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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Life Sized

Little time for craft today, my son wanted to play football after work, so we went to the park instead. However, I was browsing through some photos and came across something really simple that I’d forgotten about so thought I’d put this on the blog.

Essentially you can see it all in the photos! Tape a few sheets of A4 together and then draw around a kid to create a lifesized outline. If you’ve got more than one child, get one to pose and one to draw – this in itself is hilarious if the one posing won’t stay still.

Once you’ve got the outline, the sky’s the limit in what you can do. Colouring alone can take ages, and when that loses its novelty. bring out some paint and then lots of crafty items to decorate it with. Foil, felt, wool, buttons, tissue paper etc etc. Just keep adding and adding for as long as the kids remain interested!

I included this in the blog because craft doesn’t have to be a big thing. This was a really, really simple idea but one which is a) pretty much free if you have paper and crayons etc. and b) can take a lot longer than you might think, which is great if you need just kill a couple of hours in an afternoon. If you can catch the kids in the right mood, then they might happily colour away for ages!

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Wheel of Fortune

A quick project that if you get the categories right, can provide a lot of fun. It only took about half an hour at most to make.

First off, you need a circle. In theory you could use anything that you think would work. I chose the lid of an old tub, just because I thought the plastic would have a ‘wipe clean’ finish.

A word of warning, if you do it the same way as me, then you should know that it rubs off really easily. That’s good if you want to be able to change the categories and do it again (or if you want to use the lid for something else) but does mean that it would wipe/wash off if the kids get too rough with it or it rains. It’s no major problem to re-do it, but just letting you know! I guess you could use different types of paint and make it more permanent.

Anyway, back to the steps. Take a circle and put hole in the middle.

Separate it into as many sections as you want, and paint them in. We used kid’s water based paints which I dried with a hairdryer to speed it up (forever impatient). As mentioned before, it was fine but it will flake/wipe off quite easily, so if you want something more permanent maybe explore yourself what works.

Next you need your categories based on what the kids like doing. I painted these on, but if you had a wipeable marker that would be great.

I wanted to get our kids running around so a lot of them involve physical stuff, but you could make this more educational via a maths challenge, or pretty much anything you wanted.

Here’s our categories. I included the dreaded ‘sit quietly’ as a bit of jeopardy! I started with saying that if you land on this you have to be quiet for an hour but had to admit defeat and it ended up being for a minute. Shame.

Okay, so nearly there, you just need to take a screw or a nail and attach it on to something. I did have a bit of wood to use, but you could screw it to a fence post, or basically anything that you don’t mind having a small hole in. Remember to leave it loose enough that it will spin for a while.

If you’re cleverer than me you could probably work out how to put something on it that slows it down steadily (like on the Wheel of Fortune tv show) but I couldn’t think how to do that. I just painted a quick arrow at the top, which worked fine as it only spins for a few seconds before stopping anyway.

It’s ready to play! Take turns to spin the wheel and do the task! Bring some enthusiasm and be prepared to do your challenge – the kids were delighted to see their parents dancing in the garden. I guess we only have a short time before seeing me dance will become sheer embarrassment, but for now, they think I’ve got moves (I really haven’t).

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Piñata.

Since I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve been pretty amazed at how simple things can be to make. Today we made a Piñata. It took not much longer than an hour and yeah, it looked pretty rustic but then again, a 4 year old did decorate it. Also, not sure about you, but I don’t want to spend that much time on something that’s then going to be hit with a stick.

Here’s how to do it:

First off, you need a cardboard box. Better to have a big one if you can, as you’ll need the flaps on the top/bottom too.

Decide what shape you want your Piñata to be. You could pick something elaborate, but I wasn’t sure at the start whether this would work or not, so we just went with a heart shape.

Cut it out and then use the first one as a template for the second one.

You then end up with two hearts.

Next step is to connect them together. We used the flaps from the top of the box, which we place in a strip around the outside of one of the hearts. We just used masking tape to hold it on, and to be honest I wasn’t convinced it would stay together, but it was fine.

You should then have a 3-D version of your heart, but just missing one side. Next step then, is to flip it over and stick the other heart on.

You’re now ready to decorate. Again, you could do this very elaborately, we just covered it in glue and stuck tissue paper on it.

We were also too impatient to let ours dry before we tried to hang it up.

To hang it, you could just make one hole in the top and thread some string through. Our seemed to be too big for that so I made two holes (one in each side) with a screwdriver then tied the string to a long twig and threaded it through using that. I’ll try to show what I mean in the photos below for no other reason that I was quite smug after I did it :

Make a hole in each side at the top.

You can either fill it with sweets before hanging it, or vice versa. We hung it up as I wanted to make sure the string was strong enough.

And that’s it! Easy peasy! Now, get some frustration out by bashing it with a stick, and then eat some sweets! Oh, maybe let the kids have a go too.

