Think Outside The Toy Box … Glow Sticks Ideas For Kids

Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Think Outside The Toy Box {Summer Series} | 25 comments

Happy Memorial Day (to all my US friends)! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend (and still are!!)! While we’re in the hospital enjoying our newest edition, baby Ben (see picture below), today also kicks off our new fun series Think Outside The Toy Box.

I mentioned this series last Friday, but basically it’s a collaboration with five other bloggers and myself to try to come up with NEW and CREATIVE ways to use household items (that aren’t traditionally thought of as toys).



This week’s theme ‘item’ is Glow Sticks! Now … I realized that my kiddos never really have played with these (and apparently I’ve been depriving them, because they’re now OBSESSED!!).

Since I’ve been preoccupied these past couple weeks (hoping this baby would arrive each day), I consulted Pinterest for some creative Glow Stick ideas for little ones. After checking out some great ideas (seriously … I’m sharing a couple of my favorite pins below) … we decided to make Glow Stick Lightning Bugs (our own ‘version’ of bugs).

Take a look at our finished product at night:

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs


And during the day (and missing his nose):

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge



They were actually a bigger hit than I expected! While the boys weren’t super excited about the making of the bugs (they watched me, but didn’t help a whole lot), they both loved the finished product (even before I added the glow sticks). I could have been the fact that I tied fishing line to the bugs so we could hang them up, but they got a hold of them before I could hang ‘em and used the fishing line to swing them all over the place (including at each other).

When we added the Glow Sticks, Owen called them ‘magic bugs’ and has insisted on having his bug sleep next to him each night since (hence the reason I only have nighttime pictures of the blue bug).


So … want to make one? It’s super easy, and you could totally improvise the construction of these bugs with whatever you happen to have on hand. Here’s what we used:



Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge


  • Plastic bottle(s)
  • Pipe cleaners
  • 6″ wide strips of tulle for the ‘wings’. You can buy this in the wedding section of most craft stores and it comes in a wide variety of colors. If you don’t have this on hand, however, you could use feathers, construction paper, more pipe cleaners, tissue paper, etc for the wings.
  • Stick on eyes
  • Black paint for the nose (optional … you could totally leave the nose white, too), and you definitely don’t need chalkboard paint (it’s just all that I had on hand).
  • Glow Sticks of some sort. Sticks work great … bracelets work … necklaces work. Whatever you can find!
  • Yarn poufs for tails (you can buy the colorful balls at a craft store, you could use cotton balls, you could make your own yarn poms (see instructions here), or you could skip the tail). I’m pretty sure bugs don’t have poufy tails anyway. Apparently, our bug has a little bunny rabbit in him!
  • Hot Glue or super glue to stick on eyes and tail (not pictured)
  • Fishing line to hang bugs if you want (also, not pictured)



Here’s how we made ours:

STEP 1: Wrap legs around bottle. We used a total of four pipe cleaners … two for each leg.

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge


Step 2: Tie on wings. We used three strips of tulle (~15″ each) tied around the body.

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge


Step 3: Attach antennae. We cut two slits and threaded one pipe cleaner through them (and formed into antenna shapes)

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge


Step 4: Glue on eyes and tail

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge


Step 5: Paint cap for nose (if desired). Attach fishing line, and hang (also, if desired)

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge


Our flying blue bug:

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge


Step 6: At night, add glow stick and watch them become ‘magic bugs’ (at least according to Owen).

Glow Stick Lightning Bugs  |  View From The Fridge


That’s it! A fairly simple project that keeps the kiddos entertained for a bit! It would be fun to hang a bunch of these for a kid party at night (though, this might have to wait until Fall, as it doesn’t get dark around here until 9pm or after).

Glow sticks are great because they’re SOOO cheap! Here are a couple other ideas for using them in fun ways that I found around town:

There are a ton of tutorials on how to make ‘fairy jars’ with glitter and by cutting open the glow sticks. They look pretty fun, right?


Glow in the Dark Bowling … Genius!!


Or … keeping with the kid’s games … Glow in the Dark Ring Toss. This would be awesome for camping or just a backyard kiddo party.

Couldn't find original source, but pin found HERE

Couldn’t find original source, but pin found HERE


More ‘decor’ for a kids glow party … A Glow Stick Chandilier

Or .. have a glow bug Easter Egg hunt:

Head over to these other fun blogs to check out their Glow Stick projects today:

ABCs to ACTs * Chaos and Kiddos * The Everyday Momma * Probably Crafting * The Mad Mommy


Now, it’s your turn! Do you have any creative uses for Glow Sticks? Link ‘em up below:

 Loading InLinkz ...


Thanks for stopping by today! Next Monday, we’ll be sharing some ideas for plastic bottles (I guess I could have used our lightning bugs for both Glow Sticks and Plastic Bottles, but I’ll try to come up with something else creative!!).

And … more pictures coming soon, but here’s baby Ben and Mom’s first picture together:





  1. AWW I LOVE THE IDEA! It’s so cute. CONGRATS on the sweet new little one! He is so precious!
    Becka recently posted…Little Girls trying to be Not So Little Girls Too SoonMy Profile

  2. Those bugs look great Katie! I love the tulle wings on them :) And Ben is gorgeous! Congratulations!!
    Amber recently posted…Glow in the Dark Sensory Slime Bag – Think Outside the Toy BoxMy Profile

  3. This would be so much fun for camping! You could make them before you go and then use them as lanterns at night! Awesome!

