Craft, Creative Ideas and Projects For Kids

Ideas, tutorials and DIY projects to inspire children. Banish boredom and get your kids creating and making.
Weekend and holiday projects for kids and the young at heart.
Kids love handcraft, making and creating and if given the chance will choose real activities over TV and computer games!
For even more creative ideas and activities head over to Action Pack

Are you on Spring break? Autumn school holidays? Yet? We have just started 2 weeks of school break and don’t have any particular plans. Going to just take it one day at a time. 

I printed out a copy of our Action Pack Magazines so that we have them on hand – the kids love to access these and just get creative whenever the mood strikes. It can be annoying for them and me if they have to wait for me to organise their activities for them. Letting them be creatively independent is so freeing for us all!

Here are ten things we will be doing these holidays:

  1. Bake a cake + probably some cookies too :: Download the recipe to make the Lavender and Lime Poppyseed Cake recipe. {From issue 2 of Action Pack magazine for kids}
  2. Go for a long family bike ride and picnic.
  3. Visit the Art Gallery or maybe the museum.
  4. Do a science experiment together :: Download the instructions to make a teabag rocket. {From issue 3 of the Action Pack. – or grab a copy of the Science edition of Action Pack}
  5. Get the craft box out and make something with recycled materials.
  6. Go to the park and play a game of soccer.
  7. Use the sidewalk chalk to draw on the pavement and play some sidewalk games. {Great chalk ideas in the Chalk + Cheese edition of Action Pack}
  8. Go for a walk in the mountains and make some ephemeral art {some great ideas in the Sticks + Stones edition of Action Pack}
  9. Make some origami boats and sail them in a stream ::  Download instructions to make a wax coated origami boat. {From issue 1 of the Action Pack}.
  10. Getting into the garden and doing some planting and pruning. {Some great ideas in the Seeds + Beads edition of Action Pack}

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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Vicki Smith has created unique pastel illustrations for a wide variety of clients in the publishing and corporate arena including posters, menus, book covers, annual reports and magazine art. Her storybook images are used to create the handmade books, toys and prints that she sells online. She finds that her teaching of children informs her own art and her art informs her philosophy of teaching. Today Vicki is discussing how (and why) she teaches art to kids. She blogs at Art with Kids.

As a child I illustrated my first ‘book’ in the fourth grade about a troupe of dancing mice, so it is no wonder that I went off to art school and a career as an illustrator. Now that I have the privilege of teaching art part-time at a Montessori school I make it my mission to bring the children tactile projects that are stimulating and broaden their perspective of what constitutes art.

Making art incorporates principles of math and science, gives children permission to get messy, and teaches the invaluable lesson that you should make your own choices as opposed to merely copying what “Susie” is painting at the easel next to you.  The tactile experience is important for children to feel connected to what they are creating, and to learn how materials behave when handled. Here are some ideas:

Paper making using old newspapers is great fun and an activity that recently kept ten preschoolers occupied for an entire hour! Playing in water is certainly very tactile and this activity does not require much equipment. The children love being involved in all the steps of the process while squealing over how “gross” the pulp looks and feels.

  • I fill a plastic basin about half way with warm water (I use the container we put the newspaper in for recycling). This project also requires a small picture frame with window screen stapled to it, sheets of felt cut to the size of the opening in the frame, and an old blender. It’s important to use an old blender as it will never be completely clean again.
  • Fill the blender about half way with the water from your basin, add torn sheets of newspaper, and start pressing the buttons on the blender. Then dump the mixture into the basin.
  • Repeat this process until you are able to lower the frame into the basin and a layer of grey pulp covers the screen.
  • After this, let the kids lay a sheet of felt on top of the pulp and press the excess water out with their palms. When it’s dry the felt can be peeled away and let dry in the sun, leaving beautiful paper to be written or drawn upon.

Crafting assemblages inspired by the work of sculptor Louise Nevelson is a way of appreciating art that is nontraditional.

  • I gather household items such as large buttons, wing nuts, old keys, empty spools of thread, clothes pins… etc and start the lesson by playing a game that involves only the sense of touch.
  • I place one of each of the items in a paper bag.  The children take turns reaching into the bag with their eyes closed and try to identify the item by feel.
  • After the game they gather the items that they find interesting and glue them down onto a piece of corrugated cardboard. We talk about the different ways that they might consider arranging their objects.
  • I spray paint the assemblages and they resemble the monochromatic work of Nevelson. Without color the art is now all about the shapes.

Using scratch foam or Styrofoam sheets to create a printing plate is another project that has a strong tactile component.

  • The children press drawings into the Styrofoam sheet and apply printing ink to the foam with a brayer. The ink does not go into the depressed lines so that the drawing prints as the color of the paper.
  • The children love rolling the ink onto the foam plate with the brayer and being able to print multiple images.
  • Another positive aspect of this process is that changes can be made to the plate before making additional prints, and one can easily print on both fabric or paper.  The possibilities are endless.