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Scratch art

I woke up early today. Well, technically the kids woke up early, I sent them back to bed at which point they went quickly to sleep and I was wide awake.

Anyway, there’s worse things in life than having an hour to yourself on a sunny summer’s morning so I used the time to have a tea and see if I could make scratch art from, well, scratch.

Part of the blog is trying to work out how to do things myself. On that basis, I’m not claiming this is the best way of doing this, it’s just the way that I thought of. I’m sure you can find some more elaborate or sophisticated methods online, and if you’re looking to do professional standard pictures then probably have a look for those. However if you just want something quick that the kids can get stuck into and then forget about 5 minutes later, this might be for you.

Here’s how I did it in a few very easy steps.

First step, take some card. I’d suggest card rather than paper, as paper might just crumple under the paint or rip when you scratch it. We only had black card, so I had to use that but I’d probably recommend white or a brighter card so the colours stand out better.

I presume that part of making scratch art is that you need two substances that don’t mix very well. I’m not sure whether that makes any difference, but I used wax crayon to colour on the card as I guess that the paint won’t stick to it and it’ll come off easier (that may or may not be true).

Colour the card and then put a coat (or maybe two) of black paint over the top. I just used bog standard kid’s water based paint. Other paints may be better – let me know if so.

Then let it dry. I got a bit impatient!


And that’s it! I used a cocktail stick to scratch it. There probably are better ways, but I thought it worked pretty well really as a quick thing that’s fun. I would recommend not using black card to start and using really bright crayons so there’s the biggest contrast possible.

It does look clearer than on the photo!

Why not have a go!

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Super Bottle!

Struggling for inspiration today. I was tired after work, but I figure that’s not the kid’s fault and so pressed on to find an idea.

A mouthwash bottle came to the rescue! My daughter loved this as she basically did it herself with only a bit of guidance. It took maybe half an hour with a bit of time for the glue to try.

Here’s how we did it:

I’d been looking at this empty bottle of mouthwash every time I’ve been in the bathroom for the last few days.

Yes, you’re right, I should have just picked it up and put it in the bin/recycling but I was mulling over what the shape reminded me of. Eventually today when I was stuck for something to do as a quick activity, I clicked that it reminded me of male torso. Not my torso admittedly (would need two muffin tops on either side) but a body nonetheless.

First step is take the labels off, which might need a quick soak in water. Then, cover the bottle in kid’s glue and stick on ripped pieces of tissue paper. Ideally I would have like different colours but it wasn’t me in charge on this one, so completely yellow was what happened.

Once that’s done and whilst it’s drying. Make a cape.

Next take the lid off and fix the cape on just by looping it over the neck. Put the lid back on and should hold.

Next add a face. My daughter did ours but you could go to town on this with hair, googly eyes etc.

Finally, add any superhero apparel. We went for a belt and a big ‘S’ for super bottle!

Pretty good eh! Kept her entertained and think she enjoyed basically being able to do this herself.

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Jigsaws

Very quick blog today just to highlight that anything can be a jigsaw. Well nearly anything – I just chose a cake box as it was a good excuse to open the cake!

My son’s Beavers group sent through a list of things they could be doing during lockdown, and one of them was to cut up a cereal box in to pieces and see if you can put it back together again.

We did this, it was actually pretty tricky to put together. It turns out that a jigsaw is just a cut up picture. Who knew!

Packaging:

With that in mind, since then I’ve been on a mission to cut up anything that remotely resembles a picture to see what works and what doesn’t. Just about any box from food packaging works well and as you can see, the Victoria Sponge box was one of my victims. I tried to actually cut jigsaw shaped pieces in to that one, but mainly we’ve just chopped things into rectangles. The beauty is that you can make it as easy or hard as you want, just increase the number of pieces. We did a pizza box and had to give up, it was so hard!

Zombies

If you’re anything like our house, and you’ve got Disney+, you’ve probably been on a journey like this:

Day 1: Kids ask to watch Zombies. Me: ‘Zombies? I’m not sure I want you watching that, sounds gruesome’.

Day 2: Kids watching Zombies on the TV in the background. Me: ‘What is this anyway?’ Looks rubbish

Day 3: Kid watching Zombies. Me: ‘So what’s happening in this?’

Day 4: Kids watching Zombies. Me: ‘That song was pretty catchy’

Day 6: Me: Walking around singing to self ‘What could be so wrong, with a girl and a zombie?’ Someday….we could be, we could be, extra-ordinary!

Day 14: Me: Full re-enactment on my own of all the songs including dance routines.

Anyway, back to jigsaws. I printed off a promo picture of Zombies from imdb.com and glued it on to some card, before cutting it up. Kids loved this one.

