Fun Activities for Kids - Kids Crafts  

by Pool Builders on 02-19-2010 in Articles

Copyright (c) 2010 Ivana Katz

You will notice that many of the following ideas are very open-ended tasks. Your child will be led by his or her imagination. However, remember that they will be limited by the resources that you place in front of them. At times like these, it can be useful to have your own craft-box, full of odds and ends that will prove useful for craft activities. Your craft "box of tricks" can include:

Sticky stuff:

a roll of Sellotape / masking tape
glue stick, plasters,
cling film,
gummed paper,
sticky-backed plastic

The bricks to build with:

coloured paper and cardboard,
cereal boxes,
egg boxes,
clean food containers,
yoghurt pots,
polystyrene packaging,
corrugated cardboard,
tissue boxes,
cardboard tubes...
...as much 'junk' as you can fit into one box!

Useful extras:
scraps of material (e.g. cut up old jeans or sheets),
old magazines / comics,
string,
table-tennis balls,
elastic bands,
pipe-cleaners (always useful)
tin foil,
water-based paints,
PVA glue (as well as its sticking properties,
when painted onto a decorated surface this dries transparently and acts as a shiny varnish), paintbrushes,
scissors child friendly
felt-tipped pens (water-based),
'sticky eyes' (these stick-on wobbly eyes are available from most craft shops and make any character-model instantly come to life when stuck on - a must!),
a selection of buttons
a tube of glitter (use at your own peril!)

Design A Bookmark Age suitability: 2+

You will need: a variety of craft materials for inspiration (e.g. magazines to cut up, glue sticks, card, pens, paint, and items from nature)

Children of all ages enjoy owning their own books. A great way to personalise their bedtime story experience is for them to design their own bookmark. Depending on their age, you will need to do the preparation yourself. Begin by cutting a rectangle of card of material and then decorate to taste. Remember that it needs to allow a book to close, so anything bulky should be saved for the end that sticks out beyond the pages. Use sticky-backed plastic, Sellotape or a laminator if you have one to cover and protect the design transparently. Feel like turning into a mass-production line? How about making one for Granny and Gramps too, with designs that suit their interests? They'll be sure to cherish them.

Floatin' Boatin'
Age suitability: 4+

You will need: a variety of craft materials for inspiration (the more waterproof the better), somewhere to trial the boats' floatability (a bath, swimming pool, stream)

Suggest that your child builds a craft that is able to float. Useful materials may include plastic water bottles, lids, food containers, twigs, used matches, tin foil, etc. If you don't have any Sellotape, cling film or even plasters can be used to stick together component parts.

Design an appropriate test for the boat to complete: Have access to a swimming pool? See how far your boat can float before sinking. The boat maker may wish to swim slowly behind their vessel and help it along by blowing a gentle breeze in its direction! Testing the boat in the bath? Why not see how many items it can carry before capsizing? Start off lightly with a sponge or a bar of soap and build up the weight.

Life-Sized Robots
Age suitability: 4+

You will need: a variety of craft materials for inspiration, a CD of electronic music

This is a great activity to keep your children busy. Not a task to complete alone, they will need your help if they are to turn into a robot themselves! Go through the recycling bin for newspapers, cardboard boxes and egg cartons. You will also need huge supplies of sticky tape. Your kids' job is to design, then manufacture, their own robot costumes. Begin with a box for the head, cutting out eye-holes and a large slit for the mouth. Pipe cleaners, egg cartons or twisted paper all make great antennae. For the body, tape large sheets of newspaper paper directly onto their t-shirt. Cereal boxes make excellent robotic feet. Finally, if you bind their arms and legs tightly enough in newspaper, the robots will have no choice but to move with stiff limbs.

Make the most of the costumes by practicing jerky robot moves and, when ready, hold a life-size robot parade with some electronic music.

Newspaper Challenges
Age suitability: 4+

You will need:
a pile of old newspapers,
scissors,
Sellotape / masking tape

Your children don't need snazzy equipment to keep them occupied. Just like those early Christmases when the wrapping paper holds more interest than the present, all you need is a few old newspapers and some imaginative challenges. Depending on your choice of challenge and age of your children, there are valuable design lessons to learn along the way (paper can be strengthened by folding and rolling, triangles are the strongest shape, etc). For older children, limit the amount of paper each competitor is allowed to use. This is a good test of the best design with limited resources.

- Who can build the tallest tower? Towers must be free-standing. Try piling up scrunched-up paper balls on top of one another or a tripod of firmly rolled tubes.

- Can you build a bridge that spans the gap between the sofa and the coffee table? The winner is the one that can balance the most cushions on it.

- It is also worth challenging your child to produce a whole outfit made out of paper Hats, gloves, trousers, spectacles... let them use their imaginations. The results will be impressive, I guarantee! Who can make the largest, wildest animal out of newspaper... a crocodile? an elephant?

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