When I first started crafting with my own children, I searched through every online resource I could find and bought just about every book ever written on crafting with younger children. The more I searched, the more disappointed I became. Most of what I found was either too old for my kids, totally unoriginal, or completely commercialized.
Sure, you can find a wealth of books on crafting with school age children. In fact, some of the books for this age group are
absolutely beautiful and even have original content .
But let me ask you:
How many books or other resources do you find for Little Kids? I don’t mean elementary school kids, I mean toddlers and preschoolers. You’ll find many books that claim to be for children ages 2 to 6 or 3 to 6, but I can tell you from my own experience that they are really aimed at the 5 and 6 year olds. I’ve bought many of these books only to be disappointed to find that they had a couple of crafts, out of 50 or more, that were projects that my 2 or 3 year old could do.
In fairness, crafting with toddlers and preschoolers does come with its own set of challenges. Younger children have just about no attention span, have to be constantly monitored, often don’t have any concept of what they are supposed to be making, and are only capable of very simple tasks.
Most craft books that claim to be for toddlers and preschoolers
have crafts that require an adult to do so much project assembly that it becomes more of an adult project than a child project. Don’t get me wrong, some adult assistance is necessary for any craft project or activity that you do with Little Kids, but some of the crafts that I’ve seen and tried to do with my own children were so difficult or time consuming that my children lost interest within minutes.
Looking back, it’s kind of funny to think that I’m trying to “help” them put their project together while they are entertaining them- selves by finger painting my kitchen walls, the table, and them- selves.
The second thing that really irritated me about Little Kid crafting is the total lack of originality. I can’t tell you how many books that I have purchased that only had a handful of original ideas, while the bulk of the book was dedicated to super-sized pictures and rehashed material available in every other book. In other words, they had very little substance.
There is a series of child crafting books out on the market today (I don’t think it would be right to name it.) that dedicates two pages to each craft idea or project. On first glance, this may not seem like a lot, but here’s a reality check:
More than half of each of the two pages is taken up by
unnecessary pictures - pictures that don’t add to the value of the craft or its description.
After purchasing several books in the series, I discovered that many of the crafts were just about identical.
Here’s some examples:
In one book there is a project that does apple prints with paint. The next book in the series does vegetable prints.
In the same book there is a “Recycling Sculpture” using blocks of styrofoam and later there is a “Wood Sculpture” using scrap pieces of wood. Then of course there are other “original”
projects like an oatmeal container drum, woven berry baskets, cardboard box buildings, a king’s crown, and the clothespin butterfly.
If all this regurgitated garbage isn’t enough, many of the rest of the projects are far too old for little hands. For example: shred crayons with a potato peeler onto a piece of paper, fold it over and put an iron on it to melt the crayons.
Now, what part of this project do you want your 2 or 3 year old to do?
I wanted to give people the chance to see what kid crafting should look like without any risk to them at all.
A few notes before we start...
Crafting with Little Kids can be tremendous fun for you and your child when you pick age-appropriate activities, prepare all the materials in advance, and dedicate your time to that crafting pe- riod. Crafting can be frustrating, maddening, and a total pain in the neck if you don’t.
When it comes to crafting with Little Kids, it is less important that the craft looks like what it’s supposed to and more
important that it provides a good creative outlet for the child. Who cares if a cow’s tail is coming out of his nose
and the sun is green?
Give your child the freedom to do it their way. That’s the most important gift you can give your child when you craft with them. Whenever possible, I like to make crafting with my kids part of a bigger picture. Crafting is just one of the things built into our daily and weekly routine.
- We do phonics and letter work. - We play on the piano
- We do skill building worksheets
- We do a little foreign language study
All this in addition to free play, role play, sports, special trips, etc.
The kids and I do a lot together and crafting plays a big role. I try to develop crafts each week that all fit into a theme. For example, if we’re planning a zoo trip, we’ll do crafts the week before, and sometimes the week after, that revolve around a zoo theme.
How The Book Is Organized
The kinds of crafts within this volume include handprint crafts, paper plate crafts, template crafts, holiday crafts, recycling crafts, memory crafts, and learning crafts. There’s something for everyone here.
In addition, I’ve given you more ideas on how to use each of the crafts. If the craft is too difficult for your child, I’ve given you ideas on how to make it a little easier.
If your child’s skill level is beyond the craft, then I also give you ideas to make it more challenging.
I even give you ideas on how to adapt each craft to use for other themes, or along with other ideas.
In other words, there are many more craft ideas within this
volume than first meet the eye. This book will provide a jumping off spot for you to go on to create your own ideas and craft
If that isn’t enough, I also outline some ways you can use each craft as a skill builder or use other learning tools to get double duty out of each craft.
Lastly, I offer other resources that you can turn to for more inspiration in your crafting or in building more learning opportunities into your crafts.
I tried to write each of the crafts out in such a way that you could get the absolute most out of each and every one.
This book has many special features designed to enhance your reading experience. If you are new to e-books, then you may want to take special note of this section.
This section only applies to the digital version of this book.
Preparation is Golden...
