DIY | Index Card Blocks

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Here’s a simple and inexpensive DIY block project kids will enjoy creating and using. The upside is that you can make 100 of them in 5 minute for about a dollar, the downside is they will not be as long lasting as a set of maple unit blocks. I think there’s still great value in these blocks.

Supplies

  • Index Cards
  • Scissors

Make The Blocks

It only takes a few snips. The idea is to make four uniform cuts on each card–about .5 inch long and one inch in from the cards short edge. Check out the image below for a visual.

Just make a snip about .5 inches long about an inch from each edge.

Speed up the process by cutting multiple cards at once. In my experiments, I found 5 cards at once worked pretty well.

I didn’t do any measuring. The snips don’t have to be exact, you just want them to be fairly consistent.

If you’re allowing kids to do the snipping, drawing cut-lines for them to follow may be helpful.

Guidelines can help.

To build with these blocks, you just slip the slot of one card into the slot of a second card.

Slip them together to build.

Once you master that basic connection principle, you can start building structures.

Some Tips

Younger kids might have some difficulty slipping the cards together. You can alleviate some of their struggle with a bit more cutting. Instead of a simple slit, cut a tiny (SUPER tiny) wedge from each corner. This will allow the card to slip together easier. (It’ll also mean a bunch of teeny tiny scraps to clean up.) Here’s a side-by-side look at a card with tiny wedge cuts (the blue one) and regular snips (the pink card).

The slits are week spots–the most likely place for these paper blocks to rip as little hands try to connect them. You can make the blocks a bit more durable with some tape. Just apply a piece to each corner–centered at the location you’ll be cutting and looping around the card’s edge and adhering to both sides of the card. (Make sure the tape extends beyond where the snip will end. This won’t prevent ripping, but it does make the blocks more durable.

A bit of tape beefs up the blocks.

Variations

Use different sized index cards.

Or, put the slices on the short side of the cards.

If you give this a try, we’d love to see photos of the results in the comments below.

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Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

After nearly 30 years working in early learning programs, Tasha now devotes her time to making Explorations Early Learning and Playvolution HQ work, quilting, and taking care of her pet duck, Tape.

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