When it’s time to put the toys away, they go in a box. Maybe dolls go in a dollhouse or toy cars go in their toy parking garage, but each toy has a place to rest when it’s not being used—even if cleanup time happens a lot less often than we’d like. But what about our phones, tablets, e-readers, and other screens? Many find their homes on end tables, couch cushions, or even in bed with us as we try (and fail) to fall asleep. If you’ve ever had to pry a phone or tablet out of your protesting child’s fingers, you know what kind of powerful hold screens have on our kids. So why are we leaving them out in the open, constantly in view as a temptation for us and our kids? Well, they have to charge next to an outlet, simple as that.
So how do we get these screens out of sight so we can have fun spending time with family? We created an “out-of-sight” charging station for our screens. It’s a free and super fun craft project you and your kids can do together, using things you already have at home.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Shoe box large enough to fit all your screens (including mom and dad’s phones!) comfortably.
- Covering of your choice (wrapping paper, newspaper, butcher paper, etc.)
- Glue Stick
- Exacto Knife
- Craft supplies of your choice (markers, paint, glitter, decorative tape, etc.)
- Optional: Grommets (metal or rubber)
1. Recruit your little ones for shoe box crafts
This is where you can get your kids excited about designing a bedroom for your devices—tablets need sleep, too! If you want your box to match your decor or want to get crafty yourself with the outside of the box, your kids can still use markers to color the inside of the box, using their imaginations to decorate the place where the devices rest.
2. Wrap the box in the paper of your choice
This step involves scissors, so parents should take the lead.
First, cut two large pieces of paper and place them on your work surface. Take a glue stick and apply glue to the bottom of your box. Then place the box in the middle of your first sheet of paper.
Now remove the shoe box lid, apply glue to the top, and place it in the middle of your second sheet of paper. It’s important to wrap the box and lid separately so you can get your devices in and out later.
Wrap the shoe box and lid as you would gifts, applying glue to each side of the box as you go. Secure with tape or more glue.
3. Decorate the box!
There are no rules here. Let your family loose on the box — stickers, markers, and crayons in hand. Your box will turn out as unique as your own family. If you’d rather keep the outside plain or exercise your own creative muscles, your kids can still decorate the inside of the box.
4. Make room for the charging cables
On the back of your box, make small cutouts in your box with an exacto knife so that all charging cables can slide in without being seen from the front. Since this part is pointy, it should be done carefully by a grown up.
Optional: place grommets or tape in your cutouts for neat edges. Pro Tip: Make sure all your cables fit through the holes/grommets before securing them in place!
5. Drop in the devices
Feed the charging cables through the holes you cut and plug in your screens as you place them in the box. You might need a power strip nearby to plug everything in. You can use twist ties, decorative tape, or ribbon to keep your cords neat. Alternatively, you could store the power strip inside the box and have just one cord to worry about. Once everything is set up, pop the lid on the box. For the full “out of sight out of mind” experience, turn your devices off when they’re in the box.
And that’s it — play a board game or hang out in the back yard without worrying about losing to a machine in the fight for your kid’s attention. And get the most out of your family time by putting your own phone in the box, too.