Preparing your materials and your craft in advance is probably the most important factor in whether the craft time with your child is fun for both of you or whether it is full of stress for you and tears and frustration for your child. Here are a few things to think about.
1. If possible, do the craft for yourself the night before you plan to do it with your child.
This serves two purposes. First of all, it gives you the op- portunity to see what parts of the project may be difficult for your child to do or what you may want to change in the project. Sometimes you will find that a particular idea just won’t work with your child and you’ll have to scrap it. Better to find this out before you try to sit down with your child and do it.
2. Gather all your materials before you sit down to craft. This is a hugely important factor in a successful craft ses- sion with your child. If you have to keep popping up and getting some supply needed for your project, you’re prob- ably going to come back to a disaster. Children have such short attention spans anyway - If you make them wait while you go get the next supply, they will either give up on the project and not want to continue or find something else to entertain themselves like cutting their bangs.
Having everything assembled in advance, including cover- ing your surface with newspaper, gathering smocks and protective clothing, and preparing clean up materials like soap and water, will make the entire craft project a stress- free, fun, and memorable time for you and your child.
A Note On Safety...
I’m sure you are a very safety minded adult and you don’t need me to give you a long song and dance about how to keep your kids safe during crafting.
Having said that, I still want to mention a few things.
1. Don’t walk away and leave the child unattended while crafting. There’s all kinds of things that could happen to hurt them, not to mention destroying the craft area.
2. Don’t let kids do parent jobs like stapling, hole punching, hot glue, etc.
3. If you’re using small objects like brads and buttons, don’t let your child put them in their mouth. Small objects pose a choking hazard and should be controlled.
4. Only let children use safety scissors to cut.
5. Only use nontoxic paints, crayons, and markers.
6. Closely monitor kids around any object that is hot like a hot glue gun or oven.
Cardboard Fairy Houses
This fun fairy craft will inspire pretend
play and storytelling—for non-stop fairy
toilet paper tubes
small foam cups
circle of cardboard
glue gun or fast acting glue
1. Paint the toilet paper tube, foam cup
and cardboard base.
1. Then just draw on some details on the roof with your black marker.
2. Cut little windows and doors from colored craft paper and glue into position. 3. Now it's time to play!
2. When the paint is dry glue the base,
paper tube house and foam cup roof
3. Then just draw on some details on the
roof with your black marker.
4. Cut little windows and doors from
18 Step 1: Gather Balloons
I gathered an assortment of round balloons
Step 2: Create Papier Mache mixture
I then created my papier mache mixture by mixing flour and water. This is your "glue". Should be the consistency of pancake batter...you could probably add some eggs and milk, hmm, and some chocolate chips...ok...I digress. You get the point.
19 Step 3: Start applying
I applied three layers of strips to each balloon, allowing each layer to dry in between. You don't want to be so neat and smooth with the layering. Remember, planets are textured, I think, either way, they're more interesting that way.
Step 4: Drying Process
On a damp day, placing the planets in front of the oven door helped speed up the drying process. Temperature around 200°
20 Step 5: Base Coat
Once dry, I painted each planet with a coat of white primer before applying the color. Then let them dry again. Resting the planets on flower pots helps keep them stable.
I use acrylic paints. The colors are easy to mix and they clean up easily with water.
This image shows the first layer of color. Let each dry before your second coat. At this point, I added hooks made out of a piece of wire. Almost like an upside down "T" with a loop. insert into the hollow planet so the top of the "T" sits within each side of the hole.
22 A closeup of Neptune and Venus.
With two coats of base color, sponge on a second darker or lighter color to bring out the texture. This works best when the planet is not fully dry. Have fun, you can't really make any mistakes here.
White Construction Paper
Brown Tempera Paint
1. Pour brown tempera paint into a paper plate or pie tin. Dip child’s hands into paint and stamp on paper, with fingers
together, in a line to make a tree trunk. Re-dip the hands and then stamp hands onto the top of the tree trunk with fingers apart.
2. Wash hands. For younger kids, let tree dry completely before moving to step 3. They’ll forget that the paint’s wet and lean into it, making a mess.
3. Pour spring colored tempera paint into a paper plate or pie tin. Dip index finger into the paint and stamp on the tree to make brightly colored buds.
4. Let picture dry completely when complete. Don’t forget to write the child’s name and date on the picture.
This is a good opportunity to talk with your child about the seasons, as well as what buds are and why they are growing on the trees.
You may want to take kids out to look at some buds on the trees to help them make the connection between their
I really like this project, especially for very young children. It is something that they can do entirely by them-
selves, with a little guidance.
There is no cutting or putting together by an adult.
It really looks like what it’s “supposed” to look like when the project is complete. This gives kids a feeling of ac- complishment, especially if Mom or Dad doesn’t have to ask, “What is it?”
Tissue Paper Valentine’s Day
Craft for Toddlers
This is a fun and easy Valentine’s Day Heart Craft that even the youngest toddler could do. An added bonus? It is a great craft for building fine motor skills. It makes a great Valentines gift for daddy or another special someone in your little one’s life.
For this project you’ll need:
Red or Valentine themed tissue paper (I bought ours at the Dollar store)
Step 1. Draw a large heart shape on the paper
Step 2. Allow your child to use a glue stick to apply glue inside the heart shape (help them if
they are too young to do it themselves).