A photo:

Finally, here’s one with a photo….(I’d probably suggest avoiding wedding photos etc. unless you’re absolutely sure that your other half won’t mind. And even if you are sure, I’d still say to ask!)

Good fun, quick, easy and free. Have a go!

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Shadow Puppets

Shadow puppets are one of those things where as soon as someone mentions it you think ‘oh yeah, we used do that, I’d forgotten about that!’. Here’s a refresher if you (understandably!) haven’t thought about them in a while…

This blog is just to give an idea or remind you of something you might have forgotten. The method is simple and pretty quick really. Google ‘shadow puppet templates’ and there’s loads for traditional fairy tales on the web. If you look at the picture below you can see some we did based on templates for Little Red Riding Hood.

Little Red Riding Hood – templates from Google images

We made these a year or so ago for a Halloween party at my sister’s, and although there a bit battered now, they’ve served their purpose well.

I then had the idea the other day of making some of our own for one of my daughter’s current favourite stories – Penguin by Polly Dunbar. We chose this as although my daughter can’t read yet, she knows it well enough to tell it.

Basically then, all I did was have a quick think about what we needed in order to tell the story e.g:

  • how many characters do we need?
  • what do they need to be doing?
  • what parts of the story can be told by just wiggling the same shape around, and which need their own shape?

That might sound a lot but that whole thought process took about 20 seconds, as basically in this story there are three characters – a boy, a toy penguin and a lion. The penguin’s pose is the same throughout. The boy does lots of different things that you could make a shadow puppet out of, but I settled for just one of him standing (going for the ‘wiggle him around’ approach to cover the other bits). The twist in the tale (spoiler alert!) is that the lion eats the boy, and so I thought we needed that as a particular outline (as that’s where the fun is in the story).

I drew these quickly freehand on to the card, but you can trace them easily enough too from the book.

Then just cut them out. It makes them have a more interesting shadow if you cut some eyes or features in the design too.

Finally, just stick them to a lollypop stick and you’re ready to go.

The ensemble.

Now the fun starts. Find a torch and take turns to tell the story!

Actually, given its father’s day today, why not take a photo of your dad’s shadow, cut it out and make a story out of it! Here’s one of me. I just need to make another one of a cup of tea and then use it as a prompt to keep getting tea made for me!

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Personalised wind chimes

Why not make a personalised gift for granddad this Father’s day? Here’s how to make some windchimes!

This idea started about a week ago when a friend sent over an idea for the blog based on a wind chime he’d made using some old cutlery (see below). I searched the house for some forks and spoons but couldn’t find any spare ones and thought I’d better not use the ones from the drawer!

The inspiration for the idea!

With father’s day approaching, it got me thinking of an idea for a present for my dad and my father in law from the kids. It’s taken an hour or so each night for a few nights to pull it together, but that’s mainly because of the drying time on the paint and varnish.

Here’s how we did it.

Ideas:

I had an idea of how I could make a windchime (we needed two), but the first task was to sit with the kids and work with them to think what pictures we could include on the present. The question I asked was ‘what do gan gan and granddad like?’ (They call my dad gan gan, and my wife’s dad is granddad). Here’s what they came up:

Granddad likes…

From the ideas they came up with, we chose the best 5 for each person and the kids drew pictures of them. Here’s some of them…

Once they’d done that, I set about cutting up a spare floorboard into small sections, and then we gave them a lick of paint. We also used the two chunks of wood left over from the garden game the other day, which will be the top part of the wind chimes once its finished.

We left it there for one day, as the paint needed to dry. Later, when the kids were in bed I set about tracing the images they’d drawn onto the wood. I guess I could have done this with them but was just impatient!

Tracing:

Maybe you’ve done some tracing recently, or maybe you’ve not thought about it since you were about 6 years old. If you haven’t, here’s a refresher. Usually you’d use tracing paper or something like greaseproof paper, trace over the image, scribbling on the back before putting it in the new place. To get it on to the wood though, you can skip a step and just scribble on the back of the original drawing before then going over it again directly onto the wood. Even my wife was impressed with this so I knew I was on to a winner.

When I’d done them all, here they were:

Varnish and drill holes:

The next day we gave them a coat of varnish. This didn’t finish as neatly as I wanted but we had a thunderstorm half way through and so I had to leg it in to the shed and they all stuck together. Nevermind.

The circles at the top are the leftovers from the garden game : https://www.thecraftydaddy.co.uk/made-for-the-kids/garden-game/

Putting it all together:

Okay, nearly there!

Once everything was dry we just needed to drill holes in each of the drawings, and 5 holes in each of the top pieces to hang them from.

Then take a piece of string for each piece, thread it through the hole in the picture, knot it, and do the same with the top piece.

Tip alert!

A sneaky tip to get the string through the hole without having to get frustrated. Just get some cotton and tie it on to the string, then put a needle on the string and pull through.

