We all remember handing out Valentines in grade school, and most were probably deposited in a shoebox covered with construction paper and adorned with heart cutouts. Boxes for boys and girls alike were covered in pink and red and as long as it had a slot for the card to go in, we called it good. This year, send your son to school on February 14th with a box for his Valentine cards that will be the envy of every other boy in his class.
A shoebox is the most common item used to make a Valentine mailbox and there are a number of ways to kick it up a notch. Any rectangular box can become a train or robot with a bit of imagination and creativity. Make it red with either paint or paper and you have a fire engine, complete with ladders fashioned from ice cream sticks and toothpicks to grace the sides. A longer, skinnier box can be covered with aluminum foil to be transformed into an 18-wheeler or moving van, with a milk carton becoming the cab of the truck. If you use light colored paper instead of foil, you can hand letter or stencil the company name (Joey B's Trucking Co along the length of the box, or Valentine Movers on a cutout heart logo, for example).
Who says hearts have to be red and romantic? Cover a box in solid colored paper (a grocery sack would work well), then cut out brown, beige and black hearts from construction paper and glue to the box in a random camouflage pattern. The hearts will satisfy the Valentine theme, but the camo colors and pattern can turn a plain box into a military vehicle or tank that will delight any little boy.
Note: A tissue box could be substituted for a shoebox for any of these ideas.
Coffee Can Creations
Have a drummer boy in your family? Wash out a large coffee can and make sure there are no sharp edges around the rim. Cover the outside with red paper or paint, then draw large gold triangular shapes around the circumference to resemble a drum. Cut a slot out of the plastic lid to insert the Valentines, and attach chopsticks as drumsticks to finish the look. For a more rustic theme, hot glue latigo or rawhide strips instead of drawing the triangles, and attach a feather or two for an instant Indian tom-tom.
After breakfast is done, turn the oatmeal container into an oil tanker. As with the tractor trailer, use a small milk carton for the cab, and simply cover the cylinder with plain paper that you can stencil or hand letter as mentioned for the trucks above.
Not high tech enough? Take the oatmeal canister out of this world by fashioning it into a rocket or spaceship. Cover the container with aluminum foil for a more industrial look, or plain paper where you can draw windows and buttons and other gadgets. Let your little astronaut use rubber stamps or cutouts to affix star and moon shapes to his rocket, or add stickers with an appropriate space theme. Fold thin cardboard (from pantyhose, or use poster board) into a cone shape for the nose of the spaceship and get ready to blast off!
Think Inside the Box
Plundering through your son's toy box should spark other ideas. What surprises inside could become the prototype for a Valentine box your son won't be embarrassed to take to school?
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