Step 3. Have you child rip the tissue paper into different sizes and let them stick them all
Step 4. It doesn’t matter where the put the paper, the goal is to fill in the heart up.
Step 5. Then cut the heart shape out with some scissors.
Coffee Filter Flower
A Basket-Type Coffee Filter Food Coloring
Small Paper Cups Green Pipe Cleaner Eyedropper
When you are using the food coloring to color the coffee filter, you can talk about what happens when you mix colors and have your child predict what will happen when they mix certain colors together.
1. Set up a couple of different paper cups with food colored water. If you’re doing this with a group of kids, use a
different eyedropper for each color.
2. Lay the coffee filter out on a flat surface covered with
newspaper. With the eyedropper, drop food coloring onto the coffee filter. The colors will bleed into each other and create an interesting pattern. Let dry completely before
moving to the next step.
3. Make the flower: Pinch the center of the coffee filter, lift it up by the center, and run your hand down from the place where you pinch to the end of the filter. This should give you kind of a cone or cup shape. This will be your flower.
4. Make the stem: Tightly wrap a green pipe cleaner around the tip of the cone you made in the step above. You
should wrap it around a couple of times. Hold the pipe cleaner upright and you will see that you have a flower on a
stem that slightly resemples a tulip or some other cup shaped flower.
You can do this same project using watercolor paints instead of food coloring
Create leaves for your flower and glue them onto the stem.
Create several flowers and assemble them into a bouquet.
Give your flower away as a Mother’s Day gift, or just to say “I love you!”
After you create a flower, you can put it into a terra cotta pot. If you put some playdough or styrofoam in the bottom of the pot, you can make it stand up.
You can cut the edges of the coffee filter with craft scissors and create a fancy edge on your flower.
You can use the same assembly idea and create flowers out of tissue paper, kleenex, paper bags, fabric, etc.
Fun Creative Painting For Kids
7 more creative ideas that will inspire you to set the brushes aside and try painting a new way. Any one of these tools would make a fun painting session, or you could set-up a no
1. Jumbo Pom Poms
These big fluffy balls are fun to dip in paint and bounce across the paper. You can hold one with your fingers, or clip one to a clothespin. We especially liked dipping the pom pom in multiple colors before printing with it.
2. Kitchen Tools
Your kitchen is full of interesting gadgets for painting! Here are a few we have enjoyed painting with: potato masher whisk fork honey dipper spatula
sponges and scrubbies
Part of the fun can be washing the tools afterward, too. Make sure to use washable paint, and set-up a tub of soapy water for easy clean-up.
You can make interesting marks with a delicate feather brush. Paint with a single feather, or tape a bunch of feathers together. Bonus: Kiddos have to use their pincher grasp to hold the small feather.
One of our favorite ways to paint with sticks is scratching designs into a swatch of wet paint. You can also try squeezing paint onto the stick, then rolling it across the paper. How else could you paint with a stick?
Scraping paint across the paper with various combs creates some neat designs. We like to squeeze two lines of paint across our paper, then pull the comb through both colors. Try skinny combs and wide-toothed combs, too.
I guess, technically, a toothbrush is a brush, but it’s no ordinary paint brush! Toothbrushes are fun to dip in paint and then tap, slide, and scrub across the paper.
Before tossing them in the recycling bin, collect a variety of lids from juice bottles,
applesauce pouches, and other food containers. Dip and stamp the lids on your paper – don’t forget to try both sides of the lids.
Creating with these painting tools is all about the process, not the product. That being said,
the artwork created with these tools would make great wrapping paper, cards, or abstract masterpieces to hang on the walls. Have fun!
Paper Plate Leprechaun
9 Inch Paper Plate
Orange, Green, Yellow, Black, and White Construction Paper
Skin Color Tempera Paint
1. Paint the back side of a paper plate skin color. Let dry. 2. Cut out a beard shape from orange paper to fit around the outer edge of the paper plate. Cut out 2 eyebrows from orange paper as well. Cut out 2 white ovals and 2 black circles to make the eyes. Glue the beard, eyes, and eyebrows in place on the plate.
3. Cut a green strip of paper measuring 11 x 2 inches. Cut a rectangle of green measuring 6 x 7 inches. Cut a strip of black paper measuring 7 x 1 inches. Cut a 1 inch square of black. Cut a yellow 2 inch square. These are the pieces of the hat.
Glue the green rectangle to the top of the plate. Glue the green strip overlapping the rectangle and going across
the top of the plate to make the hat’s brim. Glue the black strip to the hat to make a band. Glue the yellow square in the
middle of the band, and the black square in the middle of that to make the buckle.
green 6 x 7 rectangle yellow square black square black 7 x 1 strip green 11 x 2 strip orange eyebrows black pipe orange beard
4. Finish the Leprechaun by drawing on a nose and mouth. Cut out a pipe shape from black paper and glue it coming out of the mouth.
Glue sticks work well for this craft. They dry quickly and they are a lot less messy.
You can make skin color paint by mixing white, a drop of red and a drop or two of yellow.
