Ideas for art/craft to make for kids

The Penny dropped

Got an old kitchen cabinet door (or any block of wood)? Turn it quickly in to a fun game with just a few nails. I had some ‘help’ from my daughter, or literally it would have taken half an hour, tops.

Combined with the ‘Feed Me’ garden game and the Wheel of Fortune, you could have a nice little fairground in your back garden by now for basically free!

You’ve probably played this type of thing loads of times at school fates or fairgrounds. It never occurred to me before today how easy it was to make.

First you need a block of wood. I found this old kitchen cupboard door going a bit fusty in the garage.

I gave it a quick clean and then marked a selection of dots across the width of it. I measured them just over 3cm apart as that seemed to fit a 2p coin through. I was just guessing that this would work, you could probably do something a bit more precise if you wanted to. The important thing is that the coin you want to use to play the game can fit through and drop down, without there being too much space left over.

Don’t forget you need marked sections at the bottom for your scoring areas.

Finish your first line then repeat this at regular intervals going down the wood, as in the photo above. You obviously need to make sure the rows alternate in terms of where the dots sit on the wood – so that after you’ve put your nails in, the coin will drop down to the next row and bounce through (if you get them all in a straight line it’ll just drop to the bottom!).

The overall number of dots will depend on how many nails you’ve got spare and how big the wood is. We did 6 on a line, with each row a little bit more than a ruler’s width apart.

I then just got a bag of spare nails and hammered them in roughly where the dots were. My daughter helped me knock them in and actually she was pretty sensible about it. I did get a little thump on my thumb once or twice but no major injuries!

At the bottom, you need to separate some scoring areas. You need some ‘0’ points and some higher points to add a bit of jeopardy. We painted the scores on into the sections at the bottom. I did the red ones, my daughter did the black ones- you’ll see that for some reason she chose to put ’14’ as a score, which made the maths a lot more tricky when adding up how many points you’ve got! Pop another nail on the separating lines so that the coin drops in to one and stays in.

The good thing about using this cupboard door, is that it had a ‘lip’ already cut into it at the bottom, which serves to stop the coins. If you are just using a straight piece of wood, then you’d need to screw a thin piece of wood on the the bottom of your run to then catch them in the scoring areas.

Once you’ve added any further ‘decoration’, you’re good to go. Take it in turns to drop a coin down and see how many points you can get!

Mine wasn’t perfect, every now and then the coins just fall through the gaps, or dropped on the floor. This wasn’t very often though and we found that if you lean it at an angle away from the wall, it helps with making sure the penny falls down better.

Have a go! Keep it for parties. Probably good for drinking games as well when the kids aren’t around!

Ideas for art/craft to make for kids

From kid’s picture to soft toy!

Get your kids to draw a picture and then wow them by turning it into a soft toy. This took a couple of hours, it became a bit fiddley but my daughter was over the moon with the result. I managed to make it without a dreaded sewing machine, though it would be quicker if are good with one. You will need some very basic sewing skills to make it, but nothing too taxing.

(For another sewing project, see )

Here’s how we did it….

First off, ask your kid to draw a character. The simpler the better really, as the more fiddley it is the longer it will take to sew. My daughter drew the character below. If I was doing it again, I’d probably try and talk her out of doing all the spikes at the bottom!

Once you’ve got your finished character, cut it out. I doubled up on the card in case I needed to do one for the front and one for the back, but in the end I don’t think I need this (I just doubled up on the material as explained in a bit).

Then choose some material. You could always buy some, but my daughter had recently put a hole in her leggings and so rather than throw them out, I used them! It was probably not the easiest material to work with as its quite stretchy, but it turned out okay in the end.

Holey leggings.

When you’ve got some material, draw around the template on to it. You need two layers, so as mentioned above, you could do a front and a back separately, or pin two layers of material together and just do it in one go. I used the leggings and these had two layers to it anyway (the front and the back of the trouser) so I just used a safety pin or two to hold them together to make sure they didn’t move around when I was cutting them.

Make sure you leave a bit of space around the template where you cut as when you sew it together, it’ll turn out smaller unless you give yourself some room. I forgot about this until it was too late, so as you can see, I only gave myself extra material on one side. Oops.

The next step is the laborious bit. Face the two bits together, with the sides that you want to be on the outside when its finished, facing inside, towards each other for the time being (you’ll turn it inside out later on).

There’s no getting away from it then, you just have to sew around the edge. I’ve tried to explain how to do a running stitch in an earlier blog (see link above). It’s the only sewing I know how to do, and it seems to work so if ain’t broke, don’t fix it! It doesn’t matter if its not mega-neat, but you do need it to be small enough and in enough of a coherent link for it to hold when you turn it the right way.

