DIY | Milk Jug Sensory Play Scoops

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Overview

These do it yourself scoops are super quick and easy to make from milk jugs or similar containers and work well in sensory tub play, water play, snow play, and similar activities. Check out the instructions below and you’ll be able to make one in about five minutes.

Supplies

You’ll need:

  • Milk jug
  • Marker
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors

Process

There are three steps. First you mark it, then you cut it, then you trim it. Let’s take a closer look and add some detail.

Mark It

First, use a marker to sketch the basic shape of your scoop on the jug. This sketch will serve as you pattern when you start cutting in the next step. Your drawing doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s just there to help you visualize the cuts you’ll need to make.

Cut It

Next, use a utility knife with a sharp blade to cut your scoop from the jug. Sharp is important–you’re more likely to injure yourself with a dull blade. We cut a bunch of scoops and found the six step process outlined below to be the easiest because it reduces floppiness. Why does this matter? The less the almost-cut-out-scoop flops around, the less likely the blade is to slip and cut you.

Start with what we’ll call the side cuts (numbers 1-4 in the below photo). Slip the blade behind the jug handle, carefully plunge it in, and complete cut 1. Then slip the blade into the first cut from the other side of the handle to make cut 2.

After that, make diagonal cuts 3 and 4. To finish things off, connect cuts 3 and 4 with cut 5 and then free the scoop from the jug with cut 6. The result will be a rough looking scoop. In the next step, you’ll make it pretty.

Trim It

Now it’s time to set aside the utility knife and grab the scissors. The goal here is two fold–remove any sharp edges and make the scoop pretty. You can see what we’re talking about in the images below–the images on the left are the rough scoops and the ones on the right have been cleaned up. You can trim away any places your knife work left a bit of rough plastic, round the corners, and and generally shape the scoop.

Notes

Some things to consider:

  • Not all jugs are created equal. Milk jugs are thinner than most other jugs, so a scoop cut from a vinegar jug will be more durable than one cut from a milk jug.
  • Kids will discover that during water play the handle can also be used as a funnel.
  • While we’re usually big fans of kids taking the lead in DIY projects, we recommend caution when it comes to the utility knife use in this project. The curved and slippery surfaces probably aren’t ideal for a child’s first experience with a utility knife.

Conclusion

It’s easy and inexpensive to just buy scoops to use in sensory and water play (we have a a wild and crazy collection of them here at Explorations Early Learning Intergalactic Headquarters) but there’s something to be said for going through the process of creating these scoops. It’ll help kids learn a bit about creativity, engineering, and other STEM-ish skills.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments if you give this project a try!

May-2020-Patrons

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Content Creator and Curator at

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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