the small brass round head fasteners and secure the layers together.

5. Continue up until you complete the crown.

Finishing touches

1. Drill small holes to attach the beak to the crown substrate.

2. Use the small brass round fasteners to attach the beak.

3. Using your finger tips curl the edges of the file folder feathers to give them a slight curve.

4. Take pictures!


Paolos Parrrot Results




This is a great project that requires very little capital investment. Time and planning is all it really takes, both of which we were in short supply of. We managed to put this all together the weekend before Halloween. After getting everything together we cut out more file folders to layer in between all the feathers that we originally placed. We did this to break up the corporate branding a bit. Kid participation can be as high as you are comfortable with. Ours cut out all the feathers and helped with the measurements. Good luck and happy recycling. Oh and if you plan on writing it up, take pictures along the way, not after the fact like we did. We were after all just winging it.

FrankEGGstein Craft

As you know, we’re all about recycling and repurposing boxes into new toys. Here’s a cuddly version of the ‘grotesque creature’…meet FrankEGGstein! Easy step-by-step directions below:

Box Play FrankEGGstein_1

Supplies needed: egg carton, milk carton caps, green paint & brush, googly eyes, old black sock, scissors, black pen, glue and black spray paint.

Box Play FrankEGGstein_2

Paint egg carton green and milk carton caps black.

Box Play FrankEGGstein_3

Cut old black sock and glue down to make his hair.

Box Play FrankEGGstein_4

Attach googly eyes. Then, with glue (a hot glue gun may work better for a permanent stick) adhere neck bolts to the side of the egg carton. Final step, draw in mouth.

Happy Halloween!

Box Play DIY FrankEGGstein


Spooky Spider Craft

Halloween is just around the corner! We can’t wait to carve into our pumpkins and decorate the house, inside and out. Here is an easy, spooktacular craft you can do with the kids to get everyone into the Halloween spirit.

Supplies needed: black rocks, black pipe cleaners, metallic marker and black tape

Box Play for Kids Spooky Spider Craft

Twist 4 pipe cleaners together to make legs.

Box Play for Kids Spooky Spider Craft

Take a black rock (we had some left over from a floral arrangement…gotta love repurposing things) and use black tape to secure the pipe cleaners under the rock. Bend pipe cleaners as needed to create spider legs.Box Play for Kids Spooky Spider CraftDraw in eyes and mouth with metallic pen. Be creative and have fun making silly or scary faces!

Box Play for Kids Spooky Spider Craft

Simple. Spooky. Spiders.

Box Play for Kids Spooky Spider Craft

These little critters are so cute I might keep them all year round as paperweights. Right?!