A new monthly feature: Easy, Frugal Crafts for Kids

by Kristen on January 25, 2012 · 35 comments

in Crafts

Want to know something?

I’m not particularly fabulous at making time to do crafts with my kids.

This would be fine if they were the sort of kids who don’t like doing crafts. Unfortunately, that’s not the case…Sonia especially is always wanting me to do crafts with her.

Now, I’m not great at doing crafts period, but I’m especially not good with doing them at a moment’s notice. My personality is such that I really, really prefer to know about things ahead of time. I do try to be flexible and spontaneous, but the reality is that I function at my optimal level when things are planned in advance.

When I thought about some things I wanted to do in the new year, crafts with Sonia and Zoe came to mind. And since I know myself well, I thought that I might be more consistent with doing crafts if I planned them out. So, I picked out 12 craft projects to do with them, and I’ll be sharing them with you each month.

I don’t want to spend tons of time making useless things that will be clutter or trash in a short while, so I’m being picky about the craft projects on my list.

That means that the crafts we’ll be doing will be:

  • inexpensive
  • simple
  • environmentally-friendly
  • not cluttery (they’ll be useful, edible, or simple to dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner)

So, even if you’re a not-great-at-kids-crafts mom like me, these ideas might work for you!

For our first craft, we decided to make paper snowflakes. Now, if you’re like me, you used to make these when you were a kid, and they turned out kind of like this.

I could never for the life of me figure out how to make round snowflakes. But, the kids and I found instructions online that made all the difference in the world…just a few folds help you end up with this:

Yes.

That’s much better.

Basically, you just need a square of paper (the larger the better if you’re going for ease during the cutting stage) a pair of scissors, and the following steps.

(you can click on the image to see it in a larger size)

So, when you’re done, you’ll have a triangle that looks like this.

Then you just snip away to your heart’s content (there are lots of pattern ideas here.)

And voila! A round snowflake.

We taped cotton thread to our snowflakes and hung them from bedroom ceiling fan blades (we don’t turn these on in January usually!) in Joshua’s room:

and Zoe’s room:

But we put the most above Sonia’s bed. The underside of the top bunk is made up of slats, and they’re perfect for suspending snowflakes.

Aren’t they lovely?

When we’re done with these flakes, we’ll just put them into our compost bin…no trash, and no clutter.

Since this craft involves scissors and small cuts, you might not want to do this if you’ve got a bunch of young kids on your hands. Sonia (7) can do the folding and the cutting, but Zoe (5) could only manage the cuts.

If you’ve got really small children, you could make the snowflakes and then involve the littles by helping them decorate the snowflakes with sparkly silver crayons/markers/glitter/paint. Or if you don’t mind having non-traditional snowflakes, you could have them color the squares of paper before you fold and cut them.

Ok. Go make some of these! It’s fun, fast, and easy.

__________________________

Today’s 365 post: Sonia. Just because.

Joshua’s 365 post: Oh yes.

Leave a Comment

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alison January 25, 2012 at 7:25 am

The snowflakes are beautiful, but all those little scraps of white paper are giving me hives :) My boys love to cut paper into tiny scraps and it drives me batty… I’m not a crafty mama either – I don’t like the mess and chaos of it all, thanks for the inspiration to do better.

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2 Julie January 25, 2012 at 7:39 am

What a terrific idea…guess what we’ll be doing today? Going to be raining most of the day, so we’ll need something like this…

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3 Kate January 25, 2012 at 8:02 am

Alison, we have done these and you are right – little bitty scraps everywhere! If you make sure to do this in a room that has wood/vinyl flooring, it’s easy to sweep up, though.

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4 Ellen January 25, 2012 at 8:29 am

lovely! my kids also like to do crafts.
what about salt ornaments, at christmas to give as gifts? I have done them with my kids, just a few items are needed. and you can paint them gliter them, ect. I always date them. Its a nice rememberance when you look back at them each year.
Wonder if I can find my recipe for quick engery pick ups, they are consumed so no waste… I will let you know if I can find it.

