Why are Creating Paper Crafts Important for Kids?
If you put kids, paper, scissors, a couple of markers and some tape in a room what do you have? Pretty much this section of It’s All Kid’s Play! Because Kids + Paper = Fun!
But why should we let kids roam with paper and scissors (don’t run!), because crafting helps develop fine motor skills, creativity, problem solving skills, spatial awareness (ever tried making a fortune square without it?) as well as many other abilities and skills in a fun, risk free way. So grab some paper, scissors, markers and tape and give your kids a couple of these crafts, a little bit of freedom and see what they create!
These activities are just the beginning. There are more paper craft activities on the It’s All Kid’s Play blog as well as Pinterest. And sometimes I share activities on Twitter, too! Oh, and be sure to check out the book I wrote, too. It includes over 1,000 play activities so no matter where you are and what your interests or age, there is something in there for you–guaranteed! Check it out!
Materials needed to make a homemade paper fan: paper, stapler, and markers if you want to decorate the fan.
To make a paper fan, you will make a bunch of accordion folds. In other words, fold one edge up, flip it over, fold that fold up again, and on and on until you have sort of a w-shaped piece of paper. Only it’s a bunch of ‘w’s stuck together.
To start, fold one edge of the paper over about 3 cm (1 inch). Flip the whole paper over and fold the folded end up another 3 cm (1 inch), flip it over and repeat until you have no more paper to fold. Staple through one end of the fan’s folds to keep the folds together. Voila! You now have a homemade paper fan.
If you would like to make a fancier fan, you can decorate your fan by painting or colouring the paper before folding it, using fancy paper, or by cutting small pieces out of the folded fan–it’ll look delicate and dainty.
Fortune Square / Cootie Catcher
Materials needed: a square sheet of paper, pen or markers
Fortune Squares (also called Cootie Catchers) are a childhood classic and are very popular with young girls.
How to make a Fortune Square (Cootie Catcher): Fold the four corners of a square piece of paper into the centre of the piece of paper so the corners just touch each other but do not overlap. (Your paper will be a square shape again when you are done.) Turn the piece of paper over so your folded-in corners face down. Fold the new side’s four corners into the middle like you did on the other side. On this side, write down eight different numbers on the four folded-in triangles (there should be a fold down the middle of each triangle–write a number on each side of the fold). On the underside of these folds write eight different fortunes or sayings about people. For example: “You look nice today,” “You will marry a rich person,” “You will sail around the world,” “You will have eight children,” or my daughter’s favourite: “You will eat pancakes!”
Flip your fortune square over and write or colour four different colours on the flaps. Now put your pointer finger and thumb of each hand under each coloured flap and pinch the fortune square so the four corners of the square point up. This part is tricky–to do this you have to fold or bend the paper so all four corners up together while keeping your fingers and thumbs inside the flaps.
Find a friend and ask them to pick a colour. Spell out the colour as you move the flaps open forwards or sideways–alternating for each letter. When you have spelled out the colour, have them pick a number from the inside that the fortune square was open to when you were done spelling. Count out that number while opening and closing the flaps like before. Have them pick a number from inside and look underneath for their fortune!
Origami is best when done with special origami paper. (You can find whole instruction and paper kits in craft and book stores.) Also check out how to make the origami dog shown at the top of this page by following this link.
Make a Paper Hat
To make a paper hat, you will need: newspaper (or a really big sheet of plain paper) and tape.
Fold your paper in half, lengthwise. Have the open edges of the paper facing you. Then fold the top right corner down to the middle of the page (the folded piece will make a triangle shape). Repeat with the left side. You should now have a large triangle. Put a piece of tape across the two folded pieces to hold it together as a triangle. To make the brim of your hat, take the flap that falls down past the rest of the triangle. Fold one of the pieces of flap up 2-3 times and tape it to the main triangle of the hat. Repeat on the other side. You now have a gorgeous hat, darling!
Decorate it! Paint it, colour it, staple, tape, or glue things to it, add stickers, tape pictures to it, glue feathers, beads, or flowers. Make it dazzle! Or simply make it a black pirate hat! Arrrr, matey!
There are hundreds of ways to make a paper airplane. Experiment. What flies the best? Does making bigger wings help? What about bending the wings up a little bit? Is that better or worse?
Paper Stained Glass
Materials needed: tissue paper, black construction paper, glue, and scissors.
Your construction paper will be the window frame for your stained glass. Cut different shaped holes in your frame (the construction paper). Make sure you leave spaces of black paper at least 2cm wide between your window holes as this is where you will glue your tissue paper.
