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These 10 easy and inexpensive craft projects will keep kids busy for hours

For many parents, the words “easy craft projects” are an oxymoron that conjures up visions of frustrated children needing help at all times, complicated instructions, parts that just won’t stay in place, and finished products that look nothing like the same. example. shown in the photo. After spending $ 15 on supplies, the kitchen table is a mess, your kids are disappointed, they’re ready to do something else, and Mom or Dad didn’t even get a chance to reply to an email from work.

Well, forget about the beaded dreamcatcher that caused nightmares and the wad of paper that looked more like a mashed banana. Penny Hoarder’s “No Rules, Just Believe” art projects are made primarily from things you have around the house and will keep your 6-10 year olds busy for at least an hour without your help.

And, some of these creations become toys that they can play with later or gift to a younger sibling.

  • There are no possible mistakes when a child creates a 6-foot-long mural of an underwater world using paint, crayons, milk jug lids, scraps of fabric, and pictures from magazines.
  • Making a city from cereal boxes and oatmeal cans covered in construction paper just has to meet the young architect’s design specifications. Bottle caps make great windows. A take-out beverage carrier can be an aerial tram.
  • Plastic tigers and giraffes will eat whatever vegetation budding zoologists place in their zoo made of box lids and popsicle sticks.

Here are some tips and a simple guide to give your kids the materials and mindset they need.

First, gather supplies

Recycled and recyclable items

Spend about a week tossing empty containers and boxes into some paper bags instead of recycling or trash.

  • Hold on to things such as milk cartons and lids, shoe boxes, boxes containing frozen dishes, plastic tray containing real food, take-out containers, take-out beverage carriers, take-out condiment containers, straws, cereal boxes, juice boxes and tall paper cups.
  • Think outside of your kitchen. Save the plastic containers that razors come in, toothpaste boxes, toothpaste caps, empty makeup containers, and fabric softener sheets.
  • Size does not matter. Even the battery box or salad dressing container to go can become a fireplace in a cardboard town in a what or a trough in a zoo with a box lid.
  • Gather paper. Save magazines, junk mail, newspapers, and any other paper that you would normally recycle as a source for photos to stick on your creations.
  • Hold on to used items. Go through the cabinets and if there is something that you or your children no longer use that is not in good condition to donate or sell, put it in another bag. If you have fabric scraps, pick them up as well.
Elmers glue is placed on its side with glue sticking out and hidden wooden sticks.
Glue and popsicle sticks are just a few of the things kids can use to make creative projects. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder

Supplies to buy if you don’t have them on hand

  • Markers
  • Elmer’s Glue (holds up better than glue sticks).
  • Stick glue
  • Multicolored construction paper
  • Box of ice cream sticks
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Easel paper roll
  • Plastic animals. It is not essential, but it is more fun to have a set that has two identical animals. Here’s a set of 75 for $ 12.99 at Walmart.
  • At least two rolls of clear tape
  • Foil
  • Play dough or play dough
  • Glue on the glue gun and sticks if your child is old enough to use one, but this is not essential.

Nature to collect

Take a walk around your neighborhood, the schoolyard, or the city park to enjoy the following corners of nature.

  • Rocks, pebbles, and gravel in various sizes and colors, about one cup of each
  • Mulch, about a cup or two
  • Weeds
  • Sticks
  • Sand
  • Shells
  • Leaves

10 inexpensive craft projects kids will dive into

Whichever project you choose below for your kids to try first, tell them to do it however they want, and it doesn’t have to look like anything in reality. Say you’re not going to watch until you’re ready because you want to be surprised. If something doesn’t work out along the way, tell them to just try something else.

An underwater mural is displayed outside in a backyard.
An underwater mural can be made using mixed media such as magazines, junk mail, fabric scraps, stickers, crayons, and paint. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder

1. Underwater mural

Make a mixed media mural using magazines, junk mail, fabric scraps, stickers, crayons, paint, bottle caps, and nature to create an underwater world. Paint or color a 6-foot-long piece of easel paper in different shades of blue and green.

Cut out real photos of marine life from magazines and / or find a cool pattern on a clothing, art, or home decor picture and cut out a creature from it. Draw the creature on the paper or fabric before cutting them if you want. Draw or cut out real or imaginary creatures. Glue or tape them to the paper.

2. Mural of the cruise ship

Depending on the age of your child, an adult might want to draw a cruise ship on a six-foot-long piece of easel paper. Draw a long oval, with horizontal lines dividing it into three or four decks, and add a couple of tall, round chimneys on top. Children can add portholes, larger windows, flags, pools, life preservers, people, and more by drawing or cutting out shapes or photos from magazines, poster board, fabric, or aluminum foil. They can make rows of railing by gluing popsicle sticks to the top deck.

