I love showing my kids that with a little creativity and a basketful of recycling materials you can make just about anything! One morning L woke up asking me to make her a vacuum...strange request, but I accepted the challenge. My thoughts immediately went to that toy vacuum from yesteryear with the popping balls inside. Kids love those things because of the noise they make, so I knew ours had to be similar. The only thing to improve upon that vacuum would be to make one that cleans as well! So here you have it -- a toy vacuum that essentially costs you nothing (assuming you have all the materials) and it actually cleans the floors while your kid plays!
-Swiffer sweeper w/ dry swiffer pad
-empty milk carton
-plastic container (like one berries come in)
-paper towel tube (optional)
-hot glue gun
First, using scissors or a knife, cut a little window on the front of the milk carton. Cut a piece of clear plastic off of the plastic container to cover the window.
Using a hot glue gun, carefully glue the clear plastic in place over the "window."
Cover the entire milk carton in duct tape. Make sure you cover up the glued edges of the plastic window as well...this should eliminate any sharp or pointy edges.
Next, have your little one help you drop beads into the carton. A few handfuls will do. Screw the lid back on the carton.
If your Swiffer sweeper's handle has removable links (which I think they all do), remove the two middle ones to make it a more suitable height for your child.
Now the next step you can do in two ways: you can tape the milk carton directly onto the Swiffer sweeper...it may be more secure, but it may also leave some duct tape residue on the Swiffer. (That would be the more permanent option.) Or, you can glue and tape a paper towel tube onto the back of the milk carton and slide it onto the Swiffer's handle. We went with the later...I thought it may jiggle more and make a louder, bead-popping sound too!
Now to clean floors...just replace the Swiffer pad as you would normally do and let your child go to work! (I mean play!) I really thought ours would last a couple weeks, but we're going on 4 months now and every week L asks if she can help "vacuum" the floors. Enjoy!!!