This project may be a little difficult for very small children, but you can make it easier by painting on the beard, drawing in the face and pipe, and cutting out a one-piece hat and yellow buckle without the hat band. Older kids might want to try
tearing the paper to make the beard and eyebrows... it’s a neat effect.
Make a whole school of fish with this easy Crafts original water bottle project. Great way to reinforce a lesson on keeping our waters clean.
Clean, Dry Water Bottle Green Card Stock
Acrylic Paint in Three Colors of Green Large Wiggle Eyes
Blue Paper Cup Glue
Take the top off a water bottle. Squirt a generous amount of paint inside in all three colors. Replace lid. Shake vigorously to coat the inside of the bottle. Do not mix too much. You'll want interesting patterns of color, rather then an even mix. Let dry. Cut out a tail shape making a 1/2" tab to fold and glue to back of fish. Cut out a fin making a 1/2" tab to fold and glue to the top of the fish.
To make the stand, cut off the bottom of a cup keeping only the top 1-1/2". Cut the edge to resemble waves. Set the fish on the cup.
Tissue Paper Easter Egg
You’ll Need Printer
Easter Colored Construction Paper Easter Colored Tissue Paper
White Glue Scissors
A five year old did this egg.
A two year old did this egg.
1. Print out the Easter eggs on the following page on construction paper.
You can use any color, but pink, white, yellow, and other pastel colors work best. Cut the eggs apart and work on
one at a time.
2. Cut tissue paper into 1 inch squares. You don’t have to be precise, but you should try to use a few different colors
3. Pour some glue into a small paper plate or tray. Loosely crumble up a piece of tissue paper. Dip it into the glue and glue it to the egg. Continue this until you’ve filled in the egg.
4. After the glue is dry, cut out the egg.
Very young children may have trouble with the concept of crumpling the paper and dipping it into the glue. As an alternative, spread the glue over the egg for the child and let them place the tissue paper within the glued area. It will still turn out nice even if it isn’t crumpled.
You could use torn pieces of construction paper instead of tissue paper.
If you’re working with a very young child and you want to spread the glue on the paper rather than have them dip the tissue paper, try using a glue stick instead of white glue. You can spread it over a small area at a time, the tissue will stick well, and it is less messy.
NOTE: If you want to work on a bigger egg, you can blow up the template on the next page on a copy machine, or just draw your own egg.
Paper Plate Bear
You’ll Need Paper Plate
Brown, Pink, White, and Black Scraps Construction Paper
Brown Tempera Paint Paint Brush
Scissors Black Marker Glue Stick
1. Paint the back side of a paper plate brown. Let dry.
2. Cut out the nose and pupils from black paper. Cut the ears and cheeks from brown paper. Cut the eyes from
white paper. Cut the center of the ears from pink paper. A template for all the parts above is at the bottom of this page.
White Eye (Cut 2)
Black Pupil (cut 2 )
Nose (black) Head Shape
Inner Ear (pink cut 2) Outer Ear (brown cut 2)
3. Glue the pink center onto both of the ears. Glue the ears to the top of the plate. Refer to the picture of the finished product for placement. Glue the pupil onto both eyes and
glue eyes, cheeks, and nose to the plate.
4. Finish the bear by adding the mouth, whisker dots, and a line to split the cheeks.
To make this a girl bear, you can tie a bow and glue it in front of one of the ears.
A Large Sheet Construction Paper Green Tempera Paint
Another Color Tempera Paint Paint Brush
1. Paint a tall green stem on the sheet of construction paper. Paint it down the center, with your paper laying vertically. Draw a circle on one end of your stem to be the center of your flower. 2. Pour green tempera paint into a small paper plate to make the leaves.
Pour a second color of tempera paint into a second paper plate to make the petals.
3. Dab each hand in the green paint and stamp it onto either side of the stem to make the leaves. Wash hands before moving to next step.
4. Dip one hand into the second color of paint and stamp it all around the outside of the circle, fingers facing out.
This will create petals around the center of your flower. Let dry completely.
This project works really well on large sheets of butcher paper, especially if you’re working with a child with big hands. More Ideas...
You can experiment with lots of different kinds of handprint flowers. I’ve seen tulips, for example, that are really cute when they are made from handprints.
Make this a sunflower by using yellow for petals, green for the stem and leaves, and brown for the circle center.
This makes an excellent Spring or Summer project.
If you are a daycare or pre- school provider, you could cut out around each child’s flower and staple them up on a bulletin board. You could even put a picture of each child in the center or write their name in to create a “flower children”
Having a bucket of warm water handy will make this project a lot easier to clean up.
A Sheet Construction Paper Paper Towel Tube
Glue Stick Scissors
Crayons or Markers Decorating Accessories
1. Cut a triangle out of construction paper that measures about 8 inches long and 5 inches wide on the short
side. This is your pennant.
2. Decorate your pennant with things that remind you of summer. You can cut flowers, watermelon slices, or any- thing else that reminds you of summer out of construction paper and glue them on your pennant. You can also
color pictures, use stickers, cut out pictures from magazines, etc. to decorate your pennant.
