I’m not gonna lie.
I adore advent calendars for all their numeracy opportunities. Because #teachernerd.
I mean, who doesn’t love a side serve of Maths in their festive season?
These homemade advent calendars are not only sugar-free, but will have kids identifying numbers and practising forward and backward number sequences all Silly Season.
For the third year running, I’m a part of the Craftmas Crew. We are a stellar, international team of crafty ladies who will each share a Christmas crafty project on Instagram during the festive season.
This year, however, there is a plot twist! Craftmas will run across 5 days. Each day has 3 crafty ladies sharing a project and each day is assigned a certain set of simple materials. Again with the Maths, but that will be 15 inspired projects for you to try by the end of the week!
I’ve outlined all of my tissue paper painting tips in this post.
My number one tip is to not be too heavy-handed with the paint.
Too much paint will make your tissue paper too wet and your paper will disintegrate.
Once your paper is dried and oh-so-crinkly, cut it into triangular strips.
Starting at the wider end, wrap this part around a chopstick or dowel rod. Apply a very thin layer of glue and roll, roll, roll until the end.
Slide your bead off the chopstick and repeat x 24.
Tissue paper is obviously quite delicate to work with so this step involves a bit of experimenting.
Too much glue results in your paper bead getting stuck to the chopstick.
I poke a skewer through an egg carton and let the beads dry upright.
Once your beads have dried, apply a layer of craft glue or Mod Podge to the outer of the bead. This hardens them up nicely.
Once your beads are dried on the inside and the outside, I trimmed the edges off for a more uniform size.
Thread the beads onto a piece of yarn.
I cut a Christmas-tree shape out of cardboard and wrapped the garland around the tree.
I secured the yarn in place with tape.
Each day, kids can remove a bead from your homemade Advent calendar.
Collect the removed beads and transform them into necklaces or bracelets for DIY Christmas gifts.
Or re-string them to create a garland or Christmas tree decoration.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME, SHANNON? AS IF MY SILLY SEASON ISN’T SILLY ENOUGH WITHOUT YOU SUGGESTING I BRING OUT THE PAINT! NO WAY, JOSE!
Okay- I totally hear you! Homemade Advent calendar number 2 is a simpler, paint-free idea that is excellent for the toddler and preschooler crowd.
Cut open a cereal box and lay flat.
We’re going to create a tissue paper collage by liberally applying craft glue and laying down sheets of tissue paper.
The key to this project is lots of tearing and layering.
Once the surface of the cereal box is covered, apply a coat of craft glue over the top of your tissue paper collage.
This helps to seal it.
Once your collage is dried, create a diamond template and trace this onto your box 25 times.
Fold your diamond in half to create triangular flags.
I had to place a heavy book on top of my flags, lest they kept flipping open.
Thread yarn between your flags to create an Advent garland.
You could write little messages or activity ideas inside the flags.
I chose to number the flags.
If your child is learning skip counting, you could number every 5th flag. You could number every even flag or every odd flag.
See all the learning opportunities in a simple Advent? Maths for days. Literally.
I found these sweet little envelopes in the local Dollar Store.
We popped them in the salad spinner with some acrylic paint.
Spin, spin, spin and once the paint has dried, fill them with notes, activity suggestions or stickers.
If you do try one of the homemade advent calendars, I’d LOVE to see. Just tag me – @ohcreativeday – on social media.
People frequently ask me about my must-have materials when it comes to crafting with kids. I always recommend washi or decorative tape as a craft cupboard staple.
We go through a fair bit of washi tape here and whenever we get to the end of the roll, I keep the cardboard core.
For a loooooong while, I wasn’t sure why I was keeping all those cores. My inner-creative lady knew that one day the project would reveal itself.
And reveal itself it did.
Pilot Pintor Paint Markers contain water-based paint. We’ve enjoyed exploring the different colours and different tip sizes.
So far we’ve used them on paper, terracotta, canvas, cotton, rocks, cellophane and now tape cores!
They are a total game-changer.
Because they are water-based, if my children use them too *enthusiastically*, then a simple wipe down removes any trace of them from household surfaces like the dining table or floorboards *ahem*
What you will need for this necklace craft for kids:
Colour the tape cores with Pilot Pintor Paint Markers as you please. The pens with fine to bold tips are great for this purpose.
Use the pens with extra fine tips to add detail. We did this as a family Saturday morning creative session.
Literally fun for all the family.
If you’ve been around here for awhile, you’ll know that I love arts and crafts as a mode for children to explore problem-solving and tackling frustrations. This necklace project encourages kids to experiment with how they will construct and structure their necklaces.
We used yarn and decorative strings to hold the cores together. My 6-year-old opted to simply thread the cores onto the yarn.
We dug out the bead box and embellished our necklaces with beads and tassels.
