Tuesday 25 September 2012

We're a Junk-Modelling Make-do Maker Family !

Over the summer, I received an email that instantly caught my eye, asking us if we'd like to become a Make-Do Maker Family and try out some Make-Do kits to see what we could come up with. The email explained : "Have you heard of the new play sensation that takes junk modelling up a gear?  Makedo is a reusable connector system that with the help of your little ones'  imaginations transforms those toilet rolls and cardboard boxes into literally hours of fun." Well, you may remember last year we won a competition by making (amongst other things) a rather funky golden castle crafts project out of old bottles, egg boxes and a cardboard box, so this sounded right up our street.

As the packaging explains, Make-Do is a connector system allowing you to create things from the stuff around you. That means that all you get in the box are the connectors and some stickers. You need to find the rest of the raw materials yourself - time to raid the recycling box !

Oh, you also get a safe-saw. That sounded a bit paradoxical to me but Sophie bravely volunteered herself for proving that it was, indeed, safe for kids to use. It does cut through thick cardboard quite safely but I did find that you needed a knife to stab through the middles of boxes (for cutting out the windows, for example). It has a handy hole-stabber on the end too, which is useful for pushing through the connectors.

When I saw the picture on the front of the London Tube kit that we received, I gasped and thought it was going to be difficult to recreate something so large and impressive. The kids were undaunted though and managed to find a large box (that had a scooter in it originally) as well as some smaller boxes for extra cardboard.

The girls instantly got the general idea of what they wanted to do and started cutting out windows. I love it when kids are left to their own devices and immediately get on with the job, working together and creating something quite wonderful.

Madhouse Grandad got involved (I could tell he wanted to !!) helping out with the connectors, which the Madhouse Mini-testers found a bit hard to push through the cardboard. Pierre and Juliette couldn't wait and were already playing inside their train (that didn't look anything like a train yet !).

The engineering/construction aspect is guaranteed to get dads and grandads involved, which is always great news !

While Madhouse Grandad worked on the front of the train, Pierre and Juliette decided they wanted to start colouring in the outside of the box !

What really takes it up a level, transforming it from a pile of old cardboard boxes into something that really does look much more like what it is supposed to be, is the selection of rather authentic-looking stickers. The Madhouse Mini-testers had great fun adding the headlights, train number and destination.

The kids were instantly in there, taking it in turns to be the driver ! As a grown-up, I assumed they'd sit in it like a tent, placed on the floor.

But within minutes, while I headed off to the kitchen to put away the knife and make Madhouse Grandad a well-earned cup of tea, Juliette and Pierre were behind me, running around the house in fits of giggles, shouting choo-choo (they've never taken a tube, only a train, so they don't know the difference !) and calling "Tickets, please" !

"Look Mum, I can lean out of the window", laughed Pierre. "Quick, there's a tunnel coming, get back in", yelled Juliette, before whizzing them off for another lap of the dining room table. They had us in fits of giggles with their antics and anything that leads to such a high degree of creativity and imaginative play has to be a good thing in my books - especially when minutes before, it was all ready to go out for the bins !

But Juliette had one final surprise up her sleeve for me. She invited me into her train driver's cabin and plopped it over my head, which is when I discovered the fabulous interior that she'd created with the sticker pack.

The Madhouse Mini-testers absolutely loved it, playing with it all afternoon until it finally fell to bits. They particularly loved the fact that the kit has no instructions, telling you to look around you and find inspiration in the things you have at hand, so there is no right or wrong way to do it. They were very proud of their creation, especially as it was made out of, literally, a load of old junk.

The only downside is, they don't want me to throw anything away now, pointing out that we can use it all for doing the next Make-Do project !!

for more information : mymakedo.com 

Disclosure : We've been picked as a Make-Do Maker Family so we will receive free Make-Do kits throughout the year to showcase what can be done with them and share our creations online.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Cravendale Epic Straws Challenge


  1. Lovely pictures -aren't you all clever! cardboard boxes are wonderful - great to see how it encourages imagination and creativity. When my children were small I think that they preferred the big boxes to the glitzy presents at Christmas - i know what got played with more. Most towns and cites have play recycoing centres where you can get loads of 'junk' bits and pieces very cheaply - well worth looking around for locall, perhaps ask a playgoup or playscheme if they know of one.

    1. That's a great idea. With all the stuff we receive to review, cardboard boxes are one thing we're never short of though !!

  2. This just looks like so much fun and a great way to keep the kids happy on a rainy afternoon, it's definitely something I would look into buying!

  3. Makedo are brilliant, arent they?!

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty.


  4. Looks great - we had a fun afternoon a wee while ago using a huge cardboard box to make a car.Of all the toys the kids had they really did have so much fun doing this!


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