Essentials for a Playful Pantry

by , posted on March 8th, 2011 in Games & Creative Play

Recently, I picked up a small writing gig with a local news site. Each week I’ve been writing about what else? Play. The first week, I built a case for it. The second and third week I offered up some activities. Basically, it’s an extension of Classic Play!

My goal there, much like it is here, is to provide simple, active, creative and fun projects. For parents, I want to offer some ideas for when their kids come to them saying, “I’m bored.” For kids, I want to give them an opportunity to explore and create.

So today, I thought I’d share a little of what I wrote in this week’s column. My idea was to create a list of materials to have on hand for creative projects.

Actually, I liberated the idea from a list of pantry essentials Jamie Oliver came up with a few years back. I figured if someone can do it for food, I can do one for creative projects.

Part of my goal was to be inexpensive. The other goal was to create a list of items that could be combined in countless ways so kids could use the stuff to create their own…well, whatever their minds could think up.

That’s it in a nutshell.

So here it is, my list of playful pantry essentials:



Colored paper
Printer paper
Sticker paper

White glue (like Elmers)
Fabric glue
Hot glue and hot glue gun

Craft paint
Glue brushes
Paint brushes
Face paint
Spray paint (with adult supervision)


Popsicle sticks
Paper clips
Freezer paper

Shoe boxes
Paper grocery bags

Scraps of fabric
Glitter (although this one is hotly contested in our house)


Did I miss anything?


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8 Responses to “Essentials for a Playful Pantry”

  1. One Hungry Mama Says:

    March 9th, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Love this!! We also like having these things around: aluminum foil, gems (some stick on, some that need to be glued or hot glued down), tubes from paper towel and toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners and painters tape (peels right up without ruining, oh, the paint on my walls!).

    Thanks! xo

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Ooh, GREAT additions!

    An oh, aluminum foil…When my daughter was in kindergarten they made boats out of the stuff. Then they loaded them with pennies to see which boat could hold the most. Such a simple project. And I can see my kids holding their own little regatta like competition. I should try that with them.


    One Hungry Mama Reply:

    oh my goodness!! we JUST did that on friday!!! my son is a 3/4′s class and was invited to watch some of the K and 1st graders in their construction workshop. they were doing this exact activity. even tho my boy is only 4, he totally got in on the fun and i was actually able to get him to understand (approximately!) why a raft is more structurally sound than a boat with sides. :-) so fun!

  2. Heather Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    This is a great list, thanks!

    Can I also suggest: cotton balls, both colored and white, old magazines to cut up. I also include old used-up coloring books for cutting up. Great little puppets can be made with cut up pictures glued/taped to popsicle sticks.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    excellent additions!

  3. Melissa Taylor Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    also toilet paper tubes

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Ah yes. How could I leave out cardboard tubes? They can be cut up and used as wheels, for pop up puppets, building and more.

  4. Jennifer Cooper - momfilter Says:

    July 26th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    [...] Essentials for a Playful Pantry [...]

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