3. When you’re done decorating, write the word “Summer” across your pennant.
4. Glue your pennant onto a paper towel tube. Glue it to the top so that the tube becomes the handle for your
A glue stick, rather than white glue, works great for this project and creates a lot less mess.
Paint the paper towel tube to coordinate with your pennant. Cover your paper towel tube with an 11 x 6 inch piece of construction paper. Make pennants for other themes or for a special birthday. Attach streamers or ribbons to your pennant to make it really special.
Experiment with other shaped pennants. There are some examples on the bottom of the page.
Tissue Paper Fireworks
1 Sheet Black Construction Paper Tissue Paper
1. Cut tissue paper into 1 - 2 inch squares.
2. Draw a firework pattern in chalk on the black paper. This will serve as a guide for the tissue paper.
3. Pour a little bit of glue into a small paper plate.
4. Loosely crumple up a square of tissue paper. Dip it into the glue and place it on the pattern. Continue to crumple, dip, and place until you have completed your fireworks. Depending on the size of your paper and fireworks, you may want to put a couple on the same page.
This is a fun project for kids because it gives a three
dimensional effect for the fireworks AND they get to crumple up paper. What could be better!
If you’re planning to attend a fireworks show, this would be a good opportunity to talk with your child about fireworks and how loud they are so that they won’t be afraid of the real ones.
Older children can draw a scene below the fireworks to make it look like they are exploding over a house, city, etc.
You can use metalic pens to highlight your fireworks and make them shiny.
If you’re working with a very young child, you may want to put the lines of glue directly on the paper and show them how to place their tissue paper balls on the glue lines.
Try using tissue paper that’s different colors or patterns.
You could do this craft with a craft stick and save yourself a little mess. Draw a line with your glue stick and then press the paper into the line of glue.
Messy Mane Lion
2 Large Paper Plates
Golden Yellow Tempera Paint
Brown, Yellow, Orange, Black and White Construction Paper Scissors Paint Brush Glue Stick Stapler Black Marker
1. Paint the back side of 2 paper plates golden yellow. Let dry. 2. Cut several rectangles about 2 x3 inches out of brown,
orange, and yellow construction paper.
3. Put the 2 plates together with the unpainted sides together and staple once to hold them together. Gather up 4-5
rectangles and sandwich them between the two plates, making sure that at least 2 inches of the rectangles stick out from
between the plates. Staple in place. Continue all the way around the plate. Try to overlap the rectangles a little. This will be the lion’s mane.
3. Cut slices into the rectangles all the way around the plate to create fringe.
Use your hand or a pencil to roll the fringe toward the inside and separate each piece of paper.
The more you mess up the mane, the better it looks.
4. Cut out 2 white ovals and 2 small black ovals to make the eyes and the pupils. Glue the pupils on the eyes and the eyes onto the lion. Draw the rest of the face with a black marker. Cut 6 thin strips of black paper to make whiskers and glue them on.
This project is a lot of fun for kids because they don’t have to be careful with it for fear of tearing it up. The more they mess around with the mane, the better it looks!
Although small children won’t be able to assemble the lion, they can get in some good cutting practice while cutting the mane into fringe.
Tape a craft stick to the back of the lion to give kids something to hold and play with their creation -- making it a
Printer and Paper Crayons
1. Print the picture on the next page on plain paper.
2. Color the school bus. Color the pictures of the people or animals you want on your school bus.
3. Cut out the squares on the dotted line and paste them into the windows on the school bus.
4. Have your child explain why they chose each of the people or animals on your school bus.
This is a good opportunity for kids to use their observational
skills. In addition, they get the chance to practice their reasoning skills.
Some kids may take the “correct” path and only put children on their bus. Others may prefer the animals, and still others may choose all the “happy” characters.
There is no right answer.
However, for a child to practice their logic skills, you have
to make them explain why they chose each of the animals or children on their bus.
This project is not exactly a “craft,” but it will keep your child engaged for a little while with little guidance on your
part. This one is exceptionally easy for parents and provides a lot of good skill building exercises for kids.
I decided to include a school bus project because my son is absolutely crazy about them. We have a stop right in front of our house. He runs to the window whenever he hears them coming and waves to all the kids. He can’t wait to be a “big kid” so he can ride the bus too... but I can!
Mount all the pictures and the bus on cardboard. Attach velcro to the back of the pieces and the windows, and change the people on the bus according to mood.
Clear Container with Lid Water
Cooking Oil Food Coloring
1. Fill container 1/2 to 2/3 full of water.
2. Add several drops of food coloring (any color) to the water. Put the lid on and shake it up to make sure the water and food coloring are well mixed.
3. Fill the container the rest of the way full with cooking oil. Tighten the lid so that child can’t open it. Seal the lid if
4. Gently turn the container upside down and then right side up to see the “lava lamp” effect.
This is a good opportunity to talk with your child about the differences between oil and water. Make it a science project, rather than just a neat thing to make.
Ask your child to make predictions about what will hap- pen each step of the process.
What will happen when we add the food coloring? What will happen when we add the oil?
What happens if we shake it up?
What happens if we let it sit for awhile?
If you’re concerned about the lid coming off, spread some hot glue around the threads of the lid before you put it on the bottle. That should seal it in place.
