Monday, June 24, 2013

Faux Gumball Machine! Reading Challenges & Ideas

I have once again been inspired!  Check out this cute idea:


This is adorable, but looking online I found that Gumball Machines aren't cheap!  So today, being my day off, I dragged my girls to the thrift shop and found this plastic container thingy.  Yes, the technical word is thingy.  It was $0.50.  I figured, add a little paint and viola!

I painted the inside of the lid and pedestal.  I knew acrylic paint wouldn't be super durable with kids, so I worked in layers to get the look I wanted.  I started with the gold paint, since I was painting from the inside out.  You want the first thing you paint to be the first thing you see (kind of the opposite of painting on the outside.)  The plastic doesn't absorb the moisture from the paint so you have to let it dry completely between coats, otherwise the almost dry paint sticks to the wet paint brush and comes off the plastic.  Use very thin coats!  I found they dry quickly and there is less chance of the colors mixing and causing you to need to start from scratch (I did twice.)



I found the little plastic containers (called Toy Vending Capsules) on Amazon.com but I am sure you can get them on eBay or other sites, I think the 250 count on Amazon would work for me, as opposed to the 1000 count.  My other thought on this was to make lucky stars (origami).  The silly poem, joke, quote, picture sentence or book suggestion could be printed on a strip of paper and then folded into a star.  Easy-peasy and cheap! Here are some visual instructions.  I did some checking online and I found that start with a strip of paper 30cm, or 1 foot long, and about 1cm wide, or about half an inch.  I found that makes a very small star.  So I might adjust the width.

My daughter informs me that the stars are hard to unravel without tearing them, and she is almost 9 so I imagine younger hands would find it even harder.  I guess I'll go with the toy capsules.  I've been working on a list of reading challenges, here's what I have so far:


  • Read a book where you share either your first or last name with the main character.
  • What’s the longest book you’ve ever read?  Read one 25-50 pages longer.
  • Read a book written about the years when your parents were your age.
  • Read a book written about the years when your grandparents were your age.
  • Read a book that rhymes (poetry!)
  • Do you have a pet dog?  Read about a cat.  Do you have a pet cat?  Read about a dog.
  • Read about a country that starts with the same letter as your last initial.
  • Read about a country that starts with the same letter as your first initial.
  • Choose a book by the cover only.
  • Read a book that takes place in South Dakota.
  • Re-read one of your favorite books.
  • Read a mystery that has “The Secret of the....” in the title.
  • Read a mystery that has “The Mystery of the....” in the title.
  • Read a Newberry Award winning book.
  • Read a book where you share either your first or last name with the author.
  • Read a book recommended by your teacher or Mrs. O.
  • Read a book about a place you have never visited.
  • Read a book about a place you have visited.
  • Read a book where the main character is not a person, dog or cat.
  • Read a graphic novel.
  • Read a book that has a dragon in it.
  • Read a book that your best friend recommends.
  • Read a book about someone who is being bullied.
  • Read a book written at least 50 years before you were born.
  • Read a book with the word “Never” in the title.
  • Read a book from the 000s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 100s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 200s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 300s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 400s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 500s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 600s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 700s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 800s in the Nonfiction.
  • Read a book from the 900s in the Nonfiction.
  • If you are a boy, read a book where the main character is a girl.
  • If you are a girl, read a book where the main character is a boy.


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