These endless possibilities reminds me of the importance of allowing the children to stretch the limits of a project in different directions. When we make paper I encourage the children to suggest materials other than newspaper and as a result we have used colored tissue paper, thread, and dried leaves. When making their assemblages they may decide to stack items or glue them down on both sides of the cardboard creating more sculptural work. And instead of relying on pencils to press lines into the foam I encourage them to think of other tools that could be implemented. It’s about a tactile and fluid learning process as much as it is about having a finished product.

{ 5 comments }

For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

For the past 17 years Susan Schwake has run an independent art school where she works with people of all ages and abilities. For the past eight years the art school has been part of artstream gallery and design studio. She has recently written a book Art Lab for Kids (published by Quarry Books February 2012). She blogs at artesprit.

I was thrilled when Kath invited me to write a post about my new book: Art Lab for Kids  here on WhipUp.  Art Lab for Kids is a smattering of lessons which I chose from the past 18 years of teaching fine art to children and adults. It is my hope that Art Lab for Kids could be used by  parents, home schoolers, teachers, community groups, librarians, and any combination of people wanting to learn technique, be inspired and to express themselves in fine art.

At first it was difficult to narrow it down to just 52, but with the idea that someone might use the book as a year-long experience for teaching art to a child (or themselves) it became clear.  I wrote the lessons to be stand-alone projects – but arranged them in an order that they also would build upon skills as you go through the book. Each lesson includes inspiration from an established artist – some famous, some not so – to broaden the reader’s idea of, and to help then gain confidence in, their personal style and subject matter in 2D art.

One of my personal goals in teaching art is to build confidence and fearlessness in making it. Part of becoming fearless in making art is being prepared. The introduction and first chapter give the reader some ideas about making art with others, setting the stage for creativity and a comprehensive outline of setting up a studio. Having taught both children and adults in my own studio, in large community settings, public schools and in workshops one of the most important keys to success is being prepared – it puts everyone at ease. Each lesson is laid out with a “think first” section, then step by step photos and a separate materials list to help insure success. Organization counts!

The photo shoots were the most fun part of making the book. My husband, (a media designer extraordinaire, goofball and lover of all things child-like) was the photographer for the book. This choice was natural because not only is he a wonderful photographer, but he has a great knack of putting everyone at ease. We worked together setting the shots and styling for each lesson – including wrangling more than a few odd cords, oil pastels and interesting still life subjects – and reminding the kids that it was okay to smile, (making art is a serious business!), while working. There were more than a few giggle- fests which help to ease the slow process of shooting the steps.

The kids had a lot of fun making artwork for the shoots as well as the excitement of being in the book and the gallery exhibit of all their artwork with the artist’s work side by side this month at artstream I have been having fun offering workshops for children during book signings and at Plymouth State University for emerging art educators. You can follow along at my site or at facebook It’s my hope that people will use my book to discover their own passion for art.

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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Action Pack: Easter 2012 Edition – is Available now

20 pages of craft, science and cooking.

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can be printed or viewed on your computer and on a Tablet or iPad].


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Welcome to the Easter Special Edition of Action Pack Magazine for kids.

In this issue there are seven Easter recipes,experiments and crafts. You’ll learn about different Easter traditions, you’ll bake, taste and experiment in the kitchen and you’ll get a little crafty too. Be prepared for mess, for fun and for lots of egg-speriments.

Kids in the kitchen

  • I firmly believe that kids can begin cooking as soon as they are interested. This process of giving them freedom in the kitchen will set them up for a lifetime of healthy homemade cooking and eating.
  • Before they are tall enough to use the stove top or reach the bench let them use a sturdy stool so they can help with cutting and stirring. Teach them to safely use and respect sharp knives and heat. Once they gain more confidence by helping you, they are ready to tackle some recipes on their own.
  • Let them cook a dish on their own, weighing and measuring ingredients for themselves. The recipes inside the Action Pack magazines are the perfect place to start. At first you could stay in the kitchen reading out the recipe to them or assisting them with organising, measuring and finding ingredients. But once you are confident of their capabilities, why not allow them the space and trust to try it out for themselves.

In this issue you will find

  • About: What does Easter mean? + Information for Parents about how to use Action Pack
  • Sweet things: Chocolate Easter Cookies + European Easter Cake
  • Snacks: Breakfast egg + toast + Hot Cross Easter Buns
  • Craft: Munch’em Egg Cosies + How to make a piping bag for icing
  • Science you can eat: Tea Eggs + Natural Dyed Eggs
How to make a piping bag

Action Pack: Easter 2012 Edition – is Available now only $4 for 20 pages of craft, science and cooking.

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can be printed or viewed on your computer and on a Tablet or iPad].


