Of all the types of lights out there, Christmas lights typically shine the brightest for the shortest amount of time. They make their dazzling debut after Thanksgiving, only to be boxed up and stuffed away in attics and basements for a whole year. What if you could find new and creative uses for them beyond the holiday season? Take a look at these three ideas to learn how you can do just that while entertaining the kids in the process.
Brighten Up the Play Area
Image via Flickr by Anton Fomkin
You’ll be amazed to see how a few strands of lights can transform an otherwise ho-hum play space into something magical for kids. Rope lights from Christmas Lights Etc are an especially good fit for a play room or a child’s bedroom. Wind them around the top of the room as a border, string them across the ceiling, or decorate the bed with them. You can also fashion your child’s name or a fun shape like a cartoon character outline or a rainbow on the wall.
Make a Light Box
You might have heard of a creative plaything called a light box. This device emits light through a translucent surface so that everything on it appears in a different light. Christmas lights and a clear, flat storage bin are all you’ll need to make one of these for your little ones. White lights work best here, but colored lights work just fine, too.
Arrange the lights evenly in the storage bin, and thread the plug up and out the corner of the tub. You should still be able to close the lid. If you can’t, drill a small hole in one of the sides to thread the plug through. Cover the inside of the lid with sheets of tracing paper, taping them in place. After you close the lid, turn off the lights. Your kids now have an illuminated play surface for tracing, translucent toys, and more.
Build a Twinkly Cave
If you have a strand of Christmas lights, a pen, and a large cardboard box, you’re only a few steps away from delighting your children with a twinkling light cave. Cut one end off of the box, making sure it’s large enough for your child to sit upright. If you can’t find a box that big, just tape several pieces of cardboard together until you have a cave-like structure.
Next, grab a pen or pencil, then punch about 50 holes in the top of your box cave. Take the string of lights, then thread each light through a hole so that they’re visible from inside the box. Plug in the lights, then invite the kids to their new hideaway, watching how mesmerized they are by its twinkly ceiling. A twinkly cave is also a great way to entertain babies.
Who said Christmas lights were only useful in December? With these three suggestions, your Christmas lights are sure to earn their way out of storage by offering hours of creative play for the kids.