It’s impossible to illustrate this craft, but kids will find it
interesting. You can really use any type of container that has a good solid lid that you can tighten down. Whatever container you choose,
I recommend using something that is long and slender, rather than short and fat. The effect is easier to see that way.
Once you make one of these, you’ll be able to keep it around a long time. Kids will continue to go back to this if you make it available. I suggest that you only allow your child to “play” with the lava lamp under supervision.
Fall DioramaYou’ll Need Glue Tempera Paint Hot Glue Scissors Crayons
Shoebox With Lid Things From Nature
1. Turn shoebox over on it’s side and set it inside the lid. This will create a tray for your diorama. Glue down with hot glue (a job for an adult).
2. Paint shoebox a fall color inside and out. Let dry completely. Color the templates on the next page and cut out.
Glue to the inside of the box, along the back and side walls. Make a tab at the bottom of the tree and squirrel to make them stand up. Let dry.
3. Go on a nature walk and collect things that represent
Autumn, like acorns, fallen leaves, twigs, pine cones, etc. When you return from the walk, glue all the things you found in- side your shoebox to create a fall diorama.
Kids will get a good chance to exercise their observational skills with this craft.
This will also help reinforce seasonal concepts.
On first glance, this may seem like a project that is too difficult for younger children... it’s actually perfect.
I called this a diorama, but for a very young child it’s really just a collage.
The template pieces on the next page are really only designed to supplement what a child collects.
Some of the things that a child collects may not glue easily to the diorama. A pinecone, for example, won’t stick very well with white glue. On these types of items use a glue gun.
Sheet of Black Construction Paper White Tempera Paint
Black Marker Small Paper Plate
1. Pour some white tempera paint into a small paper plate.
2. Dip the palm and fingers of your hand into the paint. Stamp hand onto the black construction paper with fingers together. You can do this a couple of times if you have room. Let dry completely.
3.Turn the paper upside down so that the fingers are facing down. Use your black marker to draw scary faces on
If you’re doing this for a pre- school or daycare, you can have several children stamp on the same large piece of paper to create a variety of ghosts.
You can also do this project by using a footprint instead of a handprint.
Instead of using a marker to draw in the ghost’s face, you could dip an index finger into black paint and dab on 2 eyes and an “O” mouth.
To make this project more challenging, you could draw a scary scene in chalk on your paper first, and then turn it upside down to stamp your handprints.
Having a bucket of warm water handy will make this project a lot easier to clean up.
Toilet Paper Tube Bat
Black Construction Paper A Toilet Paper Tube
Glue Stick Scissors
1. Print out the template and copy the wings and the feet onto black construction paper. Print out the face on white paper and color (So you’ll be able to see it.) Cut out the wings, feet, and face.
2. Cover the toilet paper tube with a 4 x 6 inch piece of black construction paper. Glue the paper in place.
3. Fold the feet where indicated and glue the tab onto the bottom of the covered tube. Glue the face onto the
tube on the same side as the feet. Fold the wings in half, open back up, and glue around the back side of the tube.
See the picture above for placement.
These bats don’t have to be black, you can make your bat any color you want. My daughter always insists that everything be pink. Glue wiggle eyes over the top of the eyes for a different effect.
To make this more challenging, print it all out on black paper and then cut out small pieces of white paper to make the fangs and eyes.
Make this a spooky bat by following the directions above and then using red dots for the eyes.
Although you can use white household glue for this project, I do recommend using a glue stick instead. It holds well, won’t wrinkle or pucker the paper, and is a lot less messy.
Slimy Worm Painting
Black Construction Paper
Orange, Light Green, and White Tempera Paint
Yarn Scraps Scissors
1. Pour tempera paint out onto small paper plates, one for each color you’re using. Thin the paint slightly with wa-
ter if it’s too thick.
2. Cut a piece of yarn for each color you’re using that’s about 8 inches long. You can also use different widths of yarn.
3. Dip the yarn into the paint and then drag it across your piece of construction paper. Try to use a different piece of yarn for each color of paint so the paint doesn’t get muddy.
Kids can pretend that they are painting with slimy worms. Remember, this craft is about the fun of painting with worms. It doesn’t matter if it actually looks like anything when it’s done. Once they are done with their worm paintings, let the picture dry completely.
NOTE: This project can get very messy, so make sure that kids are wearing old clothes or a painting smock. You may also want to keep some paper towels and water available to wipe their hands.
Tape your paper down to the table before starting to paint to cut down on the mess.
Sprinkle a little glitter or sand on the finished painting while still wet.
Add a little sand to the paint and mix up. This will make your worms seem even more slimy.
Use pink, purple, and blue paint on black paper for a very different look... You could even do this for another theme, like Independence Day.
This is a great Halloween craft, especially if you spark the child’s imagination about how these are creepy worms that they are painting with. It’s also fun to do with a group of kids, like for a Halloween party. This project will even keep the attention of very young children.
Native American Headband
Brown Construction Paper
3 Other Colors Construction Paper Scissors
1. Cut 2 strips of brown construction paper that are the full length of the paper and about 2 inches wide. Staple them together on the ends, overlaping about 2 inches. Fit them around your child’s head and then staple them on
the other end. You should have a headband that is the right size for your child.
