I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published September 25th 2012
Get crafty with these cool creative ideas
Many parents look forward to school holidays with a mixture of excitement and dread: excitement because they're naturally looking forward to spending an extended period with their little darlings, yet trepidation due to worrying about what on earth they're going to do with them all day, every day, for an extended period. These paper craft activities are fun, affordable, and will keep kids happy at home for hours.
Colouring If you have access to the internet and a printer at home, colouring activities are amongst the easiest that you can organise for your children. There are many internet sites with a wide range of colouring templates for kids of all ages. In my opinion, Activity Village is one of the best.
Ever since I was a child, kids have loved paper dolls and colouring in one's own was even more special as you could personalise them. These days, with so many resources on the internet, all you need to do is choose the dolls you want and print them. My favourite website is Marilee's paper Dolls which has lots of links to good-quality resources including pretty fairy dolls, elf dolls, human dolls and even a lovable cat family which can be dressed up.
Paper crowns Paper crowns are incredibly easy to make and kids will love decorating them with paint, glitter, feathers, beads and anything else that's available. They're also incredibly cheap as they can be made with scrap paper, recycled cardboard, junk mail and even newspaper. Just make sure that you have plenty of sticky tape and craft glue on hand.
Cards and Bookmarks Card making is loads of fun for children of all ages. Personalised cards and bookmarks are lovely for any occasion and a great way to utilise your kids' artwork. They can be as simple as folding a piece of paper, or extremely complex, using a variety of fancy techniques. For very young children, coloured in pictures can be used, while older children will possibly want to do their own drawings. Photographs, collages or the traditional art of decoupage also look good.
If your children are enthusiastic, you might want to create a special card-making kit for your home with different kinds of cardboard, pretty papers, craft glue, pinking shears, and colouring pencils. Glitter, sparkly pens, ribbon, and fancy hole-punches can also be included, as they add the finishing touches to even the simplest designs.
Cut-outs Cutting out activities are popular with kids of all ages. Once again, they cost next to nothing and the use of scrap paper can provide interesting effects, especially for paper doilies and daisy chains. Of course, plain paper is best for doll chains so children can draw faces and clothes on them.
Paper doilies are made by folding a piece of paper into four or eight sections and cutting through the layers so that the same pattern appears on each part. When the paper is unfolded, a pretty doily is revealed which can then be decorated with paint or glitter.
Daisy or doll chains are made by pleating a piece of paper, drawing the desired shape on one part, and cutting through the pleated pieces so that a chain of linked figures is formed. However, always make sure that each figure connects to the others on the folds, or they won't form the desired chain.
Even very young children love to make paper dolls and doilies.
Gift boxes Small cardboard trinket boxes are available cheaply at many craft and bargain stores. These also make wonderful gifts, and children can spend hours decorating them with paints, glitter and beads. It's often worth stashing a few packets before the holiday rush begins.
Masks are easy to make, and kids love making them. Although templates are available on the internet, older children might enjoy creating their own designs using a paper plate or some colourful cardboard as a base. A few items to stash aside for your mask-making kit could be craft glue, scissors, sticky tape, fancy paper, wool, cotton wool, aluminium foil, crepe paper, fabric scraps, ribbons and glitter glue. A few of the many free mask templates which can be found on-line are those at Game Ideas for Kids and Printable Masks.
Paper Bag Puppets
With a face drawn on and some colourful decorations, brown paper bags can make wonderful hand puppets. Paper bag puppets can be very simple with basic features painted or stuck on, or they can be highly decorative. The items which I suggested for the mask-making kit, above, could also be used to make your paper-bag puppets.
A paper bag is all you need to make these cute puppets.
Scrap books are a lot of fun for children of all ages to make. Large blank books are cheap to buy and kids can fill the pages with their artwork, collaged cut-outs or a mixture of both. If your kids have a digital camera they may enjoy taking photos of themselves and their friends, and include these in the book as well.
While young children will simply enjoy the process of cutting out interesting pictures and sticking them into their scrapbook, older ones may prefer to make their books more creative or to have a specific theme such as 'Family and Friends' or 'Our Camping Trip to Monkey Mia'.
Adequate preparation is essential for many of these home-based craft activities. If possible, gradually build up a kit of goodies well before school ends and print templates which you think your kids will love. Hide the kit at the back of your cupboard and bring it out when the holidays start. You'll be glad you made the effort.