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5 Sloan January 25, 2012 at 8:31 am

I had every intention of making snowflakes for Christmas decorations, but I totally ran out of time. And living in Georgia, it’s not super cold here anymore. But next year, I will definitely coming back to reference this post! Your snowflakes are lovely and I especially love them under Sonia’s bed! Very cozy.

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6 Libby January 25, 2012 at 9:13 am

These are gorgeous snowflakes! Thanks Sonia for inspiring your mom to do crafts as show & tell for us!

When my son was young, I bought a large outdoor tablecloth – the kind that is vinyl on one side and flannel on the other. We used this as our project cloth. It didn’t matter if we were painting, glueing, cutting, using glitter, etc, we did it on the tablecloth on the floor. Clean up was super easy: either take the cloth outside and shake or put it into the washing machine. It lasted for years and we did a lot of crafts.

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7 Dana January 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

I often use round coffee filters for this activity with small kids…easy to cut. LOVE SNOWFLAKES…especially since I’m a Kansan living in California!

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8 Amara January 25, 2012 at 9:48 am

Other simple, fun crafts that my kids enjoy are:
- potholders (using loops and loom)
- sun-catchers using small tissue squares between circles of contact paper
- crayon shavings “ironed” between sheets of waxed paper to resemble stained glass
- perler beads! :)
- painting on the little 3-packs of “canvas” available at Wal-Mart

One of the best this year has been this one: using “spiky” balls from the dollar section at Target (and then reusing as toys!) to dip in paint and make neat, textured paintings. Loved those!

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9 Katy @ Purposely Frugal January 25, 2012 at 9:54 am

I like the spiky ball idea…might have to try that.

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10 Katy @ Purposely Frugal January 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

I’m so excited about this monthly craft ideas!! I have a 3 year old and babysit a 4 year old and 1 year old. They absolutely LOVE it when I do crafts with them, but I don’t do them very often, because I’m just not crafty, and like you said I hate crafts that just sit around cluttering everything up. And on top of that I don’t like spending a lot of money on craft supplies. Can’t wait to see what other crafts you make!!

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11 Aubrey January 25, 2012 at 10:19 am

Love this idea! I’m SO inept at making round snowflakes that I keep a 500 pack of white coffee filters in with our Christmas decorations. We use those to get round snowflakes every time–cheater’s edition! And since I keep them with the decorations, we haven’t finished the pack yet. We use maybe 30 of them each season.

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12 Renee January 25, 2012 at 11:11 am

We did something similar at Christmas time with tissue paper. I stacked the tissue paper into a small pile and used a bowl to trace a circle. Then I cut them out. We folded them in half a couple times and started cutting. The tissue paper was nice because it’s easier for small hands to cut. We taped them up on the front window. I just bought some pink tissue paper so we can make heart snowflakes….at least that’s the plan, I’m making it up as I go along.

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13 Pam @ Ramblings of a Happy Homemaker January 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

We usually make these every winter using el cheapo coffee filters from Aldi. I’ve had the same pack of filters for about 5 years now and use them for all sorts of things. Plus, they’re already round. :0)

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14 maria in chicago January 25, 2012 at 11:18 am

Yes, lovely!

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15 Jen January 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

There are really cool and very complicated patterns on the internet for Star Wars character snowflakes. Too hard for little kids, but older kids ( or adults) might enjoy making them for a friend who likes Star Wars. Thought it would be a fun surprise for my husband to cut some out and stick them up on his wondow at work!

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16 Jen January 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

window, of course

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17 Pauline January 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

When I was a kid, I spent numerous hours making snowflakes – so thanks much for the happy memories this morning, Kristen! They are so pretty – your kids did a good job on them!

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18 The Mrs January 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I love this new series – and am looking forward to being home and making the time to do some crafts with Miss (maybe not Jr quite yet).

I almost wrote “having the time”, but I doubt that will be the case. Going to have to be intentional about this one, but I know it will make her very happy.

Thanks Kristen – looking forward to future ideas!

–Sandi

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19 Natalie B January 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Looking forward to this series since I have the same inclinations to a) not be crafty b) view crafts as clutter and c) not want to waste or create more trash. I also feel guilty when I do dispose of (in the recycling bin of course) Tyler’s masterpieces.