This was tricky, I admit it. It was made trickier by all the jagged edges; definitely stick to a circle or straight edges if you want an easier life.

Make sure you leave a gap at the top as you’ll need to be able to flip it, and stuff it!

Okay, so next step is to turn it inside out (or outside in, as actually what you’re doing is getting it the way you want). Again, this was much fiddlier because of the shape of my daughter’s drawing. I had to get a pencil and force the points out at the far end.

Once you’ve done that, the next bit is to stuff it with filling via the part you’ve left open. I bought some toy filling from Hobbycraft. I don’t know if there is something else you could use, but it wasn’t expensive and for this sized toy, you hardly used any so there was loads left. Do try and pack it in relatively full, as it spreads out once you handle it.

Once you’ve done that. Sew up the hole with a few stitches. That should be your basic shape done. Hopefully it looks roughly like the initial drawing?

Nearly there! You then need to sew on the face or anything else from the drawing. If you’ve been unfortunate enough that your child has drawn arms and legs, I guess you could have either done those as one whole piece with the body, or do the arms and legs separately and sew them on. Luckily I didn’t need to bother with that this time.

For the face, I used felt from out of the kid’s craft box, and just tried to cut the right shapes. You could sew these pieces on, but I glued them for speed (there’s no hard pieces so no choking risk). I added a few stitches for the pupils and the tongue, just going around and around with the cotton in roughly the same spot (not the most technical explanation!).

And there you go!

From picture to soft toy in a couple of hours!

Ideas for art/craft to make for kids

Treasure Hunt

An oldie but a goodie. You’ve probably done a treasure map before, which is easy enough to do just around the house or something. For this one, I wanted to get my son up and out on his bike in the morning, so spent an hour or so last night making a treasure hunt for him. I left a letter for him next to his bed, so that he would find it when he first woke up.

It read….

A mysterious letter!

You’ll notice the letter is on ‘old’ looking paper – I know that somehow there is a way of staining paper with tea or coffee to create this effect. I think it’s as simple as brushing a little of the tea/coffee over the paper and then drying it out before writing on it. Unfortunately I did my first one the wrong way, as I wrote the clue out then tried to dip it in tea, and the ink just ran off and the paper went soggy- it was a complete disaster that I had to then write it all out again! So, if nothing else hopefully I’ve stopped you making the same mistake!

What it did mean was that by the time I’d re-written it I was frustrated and impatient so just shoved it under the grill. To be fair this did make it go brown within about 20 seconds, but if by any chance you do think of doing the same, please make sure you keep an eye on it as it happened very quickly and would literally catch fire very quickly if you don’t watch it. I recommend just staining the paper beforehand, it’s definitely safer!

I then wrote the clues, which are in the photos below and took us on a 3 mile or so, tour of our local area. I did think about trying to go out early in the morning and hide the clues but thought better of it, and so just folded the paper as small as I could and just kept them in my pocket. As we got to each place the clue should lead to, I just let the kids start looking and when they were distracted, dropped the paper somewhere so they could then find them. That’s it – the only other thing to remember is to hide the treasure! As you’ll see I took us on a loop and back to our garden, so it was easy enough to just hide it before we went out. They didn’t mind that at all (I was a bit worried they’d think that it had all been a waste of time!)

I will say, the kids loved it. We had a slight glitch in that my son didn’t notice the letter when he woke up so I had to find a reason to ask him to go back to his bedroom, but after that he was excited. I’d intended it as a way of getting a decent bike ride in with him, but my daughter (who’s a bit younger) also wanted to be involved when she saw it. I’m glad she did as although I ended up pushing her on her bike most of the three and a half miles, they both loved it. For something really simple, it took us a few hours and they were delighted to find the treasure at the end! Luckily it didn’t occur to them that the pirate had gone to extreme lengths to bury what was in effect, a very small treasure pile! Why not give it a go!

Ideas for art/craft to make for kids

‘Feed Me’ Garden Game

A quick but fun garden game made on a Sunday morning in less than an hour.

Feed Me!

Sunday mornings used to be watching telly and nursing a hangover. Nowadays they involve being woken up at the crack of dawn nagging me to play on my ipad. Today was no exception. The kids came in before 7am and as usual, by the time I’ve made a cup of tea, the bed has been taken over. This morning, I decided to make the most of the time by making a quick game for the garden. It’s now called the ‘Feed Me garden game’; watch out for it soon in all good toy shops*, or build your own for free.