Knot it at the top and bottom. Here’s an attached piece:

Repeat for all the pieces, trying to get the string roughly the same length so they’ll bang together when its finished.

At this point I realised that I had no way of connecting the top to whatever they were going to tie it to when they put it in the garden. I suppose I could have drilled another hole but I was losing the will, so found a small picture hook and screwed it in.

And Voila! The finished two products. Really pleased with them. Neither my dad or father in law are on social media so if you do see this and you know them – don’t tell them before Father’s day!

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Online Drawing Tutorial

You may have had your kids follow a drawing tutorial online, but why not make them the tutors?

My son’s started reading the Dogman books, which he loves (see www.pilkey.com). One of the great things about them is that at the back they have a step by step tutorial on how to draw the characters. This is good fun in itself, and no doubt you’ve also seen the draw with Rob phenomenon. http://www.robbiddulph.com/draw-with-rob that’s caught fire in the lockdown.

An activity you could try as an extension of this is to have your own #drawwith tutorial, with your kids as tutors. In our case, it was my parents who were the ‘students’ and so we Facetimed them and with their pencil and paper in hand, my son took them through the steps with him, my daughter and my parents all drawing the same picture.

Talking through the steps

I was surprised how seriously he took this, he clearly got something out of being the one in charge and was actually really patient. It was quite a good task in terms of developing patience and concentration, encouraging others and having to explain things in a simple way that others can understand (and not get frustrated when people aren’t listening to you – maybe he could teach me that skill).

My daughter’s effort

We started with the Dogman characters but I could see this working with their own pictures too, as long as they can break it down into steps. Why not give it a go?

The ‘students’ efforts – not bad eh?

Only minor issue is that my son was desperate to know whose picture was best on the basis that he knew very well that his was best. Thereafter followed a deep conversation about different expectations of drawing because he is 7 and his sister is 4, and that we don’t want to make anyone feel bad as its the effort that counts. He took this in and then after a few seconds asked again whose was best. Maybe I’ll save the moral discussions for another day.

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Ideas for arts/craft to make with kids

Pizza Delivery! Imaginative play

Sunday morning part 2. When I’d well and truly lost at the game of ‘Feed Me Garden Game’ (see https://www.thecraftydaddy.co.uk/made-for-the-kids/garden-game/), we moved on to a bit of imaginative play, which actually really got my daughter howling with laughter, and shows how you can stretch something pretty simple into an hour or so of fun .

I don’t know if you’ve had a pizza delivery in lockdown but when our local Domino’s leaves our pizza now, they place it on the floor, balanced on a little empty pizza box (presumably so it doesn’t make your floor greasy until you pick it up).

That unused little pizza box provided the idea for a pizza delivery service game.

First, we made the pizza. This was a paper plate, painted red for tomato and then with toppings glued on. The toppings consisted of lots of circles (pepperoni), bits of felt (onion), yellow card (cheese) and bits of plant that she pulled off the garden (herbs).

Anyone for pizza?

When it was dry, she also spent some time painting the box. This had nothing to do with the actual pizza service, but stretched the task out by another half hour and allowed me to have a cup of tea in peace!

Then the fun began. We took it in terms to pretend to phone the other one. It went something like this.

“Ring Ring. Ring Ring.”

Pizza shop (my daughter): Hello, can I help you?

Customer (me): I’d like a pizza please.

Pizza shop: Okay, what do you want on it?

Customer: Ooh, just some ham and mushroom please.

Pizza shop: How many mushrooms?

Customer: Maybe, 5?

Pizza shop: We don’t have any mushrooms. Only vanilla flavour pizzas today.

Customer: Oh, okay well I’ve never had that but I’ll try it. How long will it take?

Pizza shop: Er….10 hours.

Customer: 10 hours!! Okay that’s a long time, but as long as its nice. How much is that?

Pizza shop: Er… Million pounds.

Customer: A million pounds for a pizza that takes ten hours! Well it better be tasty! See you in a bit.

Put the phone down.

Each time the scene got more elaborate, but basically once the order was placed, she would go over to her mud kitchen, pretend to cook it and then get on her bicycle and cycle the two metres to where I was sitting with the box in her hand. She’d then deliver it, I’d make some sort of complaint about the cost and how long its taken, and she’d shriek with laughter. The repetition made it funnier, although after about my fifth turn of being either the customer or the pizza shop, I did ring my mum and dad to get them to order one so I could have a break!

Pizza cooks in the sink apparently. Lots of other dishes on the go in the saucepans.
Delivery on its way.

Anyway, great fun whilst it lasted and free. You don’t have to have a Domino’s box (but its a good excuse to have one). I have to say I shamelessly sent a picture of the pizza to Domino’s on their social media hoping to get a free pizza. No such luck. Shame. Maybe next time.