Paper craft birds

These lovely little birds were made out of spare scrap book paper – we usually make these as a Christmas craft but as we have a lot of time to spare then we thought we’d try these one rainy day.

You will need:

Cardboard

Scrap booking paper (double sided pattern)

Craft paper

Scissors

Bird template

Pencil

First things first begin by creating your bird stencil using cardboard – this is just the body shape – and then draw around this on your scrap book paper and cut out. I prefer using scrap book paper for the body because it’s usually got a beautiful print on both sides.

Once you have cut out your birds you need to then take small rectangular sheets of paper and convertible fold them like so…. these will be your wings. At this stage you can round off the ends to make prettier shapes if you choose.

Then use a craft knife or scissors to cut a slit big enough to poke your folded paper through the wings. It’s as simple at that… use your fingers to tease out the folds in to a fan. Once you have repeated this with all of your birds it’s time to hang them up … I chose to use a needle and cotton thread, I find that they spin nicely once hung up and love how this looks. You could use a hole punch and ribbon or anything you have lying around.

DIY Bird feeder craft

This was a really simple Sunday afternoon activity, as part of our bird themed activities it only seemed right to make something to hang in our garden for the little robin who visits every day.

You will need:

Cardboard

Peanut butter

Bird seed

Hole punch

Twine

I chose to use our wooden shapes as stencils to draw around and then cut out – but you could easily use the cardboard from a loo roll or just go for one simple shape.

Once our shapes were cut out we used a hole punch first….this is important to do at this stage otherwise it gets messy!

Here’s the really messy fun bit…. smear peanut butter all over the cardboard shapes and then dip the shapes in to a container of bird seed.

This part was the most fun for Arlo and he enjoyed seeing it all sticky and messy.

Cut your twine in to short lengths to loop through the holes…. with hindsight it’s probably better and less messy to do this bit before the peanut butter but we didn’t mind getting our fingers dirty.

Then voila… one our shapes were strung it was time to hang them up in the garden and then sit and wait at the window inside for the birds to arrive.

This really is super easy to do and fun for all ages. Check out our little video if you want to see how we managed:

Toilet Roll Airplane Craft

Our little spitfires were made during our busy VE Day celebrations, using toilet rolls and a bit of scrap cardboard.

You will need:

  • One loo roll
  • Cardboard
  • Paper fastener
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors or scalpel
  • Paint

First things first you need to cut your wing, propellor and fail shapes out of some scrap card. I used a template to do this.

Then score some horizontal lines in to your roll to slot the wings and tail in. I checked everything fit together at this stage, the marked the spot for the tail piece to slot in vertically before making another small cut.

I used a paper fastener to secure the propellor to the circular piece of card and then used masking tape to attach this circle piece to the loo roll, making sure that everything rotated well.

I gave Arlo all the pieces and a selection of green and brown colour paints to go wild. He really nailed the camouflage print without me even helping!

We went off out for a walk leaving everything to dry before coming home to assemble all the bits.

It’s as simple as that! Here’s a little 15 second video tutorial:

Re – Useable (not paper) chains

Paper chains are the perfect decoration for any occasion but they never last long, especially outdoors. So here’s a new way to make them.

You will need:

A4 Felt sheets

Velcro dots

Scissors

Marker

Ruler

This really is as simple as it sounds. Lay the felt landscape and use the ruler to draw lines about an inch apart and then cut your felt in to strips.

Affix your adhesive “hook” Velcro dots on to the ends of the strips and then place the “eye” dot on top with sticky side up.

Loop your strips and then squeeze the felt over the dots in your thumb and forefinger to adhere them.

Then repeat with all your strips, you can then pull the loops open and closed to make chains as required as many times as you like.

Our red white and blue felt is perfect for VE Day anniversary celebrations but we will be able to take these down, save them and add in other colours to mark different occasions.

Salt Dough Solar System

Go big or go home is how the saying goes…. so when I decided to whip up some salt dough for Arlo we had to make the entire solar system.

It’s not quite as challenging or daunting as you might imagine – all the pieces are circular shaped! We love salt dough and to make sure our pieces get to have a decent display time the easiest thing to do is poke holes in them to turn them in to mobiles – choose a theme which suits the cutters you already have!

For the dough you will need:

2 cups plain flour

1 cup salt

1/2 cup of room temp water

A straw

Tissue paper or grease proof paper

Then to decorate :

Paints

Glitter

Plus various bits of string and ribbon to hang.

So all you do is combine the ingredients in a bowl – this bit is half the fun so you can let the kids join in and get as messy and involved as you like. I made a tik tok video which explains the entire process

Mum tip: once your dough is ready leave it to rest for at least half an hour in the fridge. I don’t know why this works but it does.

I chose to microwave our pieces because I’m impatient. If you do this use kitchen roll and switch it out every so often. For a smoother finish if you’re making ornaments etc then you will need to bake low and slow, on grease proof paper – for our planets I didn’t mind the odd lump and bump. Make sure you poke holes before baking!!

Once they’re thoroughly dry they are ready to paint and decorate. I left ours overnight and set Arlo up with all his materials first thing in the morning. He was convinced that we were baking biscuits so was slightly disappointed he couldn’t eat them, and this led to us also baking the entire solar system.

We used poster paints, and then PVA glue with glitter, and left everything to dry for quite a while.

You can’t be too ambitious with salt dough – it can be quite fickle and delicate as it dries heavy – we made our sun – the biggest thing in our solar system from painted paper plates.