*That bits not true, unless of course Hasbro contact me and want to make it in to a game, in which case it is true and I’m laughing all the way to the bank.

Here’s a quick guide on how to make it. I admit I am getting a bit excited at using the Jigsaw.

  1. Find a piece of wood.
  2. Cut some holes in of various sizes. For anyone thinking ‘how do you get the holes cut?’ – Good question. I’m sure there is a better way, but as you can see from the photo I just did a bodge job of cutting into it and then around. It worked fine.

3. Keep the wood from the middle of the holes. You can get the kids to decorate them and hang them in the garden.

Keep these to paint another time.

4. Give it a lick of paint. Any will do, this was just out of the shed.

5. When dry, just draw some faces around the holes to look like the mouths are open. We just used the kids paints. It will wash off over time, but who cares? – a good excuse to paint new pictures!

6. Paint some scores on and then playing the game also includes a cheeky bit of maths! As you can see above, I initially made the mistake of putting the higher scores on the biggest hole. When I unveiled this game to my son, he quickly pointed out that makes it too easy to get high scores. I sighed, had to admit that he was right and swapped them around.

7. Let it dry and you’re all finished. Take it in turns to throw bean bags/balls through the ‘mouths’ and add up the points. Be a competitive mum/dad, and thrash them. Do not let the kids win (that’s a joke, I didn’t need to let them win, they beat me anyway).

Rocking the pyjamas and patent shoes look.
Blog Ideas for art/craft to make for kids

Some simple ideas

Last blog of the week as I need time to actually do things. Thanks to all those who have stayed with this over the course of its first week!

There’s a second instalment of the Sad Rock stories towards the end of the blog. Today we find out how ‘East’ got sad. I feel like these should build into a kind of ‘Sad Rocks Assemble’ where in the last one they all meet up and are just sad together, but unfortunately I’m not in charge of the script (or yesterday’s reindeer would definitely have got his comeuppance today.)

For now, let’s turn to a couple of nice simple ideas for projects. You could take the inspiration and turn them into Father’s day gifts – make a quick ‘dad’s shed’ plaque and a bead card, wrap them up and then…. watch his face as he smiles whilst wishing you had bought him some beer!

A door plaque:

Who doesn’t love a door plaque? Surely we all had one with MY ROOM – KEEP OUT! hung on the door at some point. I did one as a present for a someone recently. He’s 45 so thought it was a bit strange when he opened it, but he did put it on his door so he must have liked it.

Not really, it was a 5 year old, who was pleased.

Spare floorboard cut into blocks.

To make it I cut some left over floorboards into blocks. Nothing would initially stick well to the shiny surface so I gave it a coat of paint; just some matt wall paint we had left over in the shed.

The paint we’d got was a deep purple, so I chose to paint the lettering in white as a contrast. For this one (see below) I cut out block lettering from some card and then used that as a stencil, dabbing the white paint to try and keep neat lines but if you wanted to paint straight on freehand, you could do. I did the ‘room’ bit freehand and just tried to make sure it wasn’t too wobbly.

To bring it to life a bit, I added a couple of dinosaurs. I copied these off a picture on google images (need to try harder to remember to make a note of the websites). I drew mine straight on and then painted them, but if you had a decent printer, you could print the picture and trace an outline.

To finish it off I then just added something to hang it with, a green bootlace out of one of the kid’s craft boxes as I didn’t have any wire.

Door plaque

There was a double power tool alert. I had to use the jigsaw to cut in to pieces and then the drill to put some holes in the top. This felt very manly and I had a strong cuppa to mark the occasion.

Bead birthday cards:

Going to the shop to buy birthday cards in lockdown didn’t feel like essential travel so we took to making our own when it was my wife’s birthday recently (some people might call it tight, but let’s stick with it being creative for the purposes of this blog!). I guess loads of people with kids have those bead sets, and it was quite quick and effective to put them on a card.

The kids chose a design from their sets, and once they’d made them and they’d set, we just glued them on to some card. They stuck on surprisingly well just using Pritt stick. We went with ‘I love you to the moon and back’ from my daughter, and my son wrote ‘I hope your birthday is a piece of cake’ – a tagline that he thought of himself and was pretty pleased with.

The Sad Rock stories – number 2

Finally, for all those of you who only visited the site to get the next instalment of the Sad Rocks Stories, here it is in all its genre busting glory. Still no happy ending but I look forward to the prequel where hopefully we learn how the human parents managed to have a rock as a son.

Such a shame. What did the haunted house have to do with anything though?