    Awwww, Congrats mama! I love the picture!
    Echo recently posted…Ain’t No Party Like A…My Profile

  4. Congratulations, Katie!! Ben is so beautiful! XO
    Christy@Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer recently posted…Kitchen ProgressMy Profile

  5. These are too cute! I had to check out Pinterest on this one too because I just couldn’t get my creative juices flowing! I so want to make one of these for Myles. Knowing him it would be destroyed in a matter of minutes though :( Maybe I;ll just make one without the legs because I think he would just rip them off right away.

  6. Hi Katie, I just found your blog through a link party. Love your bug! My kids would LOVE that. They can’t get enough of glow in the dark stuff either (I put a couple of ours in the links above). Congrats on your baby. He’s beautiful!
    Summer recently posted…100 Days of Summer: Water Balloon PiñataMy Profile

  7. That is super cute!! I love it. And Congrats! I’d love to see this on our link up:
    Steph recently posted…Printable Summer Bucket ListMy Profile

  8. Ahhh i love these glpw bugs. Bookmarked for when Eli is a bit older.

    Congratulations. Welcome to the world baba :)
    Jenna @ Transforming Into Butterflies recently posted…How My Garden Grows #3My Profile

  9. This seriously us the cutest bug ever!! I’m excited your doing a new serious and can’t wait to see all the clever ideas you come up with. Kids crafts can get pretty addictive especially when the kids are working on them with you. I love working on crafts with my boys.

    This is a craft I’m going to have to try with my boys, they LOVE bugs. Great job!
    Courtney @ Crafts by Courtney recently posted…DIY Easter Family Portrait InspirationMy Profile

  10. congrats! what a sweetie :) Great craft, pinned!
    Kristina & Millie recently posted…AG Doll Back to school quilt & crochet chalk pillowMy Profile

  11. I love glow sticks! My little ones would think this was the bomb!! Thanks for sharing a fun and simple idea!
    Elizabeth recently posted…How To Be Utterly Offended in 5 Easy StepsMy Profile

    • Yes … Glow sticks are apparently a big hit in our house, too! Was an easy, fun project (the best kind, right?). Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Hi Katie and new baby – I love these glow stick crafts! Perfect for a summer day of “I’m bored!” Thank you for joining Fluster’s #CreativeMuster party. It was a lot of fun to co-host. Hugs, Holly
    Holly @ Coconutheadsurvivalguide recently posted…A Stroll Through the GardenMy Profile

  13. Love this idea, perfect for playing outdoors after dark! My little one and his big siblings all love playing with glow sticks. We had a glow stick “dance party” a few times last summer and it was great fun.
    Renee @ CreativeMamaMessyHouse recently posted…Farmer’s Market Friday #4My Profile

  14. These are so cute and creative! What a great way to reuse water bottles.
    Erica Loop recently posted…Printing Letters: A Paint Project for Artsy KidsMy Profile

  15. This is really adorable. Thank you for sharing. I pinned this for later. :-)
    Meeghan recently posted…Fun, Free, Phonics Worksheets for Friday!My Profile

  16. Hi Katie,

    Your ideas is really cool!!! I love them and I cannot imagine how much fun your kids must have with them!

    Thanks for sharing

    Rory from
    Rory recently posted…Crochet Wall Storage PocketsMy Profile

  17. Fun idea!!
    Diana Rambles recently posted…Giveaway LinkyMy Profile

  18. I love these ideas!! Perfect for an end of the school year/beginning of summer party! Congratulations on your new little man, Katie! He’s a doll!

  19. Love these ideas!

    Thanks for linking up to the Parenting Pin It Party last week x x
    Cass@frugalfamily recently posted…The difference a year makes….My Profile

  20. Holey moley, these are cute! They’d be a ton of fun as a summer craft, and would be awesome as porch decorations. Thanks for linking up at Creative Spark!
    Kristy gd recently posted…Craft-it-Forward update!My Profile

  21. Cute idea! Congrats on the new baby, he’s a beauty! Thanks for linking up to the Be. YOU. tiful link party. Wait, how do you have time for all this? Pinning!

  22. My boys would love making these cute lightning bugs! I’m going to do this with them this summer. Thanks for the awesome idea!
    Katie @ Addicted 2 DIY recently posted…Patriotic Mason Jar LanternsMy Profile

  23. HI,

    I don’t have a blogging site, but one thing my girls love is a “glow stick” bath! It’s as easy as it sounds: fill tub with bath water, dim or turn off the lights (depends how old your kids are), throw in glow sticks and have fun! When they were learning the alphabet, we made “letters” with the glow sticks; now they make jewelry in the tub with the glow sticks. It always seems like we do this after July 4th, as we seem to have lots of glow sticks left over!

    I am definitely adding these glow bugs to our summer bucket list! Thanks!!!!

  24. What an adorable lightning bug!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!! And congratulations on being most clicked this week and of course on the sweet, adorable baby!!
    Carrie recently posted…Minnie Mouse Birthday Party–DIY DecorationsMy Profile


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