Cut pieces of tissue paper a bit bigger than the window’s holes. Gently glue the tissue paper in place. Hang your stained glass in a window so light will shine through the tissue paper.
Create Your Future House
Materials needed: paper, pictures from a magazine or catalogue, scissors, glue.
Cut pictures of things like yards and furniture out of a newspaper, magazine, or catalogue. Glue them onto a blank sheet of paper to make your future house. If you can’t find what you need, draw it in. If you want to really plan big, draw out the whole house and all the rooms on a big sheet of paper, then add in the things you think would be cool.
What are paper cutout pictures? They are when you cut a shape out of one colour or kind (or texture) of paper and glue it on top of another kind or colour of paper to make it stand out.
Paper cutout pictures can be more than just cut outs though. You can also colour and draw on the picture. And what looks really cool is if you place a cut out over black construction paper (don’t glue it down) and rub chalk back and forth over the edge of the cut out so you leave chalk on the construction paper in the shape of the cut out when you lift the cut out. So cool!
Materials needed: tissue paper and pipe cleaners
Take 4-6 rectangular pieces of tissue paper. Stack the sheets on top of each other and fold them together like an accordion–about 5 folds. (To fold like an accordion: Take one edge of the stack and fold it up about 3 cm (an inch). Then flip it over and fold that fold up 3 cm. Flip it over and fold your folded bits up the same amount. Keep going until you are out of paper to fold.) Tip: When folding, fold up the long end of the rectangle, so you have a long, skinny strip when you are done.
When done folding, wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle of the tissue paper accordion. Gently pull each layer of tissue paper upwards on both sides of the accordion to make the flower’s petals. Twist another pipe cleaner onto the one wrapped around the tissue paper to make a nice, long stem. You can add more pipe cleaners onto the stem to make leaves.
My mom made these and placed them in a basket for my grandma to help her decorate her living room. It looked really cool.
Materials needed: paper, scissors, and magic. Okay, no magic. Just tough fingers to cut through all that paper!
To make a paper snowflake, take a square piece of paper and fold it in half. Then fold it in half the other way so you have a square again. Then, fold it at an angle so you make a triangle instead of a square. You can fold it one more time to make a skinny triangle if your paper is flexible enough. Now cut little notches or holes and other neat shapes out of the folded paper. The more holes you make, the more delicate your snowflake will be. When you are done, carefully unfold it to see your beautiful paper snowflake.
Make Your Own Placemat or Coaster
Materials needed: paper and pens or markers.
You can make a placemat or coaster from ordinary paper by decorating it using crayons, paints (how about a handprint for Dad?), pens, or pencil crayons. You can also glue pictures or other ‘thin’ things to your placemat or coaster. When you are done, have it laminated (sealed in plastic) at an office supply store. That way, your homemade placemat or coaster will be protected by see-through plastic–so if you spill on it, you can wipe it off.
(HINT: Keep your placemat ‘skinny’. If it is too thick, you won’t be able to laminate it.)
Materials needed: thin cardboard (like from a cereal box), scissors, markers or paint.
Cut out a boomerang shape (sort of like a stretched out, fat ‘U’) from thin cardboard. You can colour or paint your boomerang to make it fancy or get straight to flying it.
To fly your boomerang, hang the edge of your boomerang over the edge of a book. Tip the book up to give your boomerang some lift. Flick the edge of your boomerang with your finger. Ta-da! Away it goes!
Did it come back to you? Did it spin a lot? Fly 2 at once! Change the shape of your boomerang and see if it changes the way it flies. You can also try bending the edges out and see what happens. Experiment! Discover! And try not to hit the cat. Meow.
Make a Mask
There are lots of ways to make your own mask. One simple way is by using a paper plate.
Materials needed: paper plate (or a piece of flexible cardboard cut into a circle), string or elastic cord, or a Popsicle stick, markers (crayons, paints, or pencil crayons), scissors.
Draw a face on your paper plate mask with markers, crayons, pencil crayons, or paint. Ask an adult to cut out the eye holes. HINT: you can glue things like pipe cleaners, strips of construction paper or string to make whiskers. You can glue felt or fleece to make a fuzzy, soft nose. What do you have on hand? Be creative!
How will you keep the homemade mask craft against your face? The easiest way is to (vertically) tape a Popsicle stick to the bottom of your plate so you have a handle sticking down for you to hold. If your child wants their hands free, an adult can poke a small hole by each mask ear (the edge of the plate). Thread a piece of string or elastic cord through the poked holes. Tie it tight enough that it will hold the mask to the child’s face.