Apr 23, 2012

Cardboard Shape Sorter Project

This project, found over at play and grow, appeals to 3 of my ongoing obsessions.

Image: play and grow

To start with, Evengy Kudryavtsev recycles cardboard, mostly Pampers boxes which I have in abundance, into educational toys for toddlers. That's two out of three obsessions right there. Thirdly, he's Russian, which you may or may not have guessed from his name.

When I first saw this I just felt so stupid that I had not thought of it sooner for my own son. I've looked at different wooden shape sorting toys and made plans for making one myself but this is such a wonderful idea that has just been staring me in the face. I guess that's the thing with the best ideas, they're just so simple.

The materials you will need:
1. Cardboard
2. Pack of wooden dowels (you can pick these up at any DIY store)
3. PVA glue
4. Paint (of your choice) or colourful card stock.
5. Craft knife
6. Pencil
7. (optional) Drill and drill bit (the same size as your wood dowels)

To begin with, cut 3 pieces of cardboard 260mm by 80mm.
Glue 2  of the pieces together and paint white.

Image: play and grow

Using the dimensions detailed below, mark out the holes, on the painted cardboard, with a pencil.

Image: play and grow

When making the holes, use the pencil to punch some of the way through the cardboard. You can use the wooden dowels to widen and complete the holes as they will need to fit snugly into the cardboard. Use your craft knife to remove any excess cardboard on the reverse side.

Image: play and grow
Glue the last piece of cardboard to the bottom, which will form your base and hold the dowels in place. 
Use some more glue when placing the dowels into the cardboard for extra stability.

Next, cut your geometric shapes. Dimensions below.

Image: play and grow

Cut two versions for each shape (using the first version as your template for the second - the must be exactly the same). Glue two piece together.
Image: play and grow

To make the holes, pierce the cardboard with a pencil (as you did with the base) and use any extra dowels to complete the holes, cutting away any extra cardboard from the reverse side.

Alternatively, if you have a drill with a drill bit the same size as the wooden dowel, simply drill a hole in the cardboard, starting slowly with little pressure as you may tear the cardboard.

Image: play and grow

It's a good idea to make a couple of sets of the shapes so that you can have a variety of colours.
Test them all out on the wood dowels and adjust the slope of the dowels or the diameter of the holes accordingly.

Image: play and grow
All that's left to do is pop some colour on them and you're ready to go.
If you are using paint, make sure it's non toxic child friendly paint.
If you are using colorful card stock, use the dimension above to cut out your shapes and glue them in place.

Image: play and grow

I'll be sure to keep an eye on more of Evgeny's fantastic inventions and if you have kids in your house or young children in your family, I'm sure you'll find more wonderful ideas on his site.


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