2. Cut 3 feather shapes measuring about 6 - 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Each of the feathers should be a different color.
3. Cut slits in the feather shapes to make them look more real. Don’t cut all the way through the feather, only cut about half an inch in. Cut slits the full length of each feather on both sides.
4. Staple or glue the feathers onto the inside of the headband so that they stick up when worn.
You can do fun things like make up an Indian name for your child and write that on the headband.
Try doing this project with real feathers instead if paper
feathers. You can make this project much more challenging by creating an entire headress: Put feathers all the way
around your headband, staple a strip of paper to the back of the headband, and cover the entire thing with paper
feathers. This is an ideal project to do for Thanksgiving. This is a good opportunity to talk to your child about American Indians and their contributions to Thanksgiving.
Snow Play Picture Frame
You’ll Need A Printer Printer Paper Thin Cardboard Scissors Glue Markers or Crayons Transparent Tape 4 x 6 Inch Photograph
1. Print out the template on the next page on printer paper or construction paper.
2. Color the frame.
3. Glue the frame to thin cardboard and let dry. (Cereal box cardboard works well.)
4. Cut out picture frame, including the center hole.
5. Fit the frame over your photo and tape it to the frame on the back side.
Glue sticks work well for this project because they won’t soak through the paper and discolor the picture.
An exacto knife makes quick work of the center hole, for grown-ups only, of course!
The reason for gluing the frame to the cardboard before you cut it out is to avoid cutting it out twice.
1. Glue a loop of ribbon to the back to make a hanger.
2. Use archival tape instead of scotch tape so that picture and frame can be placed in child’s scrapbook.
3. Cover photograph with contact paper or put a thin piece of plastic between frame and photo to protect it.
4. Write the title and date or year to create a keep sake.
This is a really easy way to help your child build some memories.
Kids love to see themselves in pictures. This is also a good way to show your child that you value them.
After all, if you have framed or helped them frame a picture that they are in, then they must be important.
Mitten OrnamentsYou’ll Need Felt Scissors Glue Twine or Yarn Permanent Marker Thin Cardboard
Sharp Object to Make Hole in Felt Decorating Accessories
1. Trace the child’s hand onto a piece of thin cardboard with their fingers together and their thumb out. Using the tracing, create a mitten shape around the traced hand. Cut out the mitten shape.
2. Fold over a piece of felt so that there is a double thickness. Trace the mitten out onto the double thickness of felt with a permanent marker. Cut out mitten through both layers. This will produce two identical mittens - one for the right hand and one for the left.
3. Create a hole through the wrist of each mitten. Thread a piece of twine that’s about 10 - 12 inches long through
each of the holes and tie it together. This will create a loop that connects both mittens.
4. Using a little glue, you can decorate your mittens with scaps of felt, ribbons, sequins, buttons, lace, etc.
5. Once completely dry, you can hang your ornament by draping it over a limb on the Christmas tree.
If you have trouble getting the felt to stick together, or you’re working with an impatiet audience, you may want to use hot glue instead.
You don’t have to use felt for this project. Try making mit- tens out of construction paper.
These make great decorations for Winter too!
You can use these “ornaments” to decorate other parts of your house. For example, they look really nice hanging over a
door knob, hanging from a large wreath, or even hanging from a chandalier.
Don’t forget to write the child’s name and the year on the back with a permanent marker to create a keepsake that will hang on your Christmas tree for years.
New Year Calendar
The 12 Month Templates A Printer Paper Crayons Pen or Marker Stapler Hole Punch
1. Print out the templates on the next twelve pages. One for each month of the year.
2. Write the correct numbers for the days of each month. Color the pictures.
3. Staple the pages together, in monthly order, at the top. Three staples work well, one in the middle and a quarter of the way in on both sides. Punch a hole in the top center so the calendar can be hung.
Talk with the child about each month as you go.
What’s special each month?
What holidays are in each month? What month is the child’s birthday? What season is it?
This is also a great way to get in some counting and practice writing letters.
I know it’s kind of a pain in the neck to write in all the numbers for each month, but it was the only way to make the template usable year after year.
This project is definitely best done over a few days. Comments
This calendar would make a great Grandparent gift!
You could print out the calendar on heavier paper and cover the picture in the top box with your child’s photo!
Pink and Red Construction Paper Scissors
Pinch-Type Clothespins Twine
1. Cut a piece of twine, thin rope, or yarn as long as you want your garland to be.
2. Cut several hearts out of pink and red construction paper. You’ll need one heart for every 6 - 8 inches of your garland. You can use the heart on the next page as a guide for how large your hearts need to be. Double, triple, or quadruple your paper to cut several hearts out at a time.
3. After you cut out your hearts, you can begin decorating them. Try to make each one different to get the best effect for your garland. You can use any materials you choose: glitter, doilies, stickers, markers, crayons, smaller heart centers, etc. 4. After you’re done decorating the hearts and glue has dried, use the clothespins to clip the hearts onto the twine. Clip each heart about 6 – 8 inches apart, leaving a little extra on
each end for hanging.