We went out for a walk on our daily exercise and made sure to find a big branch to hang our planets from. I strung the whole thing up using fishing wire which is transparent whilst Arlo napped. My mom pulled out a solar system poster and some fairy lights and we took down all of our Easter crafts from the notice board to start fresh with our new space theme.

I used some garden twine to create a loop which meant the whole thing could be hung from the underneath of our shelving…. the fairy lights were added after this for Arlo’s big switch on.

Floral Sun Catchers

We are still playing with collected flowers from our daily exercise (and also from the garden). Arlo loves the colours and the smell and is starting to recognise specific flowers and learn their names.

For this activity you will need:

  • Laminator
  • Laminated flowers
  • Scissors
  • Collected flowers
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Circular template

We collected flowers for this in our own garden one evening – grandad has a huge variety of pansies in full bloom.

Arlo chose the colours carefully using his scavenger hunt egg box and I let him hold the scissors to get a clean cut on the stems.

We sat down to look at all the flowers we had collected and I demonstrated to Arlo the activity with one run through and he immediately understood and began to place flowers on the laminating sheet.

Then it’s simple enough to load a laminating sheet – take care to not overload the machine thickness wise and to leave plenty of space to trim.

We used a tin lid as a circular template. Next time we try this out I will have more variety of shapes to hand to add in another aspect of learning.

I trimmed the shapes carefully – Arlo is a bit too little to follow the exact shape carefully but he did have fun trying. Older children can take responsibility for this aspect of the craft.

Then it came to hole punching and for some reason this is Arlo’s favourite thing to do – I think he thinks it’s some sort of big robot.

We raided the ribbon jar together to find some scraps of thread and coloured ribbon for a bow before gifting these to nanny and grandad for immediate display in the garden.

I love the way these are perfectly imperfect – the colours catch the light beautifully and brighten up a little corner of our garden – but they would look beautiful in any space.

Glueing and sticking

You will need:

  • Tissue paper
  • Safety scissors
  • PVA glue
  • Printable colouring sheets (from twinkl)
  • Glue spreaders
(Our plastic bowls and plates are from Ikea, all other items available in home bargains)

First of all – a huge thank you to Twinkl because they have provided free access to a wealth of resources for parents.

For this activity Arlo was around when I was setting up and so of course he wanted to join in with the cutting of the tissue paper. I’m quite happy to let him get on with this because he is very careful and it helps develop manual dexterity.

We spoke about the colours and shapes he was cutting and then he chose his egg from a selection I had printed.

He was more than happy to continue with his cutting rather than do any actual sticking himself. He simply sat and gave me orders about which colours I could use and where exactly to stick them.

You can scrunch your little pieces to get more of a 3D effect.

This was intended to be an Easter themed activity however Arlo was very insistent that these were in fact dinosaur eggs. This activity can be done with any simple colouring sheets. I’ve saved up our tissue scraps and other materials – foil wrappers are excellent for space, fish and robot themes.

The finished results were proudly pinned to our notice board which is becoming a bit of an art gallery.

Mum tip – print on to A4 card rather than paper for sticking activities to avoid getting in a crumpled mess.

Beautiful Butterflies

We are working on crafts inspired by the classic Eric Carle book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” whilst also watching our insect lore caterpillars grow, so craft projects such as this help to reinforce the life cycle of a butterfly learnings and help with other important eyfs skills.

You will need:

  • A4 Card stock (not paper).
  • Paints
  • Brushes
  • Scissors

This is a super simple activity and requires minimal prep. Fold a piece of A4 cardstock in half and then cut out the shape of a butterflies wings.

I did this for Arlo because his scissor skills aren’t quite there yet, but you could draw or an outline for older children to follow.

Once you’ve cut the wings you should be able to open the card and have the basic butterfly shape.

Mum tip: if you aren’t confident with getting the shape then google and print out a template to follow.

Then let the kids go wild with paints on one half of the inside of the butterfly. This is one situation where more is more with the amount of paint.

I always make at least 2/3 templates for craft activities and sit alongside Arlo so that he can copy me because he tends to have his own “expressive” ideas as soon as he sees paint, but loves to copy me step by step and then tell me his is bigger or better.

Once you have enough paint splodged on then you need to fold the butterfly wings together, and press all over the outside…. smoothing and smudging helps the paint to spread and create a great effect.

Then carefully peel apart the wings whilst the paint is still wet to reveal the colourful patterns.

You can make a small hole and use pipe cleaners to make antennae. Just like on the egg box caterpillars

Egg Box Caterpillar

You will need:

Egg boxes (the long ones which hold a dozen eggs)

Red, green and yellow Paint

A purple Pipe cleaner

In keeping with our Very Hungry Caterpillar theme because we are watching out insect Lore Caterpillars grow bigger – we tried some more craft activities today.

I’m hoping that Arlo is learning to understand the life cycle of a butterfly with all of these activities and they each present the opportunity to practice dexterity skills and inspire a love of literature too.

This is really simple – all you need to do is cut the egg boxes in to a long piece and then let them loose with a tray of green paint.

We used two shades of green and the yellow at first to try and imitate the beautiful illustrations from the book.

Add in red for the head towards the end to avoid the inevitable brown splodge effect and save some yellow to dab along the back too.

The antenna are made from one twisted pipe cleaner poked through a hole in the top of the head.

For the eyes I painted a piece of white card yellow and cut these out to stick on later.

It’s as simple as that. We chose to sit at the kitchen table with our pet caterpillars and the book, right next to the fruit bowl and we were talking about the book, and all the colours as we painted.

I was planning to save the butterfly craft activities for when ours emerge from their cocoons but Arlo decided he absolutely needed to make butterflies too and so we did a quick activity straight after this with our paints too.