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Junk Modelling

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Junk modelling is always a hit in our house.Our shed is bulging with all sorts of boxes that I have been told I must not throw away as they are going to be “used” in some “grand project” that may turn out to be nothing more than splodging a bit of paint all over them.

I say “nothing more than” but that’s the great thing about junk modelling …

… it can be a fun part of thematic, reasonably structured play but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to leave your child alone and let them paint and stick away to their heart’s content without any … perish the thought! … ‘outcome’ …

In addition, it’s just a great way to help our children be aware of the implications of throwing so much ‘rubbish’ away and to help them be resourceful about re-using stuff.

And finally … but in no ways least! … it is extremely kind on mummy’s purse!Who needs toys when you’ve a cardboard box or two to hand …

Great Junk Modelling Ideas

Here’s a roundup of some really great junk modelling ideas to inspire you and your kiddos to get turning junk into treasure…


My three year old and her friends are obsessed with playing hairdressers and these shoe lace, ribbon and milk carton ‘beauty shop busy boards’ from Crafty Journal would be a definite hit. And this is an idea that could be easily adapted for all sorts of complex fine motor activity such as threading, lacing and tying.

As Crafty Journal shows with these milk bottle top printing stamps, you can use junk to actually create things you can then use in other play activities over and over again …
Discovering Breadcrumbs worked this lovely tissue box train into a fun alphabet recognition activity
My daughter is “Exploring Space” at the moment at nursery so we’ve been getting all excited about planets and are going to go off to the Science Museum to see if we can find the rockets that her great-grandfather helped to build. Then we’re going to build our own rocket … like The Good Life Mum … and travel faster than light to my daughter’s favourite planet, Saturn.
Completely free form painting … and glittering 🙂 … of a box can be a wonderful way for a child to build a “treasure box” like this one for seaside treasures from The Good Life Mum …
As In the Playroom reminds us, junk modelled instruments are always winners …
Life With Moore Babies used junk modelling of these lovely free form pictures as a way of helping her children think about
garbage and what can be recycled or re-used.
Even if you’re building junk modelling into some thematic learning, the junk modelling itself doesn’t have to be directed as Life With Moore Babies shows with this completely free form “car” her kids made whilst exploring mechanics …
I just love this idea from Mommys Pinkie Lip Gloss and I know my daughter will too when we try it. Simple draw life size outlines of yourselves and then dress yourselves with whatever scraps of paper and fabric that you have lying around. My daughter will have a ball “dressing mummy”!
Over 40 And Mum to One made this super cute penguins on Earth Day providing a great opportunity to think about the richness of the planet and our responsibility to care for it by not stuffing land fills through of all of our rubbish …

All those screw tops on plastic bottles provide brilliant opportunities for some fine motor play and I simply love this brilliant colour-matching, screw top board from Sol da eira.

These mini helicopters made with egg cartons by The Craft Train might need a bit of direction from mum but they are still super simple and would be a wonderful addition to any exploration of flight …

Toddle Fast used this very simple “house” made from a paper bag as a way of introducing the Spanish words for houses in her bi-lingual household.

There are endless opportunities for junk modelling when children are “cooking” in the home corner, as Toddle Fast highlights with these fabulous pizzas …

The possibility for building long last toys out of junk are endless. I love this miniature golf from old cans by The Craft Train and it’s a great way to show children than junk can be durable.

Angela Scaueru

Wednesday 16th of October 2013

Have a look also at these cardboard fairy wings we did with the kids. They are easy to make and very nice to play with.

Alice Emma Thompson

Wednesday 16th of October 2013

They are brilliant Angela - do add them to the link up. Lots more people will see them that way - Alice

Kriss MacDonald

Friday 11th of October 2013

Some great ideas in this list especially as my kids won't let me throw out one single carton or box!#pocolo

Kim Carberry

Friday 11th of October 2013

Ohh what fun!! Great ideas x

Victoria Welton

Friday 11th of October 2013

These are fabulous - I love the title junk modelling :) Some really good ideas for me to come back to. There are so many talented people out there. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

Coombe Mill

Friday 11th of October 2013

Some great junk modelling ideas in here #PoCoLo