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Instructions: After you have purchased the Action Pack you will receive an email with the link to where you can download the pdf. Save it onto your computer and then print out. It is a full colour 20+ page document – print the pages all at once or you need as you need them. For optimum quality choose ‘best quality’ when printing, especially for the pages with illustrations. However feel free to print it out in black and white too. Your PDF can also be saved and viewed onto your Tablet or iPad.

Important: The pdf magazine will be automatically delivered via e-mail as soon as your payment is received. The email address that it is sent to is the email connected to your paypal account. The e-mail you receive will include a link to download the file directly to your computer. Please note that the link will only allow you to access the file for a limited period, so please make sure to download and save the file on your own computer as soon as you receive it. Lost files may be replaced for a period of 30 days following purchase.

Contact for more information: Action-pack@whipup.net

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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Welcome to the Mad Scientist issue [Issue #9] of Action Pack Magazine for kids.

In this issue there are more than 14 fun, curious, tasty and artistic scientific experiments: 

  • You will learn about microwave expansion
  • and the science of bubbles and yeast,
  • you’ll experiment with crystals
  • and make some cool potions too.

 

Action Pack Issue 9: Mad Scientist Issue – is Available now

20+ pages with 15 tutorials, recipes, crafts and more…

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can also be viewed on a Tablet or iPad].

Preparing a Science Station:

  • Having a science experiments box prepared ready for all your experiments will mean you won’t be searching for the materials and tools you need and you won’t have to skip any of the projects because you can’t find that essential ingredient. You’ll be organised.
  • Set aside a time to prepare for the activities you plan on doing, find a container, box or basket to keep everything in. Use the list on the right to gather together most of the ingredients you will need for science fun at your fingertips. Don’t forget to check the list with each experiment to make sure you have everything you need.
List of ingredients and materials for Issue 9 of Action Pack:
  • The basics
  1. Empty cardboard rolls
  2. Plastic party cups & bowls
  3. Foil trays
  4. Sponges
  5. Drinking straws
  6. Chenille pipe cleaners
  7. Zip lock bags
  8. Egg cartons
  9. Balloons
  10. Rubber bands
  11. Sticky tape
  12. Brown paper bags
  • The tools
  1. Scissors
  2. Eye dropper
  3. Pencils
  4. Pegs
  5. Glass jars
  6. BBQ skewers
  7. Plastic bottles
  8. Funnel
  • The ingredients
  1. Salt
  2. Sugar
  3. Epsom salts
  4. Borax
  5. Bi-carb soda (baking soda)
  6. Ammonia
  7. Laundry bluing
  8. Food colour
  9. School glue / PVA glue
  10. Soap
  11. Shaving cream
  12. Dishwashing detergent
  13. Yeast

Action Pack Issue 9: Mad Scientist Issue – is Available now only $5 for 20+ pages with 15 tutorials, recipes, crafts and more…

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can also be viewed on a Tablet or iPad].

For Parents:

The Action Pack magazines are aimed at 7–12 year old kids, and are meant for independent creativity. However be sure to gauge the suitability of each project for your child’s age and development. Some of the projects may be suitable for younger [5–6 year old] children with supervision. And depending upon the child’s age and abilities you may need to stay in the same room with them for some of the experiments.

But you don’t need to hover while your child is experimenting; feel free to let them experiment, observing and only helping when needed. On the flip side, don’t fret if you feel you don’t have enough science background to help or teach your children with the activities presented here, you should be more of a facilitator and a co-learner rather than a teacher – and that’s more fun anyway.

Setting up a science station is a great way to make these projects easily accessible for your children to discover and experiment as needed. Instead of turning on the electronic games or tv when they are bored and you are busy, why not let them head over to the pre-prepared science station for some free-range independent discovery.

What is a science station?  It’s a space you stock with materials of a scientific nature for experimentation. Your science station could be a table or sideboard that you have permanently set up, or it could be a box that can be dragged out and set up on the kitchen table [or outside when required].

Action Pack Issue 9: Mad Scientist Issue – is Available now only $5 for 20+ pages with 15 tutorials, recipes, crafts and more…

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can also be viewed on a Tablet or iPad].

Instructions: After you have purchased the Action Pack you will receive an email with the link to where you can download the pdf. Save it onto your computer and then print out. It is a full colour 20+ page document – print the pages all at once or you need as you need them. For optimum quality choose ‘best quality’ when printing, especially for the pages with illustrations. However feel free to print it out in black and white too. Your PDF can also be saved and viewed onto your Tablet or iPad.

Important: The pdf magazine will be automatically delivered via e-mail as soon as your payment is received. The email address that it is sent to is the email connected to your paypal account. The e-mail you receive will include a link to download the file directly to your computer. Please note that the link will only allow you to access the file for a limited period, so please make sure to download and save the file on your own computer as soon as you receive it. Lost files may be replaced for a period of 30 days following purchase.

Contact for more information: Action-pack@whipup.net

{ 2 comments }

For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website