Tip: It may be easier to hang your garland before you clip your hearts to it.
If you are doing this project for a daycare or preschool class, have each child decorate one heart for the garland, write their name on it, and hang it to share with the rest of the class. It’s a great way to give kids a sense of belonging in their school. This project is a great way to inexpensively celebrate and decorate for the holidays, seasons, months, or anything you want to teach your child.
You can hang just about anything on your garland, other cut outs, fall leaves, Christmas ornaments, plastic toys, etc. Simply take down the hearts and exchange them with another theme. This is great for a kid’s room!
Dollhouse for small play
Here is a simple Dollhouse that can be made from two pieces of foamcore and some scrapbook papers or just tissue paper and old magazine cutouts.
-2 Pieces of standard foamcore or recycled foamcore signs
-glue and or sticky dot type roll glue ( I like the sticky dot type as it does not warp the foamcore as badly, but it does cost more)
-chip brush or cheap paint brush (for applying water thinned glue) -Utility Knife and or X-acto knife
-Scrapbook papers, tissue papers, stickers, etc -Ruler or straight edge for cutting
84 Step 1: Cut the Foamcore
First you will need to cut the ends off the two pieces of Foamcore so that they are square. Do this by
measuring the shortest width and then make all the sides that size. Use the utility knife with a fresh blade and make sure to go all the way through when cutting.
Now take one of the square pieces and cut it in half.
This will make the top two pieces that fit together. The other square will be the floor. Step 2: Notch out the top two pieces
Now take the two top pieces and find the center and mark it with a pencil line. Next find the center of the pencil line and make a small mark.
Now cut out a 1/8 inch notch halfway up (where you made the mark) on both of the pieces. See photo.
Step 3: Place pieces together to make sure they fit
Now flip one of the notched pieces over and fit into the other notched piece. They should fit together nicely. If not adjust cuts as needed.
The bottom of the X should have the notch at the top.
Now with it put together make a small pencil mark to show which way up. This will help when cutting out doors.
86 Step 4: Cut out doors (optional)
Now decide where you want your doors and cut them out. Use the figures that you will be playing with for height measurement.
How to Make Playdough
Play dough is a fun, clay - like substance that kids love! It is very easy to make, and provides hours of fun! It can be expensive to buy at stores, but it's very easy and costs nothing to make it at home! The only materials you will need are:
1/2 cup salt 1/2 cup water 1 cup flour
food dye (any color, be creative!)
newspaper to cover the surface you're working on It only takes about 10 minutes to make
Find a good work space (I used the floor) and cover it with newspaper. also, find a medium sized bowl for mixing.
92 Measure out 1 cup of four, and pour it into the bowl.
then, measure out 1/2 cup of salt, and add that to the bowl, too.
lastly, fill the measuring cup with 1/2 cup of water and pour it into the mixing bowl. Step 3: Mix it!
take a spoon - any spoon will do; and use it to mix up the ingredients. Mix it until it's mushy and it's neither watery nor flour - y.
94 Step 4: Color it!
Add a few drops of food dye to the mush. then pick it up and start kneading it. this is easy, just play around with it. if desired, add more food dye to improve color.
95 Step 5: Viola!
You're finished! if it's a little sticky, knead a tiny bit of flour into it. use your imagination! you can make whatever you'd like!
Spring Butterfly Craft
Who is ready for spring? I love it when the temperature
starts warming and the trees and plants start turning
vibrate colors. I can't think of a better way to celebrate
spring than to do some crafts with your kids. This
butterfly craft is not only cheap to make, but you might
already have all the supplies in your home. If not, your
local dollar store will have everything you need.
98 Spring Butterfly Craft
2 inch wire pics with small bulbs on the end
Crayola Model Magic (white)
1. Your butterfly is made of a coffee filter. The smaller side of the coffee filter is the center of your butterfly. Lay the filter down on the table with the center of the butterfly on the left side. Don't cut on the left fold.
2. Design the shape of your butterfly with the black Sharpie on the coffee filter. Cut it out so each of the sides touch the center of the butterfly.
3. Make veins with a permanent marker on both sides.
4. Roll out of the clay into two long thin pieces and put one on top and the other underneath. Make sure they are longer than the center section. Connect tale and top.
5. Fold the wire pic (antenna) in half and mush it in the clay at the top.
6. Open your butterfly and use watercolors to give your butterfly it's beautiful color. If you want, you can color the clay too. I left mine white since my butterfly was so colorful.
You can put these butterflies on a skewer if you want to make them come to life. Make sure you wrap the clay around the skewer in the middle if you want to do this option. You can also make several of these butterflies without skewers and put them in a shadow box like a
This craft is fun for any age child, including teens. My daughter loved doing this project with her younger brother. This spring craft is inexpensive, fun, and easy. Decorate your home for spring with the spring butterfly craft and before you know it, you will be dreaming of butterflies and warm weather.
TRY this Top 10 Spring Crafts for Kids
1. Flower Cork Craft | Love, Play, Learn
2. Paper Plate Birds | Happy Hooligans
4. Paper Bag Tiara’s | Happy Hooligans