Fun children's craft ideas

Get the creative momentum going over the school holidays with these fantastically easy craft activities for kids

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1. All you need is paint and paper

"You can’t beat making butterflies: paint one side of the butterfly on paper and then fold over so the pattern is recreated. Magic!"

"We use offcuts of wallpaper backing paper to do symmetrical butterfly painting. Then we used them to make a mobile."

2. Send in the stickers

"My daughter loves to personalise her things with stickers and we also use them to 'sign' cards from her... Usually with a big pile of stickers all placed on top of each other in exactly the same spot!"

"Stickers are a massive hit. The children spend ages just sticking stickers onto a piece of paper in no particular order."

3. Multiple uses for the humble paper plate

Spin painting

"Put a piece of paper or a paper plate in a salad spinner, add paint and spin. Who needs Damien Hirst?"

Make an Elmer mask

 - out of two paper plates, some cardboard and lots of coloured tissue paper squares 

Just cut one plate in half and stick the two halves to the top of the second plate to make ears. Then cut a trunk shape from the cardboard to stick to the bottom, and cover the whole lot in bright patches by sticking on squares of coloured tissue paper. You can draw eyes or stick on googly eye stickers! 

Find a step-by-step guide for the mask plus another Elmer craft activity here

Easy paper fish

"You can make a good fish by cutting a triangle out of a plate to be the fish's mouth, and then sticking that triangle at the back to be the tail."

4. Go wild with a trusty cardboard box

"Let children make whatever they want out of a cardboard box - a TV, a car, a boat, an aeroplane. My five-year-old absolutely LOVES doing this and it takes her ages."

"In our most recent crafting session, we turned a cardboard box into a rainbow rocket using paints, glitter, stickers, chopped up paper, fabric and anything else that took the toddlers fancy."

"For a clean, contained craft, put your small person inside a big cardboard box, give them crayons, markers, etc, and they can decorate the inside to their heart's content!"

5. Fun for all the family

"The coloured cellophane wrappers from sweets/chocolates such as Quality Street make great 'stained glass windows' - flatten them out, glue to the back of a piece of card with shapes cut out and hang where the light will catch it. Obviously you will need to eat a variety of chocolates first, you know, to get a full range of colours..."

6. New life for old socks

"We have an endless supply of odd socks in my house so we make things with them:

  • Turn toddler socks into phone covers - add felt shapes, gems, etc.
  • Hand puppets - add googly eyes, wool hair, cardboard teeth
  • Animals and monsters - fill with uncooked rice and decorate.
  • Hats, tube tops or skirts for barbies or slightly bigger dolls - cut the toes off of old baby socks, then turn them up and decorate.
  • Fairy wings or mini fishing nets - stretch thin tights over pipe cleaners bent into the right shape."

7. (Weather permitting) crafts in the great outdoors

"My daughter loves mud pies. She collects the mud, mixes in water and makes everything filthy. She then attempts to feed me the pie. Mmm..."

"My daughter loves to cover toilet roll tubes in peanut butter, roll them in seeds and slide them onto branches on the trees in the garden. We sit in the window counting or drawing the many birds that come to feast."

8. Try your hand at upcycling

DIY jet pack

"We covered two pop bottles in tin foil, turned them upside down and stuck orange flames to the bottom. I stuck it to my child’s back and we had an instant jet pack!"

Milk bottle Elmer

"Make elephants out of plastic milk cartons by chopping them in half - the handle makes a fab trunk. We've made these out of pint milk cartons and bigger ones. 

For Elmer, cut pieces of different coloured paper into a variety of shapes and glue them on. We even used coloured cellophane (sweet wrappers) and made lanterns - just insert a battery-operated candle."

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Last updated: over 1 year ago