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20 Sharon January 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

A couple of weeks ago, before we finally got snow, I put some snowflakes up on my window after another chickadee flew into it. I thought he was dead, but after a while he stood up rather dazed and then eventually flew away. At least three birds have died flying into my window and countless others have hit it, including a beautiful male goldfinch. [So sad]

So perhaps you could show us how to cut simple flowers in the spring as I don’t think I want snowflakes all year! :-)

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21 Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify January 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Great series idea! This is the kind of craft I can handle. Looking forward to seeing more!

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22 Jennifer January 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

What a great idea! My mom NEVER did crafts with us- she’s not a terribly crafty person herself. I bet if she had thought to schedule it in, though, she would have found time for crafts.

I also love that you’re trying to make your crafts meaningful and environmentally friendly.

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23 The Keswick Blogger January 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I love this idea and your 12 craft goal! I may have to steal this idea. I’m the worst about making time to do crafts, and seeing as I’m not terribly crafty to begin with, your snowflakes will be a great place to start! Reading your blog is a much cherished part of my morning routine (I know, I’m posting this in the afternoon, but I really did read the post in the morning) ;) Thanks, Kristen

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24 Megg January 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm

That’s kinda funny, because I wouldn’t know how to make square snowflakes!
At work we made 3D snowflakes from construction paper. They’re really awesome and easy to make (my K-1s were making them!) I’d show you a link but my internet is being finicky :(

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25 Megg January 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Here are the 3D snowflakes :) I think they look so cool!
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-3D-Paper-Snowflake

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26 Juliette January 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Thank you thank you thank you! You said exactly my position. I have a nine year old who is always asking to do crafts and wants to do them right then. I am not a crafty person and usually would like more than a moments notice also. So I had planned to use one of our Fridays (we don’t do school on Fridays) to do a craft a month. Great minds huh? :) Anyway I am totally looking forward to reading your craft projects.

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27 Lori January 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I wanted to let you know about a great website for you to utilize for learning activities that have corresponding craft ideas. Its called, makinglearningfun.com. They have many themes and great ideas. Hope you like this website.

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28 SarahD January 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

THANK YOU!!!! I am craft challenged as well and look forward to your non-useless-clutter-forming craft ideas. :-)

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29 Margaret January 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm

So excited about this new monthly feature. I keep looking on the internet for craft ideas, but I have all the same criteria you do: cheap, not clutter-y, not too complicated, and plus, my daughter is only two. There are only so many crafts we can do.

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30 Kathleen G January 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

What beautiful snowflakes! I had to smile over the rectangle example — when I made those they were Paper Doilies and decorated all of the end tables in the house. When they became drab or dirty out the old and in with a new pretty design. My mother was always appreciative of my artwork.

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31 Colleen January 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Great minds think alike! I just did a picture tutorial on how to make paper snowflakes too! :)
http://sewtheday.blogspot.com/2012/01/snowflakes-for-snow-days.html

I think it is a wonderful idea to set up a craft a month to do with the kids. I love doing crafts and as my son gets a little older it becomes easier and more fun to do them together.

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32 Heather Mason January 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm

We have lots of craft stuff, and I have really crafty children. I don’t especially enjoy crafty messes, though. One thing that works for me when I want my children to have a fun crafting experience is to invite another family or three to come do it with us. Somehow the work and mess then seem more worthwhile. Today we had two families over to make Valentines with us.

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33 Shaylin Morgan January 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm

We made snowflakes out of coffee filters! They are already round, so you just keep folding them in half until you have the same shape needed for cutting. My son cut about 50 the other day and had an absolute blast! Excited to see what other projects you share!

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34 S January 27, 2012 at 12:01 am

Cute snowflakes! I just wanted to suggest something, your girls look like they’ll be old enough to learn how to knit or crochet. They could learn to make something useful! Also, plain white paper can be recycled. I think it counts as a “brown”.

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35 S January 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

I meant composted. Not recycled. Duh.

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