Paint or color water around the boat and add some marine life by drawing or pasting accents.

3. Farm

For this farm, if you have larger plastic horses, use grocery or liquor store boxes, if you want to make a rescue farm for those same zoo animals, use shoe boxes.

Convert boxes into stables by gluing smaller boxes to the “floor” of larger boxes to create smaller stalls. Make fences for each post with popsicle sticks by gluing two sticks between two vertical sticks, then add a third vertical stick in the middle. Support or tape it against the boxes used to form the stable. Use smaller boxes and popsicle sticks in a similar way to create jumps and a ring to hold the animals next to the stables.

Add feeders from condiment containers or other foil covered boxes inside the stables and ring. Fill the feeders with leaves and weeds. Tie the dried grass into small bunches to make hay with string or pipe cleaners.

4. Outer space mural

Make a mixed media mural using aluminum foil, magazines, junk mail, fabric scraps, stickers, crayons, paint, bottle caps, and nature to create life on another planet. Children can draw or cut out how they imagine the houses, cars, inhabitants and nature of their planet.

5. Parade of boats

Remove the lids or cut one side of the boxes so that they are open and can contain passengers such as dolls, plastic animals, people, etc. Cover the boxes with construction paper and add decorations like stripes and boat names.

Make flags for the back of boats by gluing fabric or colored paper to a straw or pipe cleaners.

A lid-in-a-box zoo is displayed outside on a picnic table.  Plastic safari animals such as a gorilla, a zebra, a giraffe and an elephant are also shown.
A boxed lid zoo can be made using inexpensive zoo animals, popsicle sticks, and a shallow box of a frozen dinner. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder

6. Box Lid Zoo

Tape or glue popsicle sticks to the edges of a box lid. Children can also cut one side of a shallow box, such as one containing a plate of frozen food. Fill each one with soil such as rocks, mulch, grass, or sticks. Make feeders out of take-out salad dressing containers, condiment containers, and small boxes.

Fill them with leaves or other dummy food. Make trees with pipe cleaners or real sticks and branches. Glue them to a ball of clay and glue it to the bottom of the box lid. Add animals.

7. Dollhouse

Use a glue gun to join four large cardboard boxes with two next to each other at the bottom and two next to each other at the top with the open sides facing out.

Professional advice

Do you need big boxes? Grocery and liquor stores routinely remove them and give them to you for free.

The boxes can be transformed into a kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom for Barbies, small stuffed animals or those plastic zoo animals that coexist in harmony. Cover different-sized boxes with construction paper to create a refrigerator, stove, microwave, fireplace, table, chair, bed, TV couch, and more. Glue bottle caps and toothpaste caps to plate tables.

Create blankets and curtains from scraps of fabric, fabric softener sheets, or napkins. Draw windows, doors, artwork, bookshelves, and televisions in frames on the inside of the boxes that are the walls. Or cut out photos of all of the above from magazines and stick them on the walls. Cut out a nice photo or picture from a painting and draw your own frame around it for the artwork to hang on the walls.

8. Treehouse Mural

Flip a 6 foot long piece of easel paper vertically and kids can create a tall tree with their dream tree house on top. The tall trunk can be painted or colored and include textures from nature, photos from magazines or fabric. Add residents who could live in a tree like birds and insects.

At the top, draw a simple tree house with a flat floor and railing or a detailed one with windows, stairs, a rooftop gazebo, and all the bells and whistles. Again, accentuate it with drawings, magazine photos, fabrics, and whatever else sticks.

A city is exhibited that was made with boxes and cardboard lined with paper and decorated with markers.
Children can make a city with boxes and cardboard covered in paper and decorated with markers, pictures from magazines and stickers to create doors and windows. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder

9. Your city, USA.

Make a city out of paper-covered boxes and cardboard, then decorate it with markers, magazine photos, and stickers to create doors and windows. Combine two boxes to become a building. They can be placed on a long sheet of easel paper that can be decorated to have roads, parking spaces, and parks. Add car models to the city.

For taller boxes, put something heavy like a stapler, rock, or paperweight inside so they don’t tip over.

10. Mural of the tropical island

Draw a curve at the bottom of a 6-foot-long sheet of easel paper and color or paint it to look like sand. Glue on actual sticks and leaves or photos found in magazines to create palm trees and other lush greenery.

Cut fabric or paper and glue hammocks between the trees. Draw or cut out photos of rocks and water to add waterfalls. Draw or cut out pictures of huts, animals, and tropical flowers.

Katherine Snow Smith is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.




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