Newspaper Play Structures

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Know what I love to do on days when it’s too cold or wet to go outside? Build stuff!!

This fun geodesic dome was built using rolled up newspaper to form rods — SO frugal! I basically followed the tutorial here, but made one important adjustment. Rather than using staples at the joints, I punched holes with a hole puncher on each end of the newspaper rod, then threaded a pipe cleaner through the holes. I twisted the pipe cleaner, which kept everything in place AND made our newspaper rods re-usable!! I made the first dome structure, then set the girls loose to build whatever they wanted.

The girls loved building, taking things apart, and then re-building different structures all afternoon…right up until dinner time!

Here’s another structure they built — a “rocket ship”! They loved decorating their play structures with markers. So fun!!

Clara’s little scribbles always make me smile!!

This was such a fun (and very frugal) way to bring geometry and engineering to life — all through play!

Have fun!!

Free Printable

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  1. Dear Valerie,

    Am I going to come home to find a newspaper Eiffel tower in the back yard?


  2. Very cool! Must get my hands on some newspaper…

  3. That would be fun to do……

  4. Love the idea 🙂

  5. Great! I`ll keep this in my mind and next time we visit our grandparents we will make it. I should ask them to start collecting the newspaper 🙂

    • It uses a lot of newspaper — which is great if you happen to have lots of it on-hand. Or you can do what I did and ask the neighbors if they have any to spare… 🙂

  6. I love this idea and think it would be great for monkey but I cant get the link to the tutorial to work.

    • That’s odd — I just tested it & it worked fine for me. Maybe their site was down for bit? If you try it again, it might work.

  7. I’ve been loving all your ideas for months now and figured it was probably time I told you so. Thanks for all the great, and cheap, ideas!

  8. I am so going to pin this for one of those rainy weekend afternoons 🙂

  9. I have seen this before, but I love your idea to have it with holes and twisted pipe cleaners. Makes it easy to store and reuse! I love this and am sharing the idea on facebook with all my friends. I hope to do this soon since we get a newspaper every week and never read it!!!

    • It is very easy to store.. Mark put the newspaper rods in an umbrella stand — works great! Have fun, and thanks so much for linking!

  10. Totally Awesome!

  11. Wow!! That is so fun! Would it be okay for me to link to this for my “Fun on a Dime” post tomorrow?

    • Absolutely, and feel free to use one photo — thanks so much for linking! 🙂

      • Yay!! Thanks so much! I love your blog, btw! I wish I could figure out how to combine my kid’s craft blog and my coupon blog to make a blog as fun as yours!!

  12. wow! What a great idea, we’ll definitely try this one, thank you:)

  13. Gina Taylor says

    You could also take extra newspaper and cover it completely up except for a small entrance. Thinking about making this for my son!!

    Awesome idea thanks!!!

    • That’s a great idea, Gina! My kiddos loved covered their structures with bed sheets. 🙂 There are SO many possibilities for this — enjoy!

  14. Hiya Val! I couldn’t resist including this as part of the materials to recycle for your kids roundup 🙂 Saving my newspapers now!!

  15. I helped my daughter’s Girl Scout troop make a couple of these for a city-wide 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts exhibit. We used blueprints instead of newspaper and reusable zip ties instead of pipe cleaners. I ended up drilling holes in the ends of the tubes because a hole punch was taking too long.

    We made complete balls, making sure every hub had 5 spokes. They looked great! For decoration, the girls drew triangular posters about scouting and taped them to the openings.

    Thanks for your inspiration!


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