Have your kids ever made paper mache projects? Embrace the mess, it's fun! They'll develop motor and artistic skills while making adorable decorative pieces.
Struggling to come up with entertaining activities for your kiddos that don't involve screens? Consider arts and crafts. No, we don't mean just giving them coloring paper and crayons, although that can be fun. Instead, give them an artistic challenge they won't want to pass up: paper mache! This unique craft lets them practice their motor skills and expand their creative horizons. Here are some paper mache ideas and a supply list to get you inspired.
First, gather your paper mache supplies. Fortunately, this is one of those activities kids can do for free (or for very little money). You'll probably have all (or most of) the basics already at home:
Then the fun part starts, bringing your kids' creations to life. The process of making paper mache crafts is surprisingly simple:
Christmas ornaments are the perfect paper mache project to make ahead of the holidays. Inflate a few balloons into small spherical shapes and cover them with a handful of layers of paper. Once they're dry, pop the balloon and decorate them with paint, fabric, or glitter. You can glue on ornament caps and use a string to hang the ornaments on a tree.
Science-loving kids will love making paper mache planets. The process is similar to making ornaments, only they can inflate the balloons with more air to make bigger planets. Once they're dry, paint them and glue ornaments caps (threaded with string) on them. You can now hang them from the ceiling to add instant pizzazz to your child's bedroom. Bonus points if you buy glow-in-the-dark paint!
This project will require a few more supplies, but it's still easy for a kid to pull off. First, inflate a balloon and cover just half of it with several layers of paper mache. Once it dries and you've popped the balloon, paint the outside blue and the underside pink. Then, glue fuzzy colorful pipe cleaners and strips of fabric to the pink side. Add string to the top, hang it from the ceiling, and you now have a fun jellyfish! The best part is that the jellyfish's tentacles will sway in the wind or with a breeze, so be sure to hang it near a window.
Yet another paper-mache-with-balloons project, this one is easy and a blast to make. Cover half of an inflated balloon with several layers of paper mache, let dry and pop the balloon. Give your child full creative range when it comes to decorating their bowls. For example, they could paint the inside to look like fruit or wrap them in colorful fabric. While these bowls are not food-safe, they make adorable decorative pieces.
Looking to teach your child how to save? Getting them a piggy bank is a good first step. Even better: let them make their own. Inflate a balloon, glue a bottle cap to look like a pig nose, and four egg carton "cups" to make the legs. Then have your child cover the structure with paper mache, leaving an empty slot at the top (so they can slide money into their piggy bank) and decorate it once it dries.
Maracas are fun to make and young kids, especially, love the sounds they make. They even make perfect stocking stuffers! Inflate a balloon, so it fits in your child's hand and cover it in several layers of paper strips, leaving a small hole. When it dries, pop the balloon and fill the hollow maraca with dried beans or corn kernels. Cover the hole with cardboard and glue, and decorate.
If you have a party coming up, this craft project is just what you need. Inflate a balloon with as much air as you can, cover it with paper mache, leaving a small gap, and let it dry. Then, fill the piñata with delicious candy and paper confetti. Cover the hole with cardboard and glue and start decorating! Paper mache projects are somewhat fragile, so this piñata won't be hard for little kids to bust open.
Making paper mache flowers takes more work than other projects, so it's ideal for older children. Using inflated balloons of different sizes, display paper strips to make large petals. When they're dry, let your child paint them, remove them from the balloon, and glue the petals onto a styrofoam ball attached to a chopstick. The result is a charmingly unique flower that makes for a beautiful DIY gift.
Let your child impersonate their favorite character by making paper mache masks. Inflate a balloon, cover the longer half of it with paper mache, let dry, and pop the balloon. Trace where your child's eyes will be and cut holes so they can see. Finally, let them decorate their masks like spider-man, a cat, or whatever they feel like doing!
Keeping children entertained away from screens doesn't have to be expensive. You just need to get creative and prepare activities they'll be fully immersed in. Look for a Save Coupon Book near you to find the latest deals on craft supplies and everyday kid-friendly essentials. You can save a ton and still give your child unforgettable experiences.