You don’t need to wait for the next rainy day to get stuck into the craft cupboard with the kids – after all, engaging your child’s creativity through art is easy, fun and inexpensive. And once parents get over their phobia of the mess involved - it’s not so bad, especially when you stick to paper crafts - they’ll soon realise how enjoyable a crafternoon bonding session can really be (as anyone who’s tried the adult colouring book craze can attest).
Craft activities do more than encourage your child’s inner Picasso to emerge. All that cutting, sticking, drawing, folding, collaging, painting, snipping (and glittering) helps hone their fine motor skills (cutting and scribbling are precursors to writing) and coordination, boosts confidence and self-esteem and gives kids an outlet to express themselves and their emotions.
And let’s not forget how good getting a little messy is for the soul.
Plus, anyone can do it – no fine art degree required.
The best way to start expanding your craft cupboard? With paper. There are myriad options for those interested in paper crafting, from free printables you can print from your home printer to guide your work (and ensure your dinosaur actually looks like a dinosaur, not a dog) to coloured paper you can fold and bend into animals, Christmas tree baubles and everything in between.
Here are five easy paper craft projects you’ll love making with the kids. Scissors at the ready…
In the age of Instagram, you’d better believe that gluing a pom-pom or two onto a piece of paper and calling it a lion isn’t quite going to cut it. Marbling paper is just as easy – but the result is mind-blowingly gorgeous. Also, there are lots of different techniques for how to do it - you can use milk, shaving foam, nail varnish and plenty more to create colourful paper (that doubles as beautiful thank-you and birthday cards).
This straightforward tutorial from Artful Parent
shows you how to marble paper with kitchen cupboard ingredients: vegetable oil, food colouring and water. All you need is some watercolour paper or card stock and your masterpiece is minutes away.
Paper bobble head black cat
Crafts activities and festive occasions go together like peas and carrots – and will be met with (way more) enthusiasm by the kids, whether you’re making baubles and wreaths for Christmas or getting into the spirit of Halloween or Easter with some unique decorations.
Worried your artistic skills simply aren’t up to par? No problem – cheat. The internet is full of thousands of free printable stencils for any and every occasion to ensure your bat or ghost or pumpkin is picture-perfect (without you doing any of the hard work). Just make sure your printer is stocked with ink and paper and you’re ready to go. This black cat from Fireflies & Mud Pies
is easy to make, fun for toddlers and primary school kids and looks great on a bookshelf or mantelpiece. Also works for spooking the other kids on Halloween, of course!
It's never too early to start getting into the summer spirit (especially as winter gets ever closer), and what we love most about this starfish craft idea from Buggy and Buddy
is the ability to go totally wild creatively. Just draw a starfish (or print the site's free starfish template to get yours looking Insta-perfect) and then use paint, oil pastels, watercolours, glitter, jewels, sequins, felt tips, coloured pencils, pasta and anything else your heart desires to create one-of-a-kind designs that are sure to brighten up any rainy day…
Sure, nothing beats QT with the kids and the enjoyment you get from crafting something together, but making an item you can actually use instead of just displaying? Even better. Masks are a fun option you can decorate any way you like: check out these dragon masks from Create in the Chaos
to inspire endless knight and princess roleplay…
Babble Dabble Do
Calling all budding architects! You don’t need blocks to do your building – paper and pencils work just as well when trying to create your vision of a dream house or paper neighbourhood. Babble Dabble Do
(a veritable gold mine for paper craft ideas) has a fab tutorial and a template with three different style houses that you can print out and colour in to start building your own paper village. Bonus: the modern house is inspired by Le Corbusier – so the kids will be getting their craft on and a history/design lesson at the kitchen table simultaneously. PIC: