As parents, we often forget that some of the simplest things can be the most fun. Paper towel tubes are one of those things. Give a child a paper towel tube and see how many ways they’ll figure out how to play with it. The below dancing ribbon wand takes a plain paper towel tube and transforms it into a whole day’s worth of fun.

Here are a few suggestions for supplies to create something special:

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tissue paper
  • Crepe paper
  • Any kind of stickers, crayons, or markers
  1. The rest is easy and totally up to you on how much time you want to spend making this craft. I decided to fancy-up my paper towel tube, so I found some tissue paper scraps I had left over from the holidays and covered my tube with it.

2. You can also paint your tube, use our old friend the coffee filter, or cut up old magazines. I left about a quarter of the tube plain to be used as a handle.

3. Next, I added some dot stickers for fun. (These can be found at one of your local stores.) You can also color it with crayons or markers or add any kind of stickers you might have around your home.

When my children were little, the birthday fairies used to come and decorate the house for the special day. I was fortunate to have several rolls of crepe paper streamers they had left behind.

4. If you don’t have crepe paper, the Dollar Tree has a nice variety of colors. You can also use ribbon, decorated newspaper cut into strips, scrap material, etc.

5. For your streamers to really dance, you’ll want to cut two strips of the crepe paper twice the length of the tube itself. So, if the tube is 12 inches, you’ll want about 24 inches of streamer. If your child is very small, cut the ribbon or streamer to accommodate for your child’s size, otherwise they’ll just get tangled up in it and find it frustrating.

6. After you’ve got your streamers cut to the desired length, fold it in half, and then fold it half again, and then fold it in half one last time… or for the more mathematically minded, fold it in thirds.

7. Once it’s all folded, take your scissor and cut in half lengthwise.

8. Grab your glue and put a generous amount on one end of your streamer. Glue it to the inside of the paper towel tube.

For the sake of balance, I found it helpful to glue a streamer on one side, and then glue the next one on the opposite side. But honestly, I don’t think it really matters all that much, so let your child have fun and glue them however they want. Now your dancing ribbon wand is done!

Take them outside and sing some songs as you and your child dance along. If it’s rainy and cold, crank up some tunes and dance the doldrums away.

When you are all danced out, take a break and enjoy this week’s bilingual storytime short featuring the book Salsa Lullaby by Jen Arena. There are a lot of fun books in the collection that will inspire you and your child to dance and move: take a look at the list titled Dancing Feet, and check them out!