Play Everyday

365…ok 366 days of simple, inexpensive and wildly fun 2-year-old play!

Cardboard Guitar

We had the most amazing weather today. Sunny, 70-something, slight breeze…and this is February. I wasn’t going to spend one single moment inside unless it was absolutely necessary, and since Noah wore a diaper, he certainly wasn’t about to spend any amount of time inside.
We’ve collected a large assortment of moving boxes which, much to my disappointment, won’t be needed anytime soon. I thought this guitar activity, from Make It & Love It, also featured on apartment therapy, would be a great use for at least one of them.
Because it was such an AHHH-MAZING day though, a little outside guitar painting was definitely in order!

The actual assembly of the guitar however was all on me. It is what pushed this activity from fun evening play into a full-on weekend project. The template and the instructions were easy to follow. Maybe it was just that my husband was out of town for the week and cardboard guitars, cool as they are, weren’t a priority.

The size, traced from a ukulele, is just perfect for Noah. Having to cut around those curves was another story. At this point all I could think was, I have to cut FOUR MORE??!


And when I presented him with this rudimentary, no-frills, stringless cardboard guitar and got this reaction…

…I really began to question continuing on.


But I did. For reasons I still question.



While stringing the rubber bands through the tiny holes, I began to look back fondly on the cutting of the cardboard which was a breeze compared to this. What kind of cardboard did they use?? Did it by chance contain rebar? Because this is what my efforts produced:



Oh and remember how happy he was with that rudimentary, no-frills, stringless cardboard guitar…


By now I had to make this work. I couldn’t let the cardboard guitar win. I glued a paint stir stick in the neck of the guitar which fixed the bending. The strings were taut and actually made noise! My little rock star loved it!



But you know, he loved it all along. In fact, I bet he loved it when it was just a cardboard box. We always want to do the most amazing and magical things for our kids. Sometimes it’s more than worth it (like when you’re good at making cardboard guitars). But sometimes, maybe even most times, magic is found in simple things like cardboard boxes and small moments of quality time with a mama who is fully present. Lesson learned, thanks to my boy ❤

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Indoor Monkey Bars

I’ve been wanting to make this for Noah for some time.  Ever since we played at our friend’s house and saw this…


And yes – that would be my son.  Always nakie even when all his friends are fully clothed.  In jeans and long-sleeved shirts at that.  Anyway, I knew I couldn’t do it alone and with Pop in town for a few days I thought it would be the perfect time for this project.  My Dad can’t sit still anyway and he’s always looking for an excuse to get out of the house so he and Nannie were off, boy in tow, to gather supplies at Lowe’s.

There’s no real blue print for this project.  Certainly it could be more elaborate but even at its current size we hardly have room for it in the house.  But when I posted this picture on Facebook……I had a lot of people wanting to know how to make it themselves.  So here are a few up close pictures to inspire your own creation, as well as an important safety upgrade:

Nearly the entire structure is made with 1.5″ PVC pipe.  The adjustable handle uses .5″.  Once Noah really started swinging, Pop thought he should better stabilize the bar by adding two 45 degree angle braces.  Also, although it’s not seen in the photograph above, there are three levels for the main hanging bar.  The caps come off so the bar can be moved up as Noah grows or completely removed (as seen above).


During the safety upgrade, he also added screws so the contraption can be taken down into 2 pieces and stored a bit easier.  Lining up the tiny screw holes when re-assembling would be a nightmare though so he even thought to leave 2 little marks.  When those line up we know we have our screw holes lined up.  (Man, that just sounds awful)

Now go flex those baby muscles!

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