03 February 2012

Calculator Paper as Toddler or Preschooler Toy

We were at the thrift store today (a common Friday activity), and the particular one we were at is having a 50% off everything sale.  Now when everything is on sale, it makes me look a little closer at everything to see if anything has hidden potential.  I'm pretty sure the rolls of calculator paper have been there since I've been here; that is, since August.  Regularly $5.50 for a pack of 8 rolls, now $2.75.  Well I thought that was a pretty decent price for how much fun Lucy would probably get out of it.  Home they came.

But then when we got here, I realized that I really didn't want the entire roll to unroll in a big spiral all at once.  So I came up with this hack as a way of keeping a roll of calculator paper in check.  And then I took photos so I could write this tutorial for y'all.

You'll need:
a cheap plastic pen
a hair tie, rubber band, or piece of thin elastic

Take the pen apart.  I chose my pen based on the length of the middle plastic tube-y part.  (Long enough to span across the roll of paper, but not too long.)

Cut your hair tie.

Thread the hair tie through the pen tube.

Thread the other end of the hair tie through the middle of the roll of paper.

Pull tight 

and tie a knot.

Slip the knot around into the inside of the roll.
Now you can hold the tube by the middle and pull on the paper.  It will also stop the roll from unrolling before you want it to.

Ta da!

I gave Lucy the run of one roll today.  At first she just tore little pieces off to write on (shopping lists, I think).  Then she figured out that it would be fun to have me hold the roll while she pulled the paper across the entire room.  She pulled the whole roll off in very long pieces, then put them in a pile and spent at least half an hour picking the pile up and throwing it in the air like autumn leaves and generally reveling in the mess.  At the moment she's taking several shorter pieces and bundling them together to make a bouquet of flowers. 

Unfortunately I do not have a hack for cleaning up the mess.