The Pilot Pintor Paint Markers also worked beautifully on the beads so we added more details onto the beads this way.
We do love the “more is more” approach at my place.
Bling up your necklace and then wear it proudly.
This necklace craft for kids would be perfect for handmade gifts for family and friends.
You could also Christmasify them and turn them into Christmas tree decorations.
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Do you prefer spooky or cute Halloween decorations? Today we bring you a selection of little bit spooky Halloween paper crafts for kids and we hope you will find just the right one to make with your kids before Halloween! We have bats and spiders, black cats and monsters! Which one you will choose to make? Remember to have fun with spooky Halloween decorations!
To start your Halloween crafting, you will need to collect some of the basic materials like:
Take a look at Halloween paper crafts we prepared for you and make your pick!
Spider are spooky for sure! Get directions how to make these simple 3D spider decorations. They are really easy to make and you can make them with your preschoolers! Older kids will love making them too!
If there are spiders, we have to make a large paper spider web as well! Spider webs are quick to make and your child will be working on their scissor skills as a bonus!
Did you watch Nightmare Before Christmas movie? We have a perfect craft to make after watching this movie with kids! This easy to make Halloween wreath will surely leave visitors spooked!
Another have to include theme when it comes to Halloween are bats! We have an easy origami bat craft that even children who never did origami before can make!
When we look at the dates around Halloween, we can’t skip the Day of the Dead! We have prepared a tutorial for sugar skull corner bookmarks kids get to make and color in their preferred color combo!
Black cats are something you can’t avoid around Halloween! Invite kids to make and then play with these cute black cat finger puppets! Lots of pretend play incoming!
Paper skeleton puppets can be made super fast with provided template. It will be fun for your children to decorate them and play with them when they complete their puppets.
We can’t forget ghosts! Of course, ghosts always make their appearance around Halloween. Make a quick ghosts garland to decorate your home or classroom! Spooky and fun!
Never enough bats? We have another simple bat craft you can create with kids! Use them as a decoration, link them into garland or glue them in Halloween invitations!
Halloween, monsters…. Yes, we can’t forget Frankenstein! You can make a Frankenstein suncatcher to decorate your windows and spook kids as they come to trick and treat!
Bonus craft idea: Make Frankenstein paper toy! Kids can play with this toy while you prepare everything for your guests!
Be sure to check out Maggy’s new book, Easy Paper Projects. In this book you can find many simple paper craft ideas for every day and every holiday. Have fun crafting with your kids all year round!
We made these DIY superhero capes weeks ago in my READ + CREATE school holiday classes.
Just this morning, one of my regular little reader/creators rocked up for class in his DIY superhero cape.
Like a boss.
A creative boss who really likes good books.
Below is the little caped legend.
It was such a fun class and simple project that I thought it needed to be shared with the Interworld.
Every year here in Australia, Book Week carries a theme set by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. This year’s Book Week theme was “Reading is My Secret Power.” To tap into this awesome sauce theme, we read two books about superpowers and created our one-of-a-kind capes.
READ: Doodle Cat Wears A Cape by Kat Patrick and Lauren Farrell
All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys
(Or any book to do with superheroes or the theme of embracing your own unique superpowers.)
CREATE: Personalised DIY superhero capes using permanent markers and watercolour paints
You will need:
A length of cotton fabric- an old pillow case or sheet should do!
Watercolour palette and paintbrushes
Liquid watercolour paints or food dye
How to make your own superhero capes:
Our DIY capes were approximately 45cm wide across the bottom, 20cm wide across the top and 50cm long.
I folded lengths of fabric in half and then cut out the capes to ensure they were symmetrical.
I cut two little slits on either side at the top of the cape and threaded a chenille stick through each of these slits.
Chenille sticks are easy for little hands to manipulate and save Mums from repeatedly hearing “Can you tie up myyyyyyy caaaaape?”
After reading “Doodle Cat Wears A Cape,” we chatted about our own superpowers.
Using permanent makers we drew visual representations of our superpowers onto our capes.
The permanent marker bleeds through the fabric, so prepare your surface accordingly.
Once you have a design in black marker on your cape, start painting with the watercolour palettes.
When using watercolour palettes, I always try and instruct children to “load up their brush with colour.” To do this, we swish our brush around in the colour and count to 5. (Sometimes I even say to 10.) This leads to brighter colours.
I didn’t give many instructions at this stage- children applied colour as they so desired.
Then we took our capes outside.
Awaiting us were spray bottles filled with liquid watercolour paint.
These paints can be expensive but are a fab investment.
If you’re not keen to invest, then watered-down food dye also works.
The instruction at this stage was to cover the cape with colour.
I advised that the children spray from a height to disperse the colour more easily.
If you spray at close range, the colour coverage is not so great and the paint bounces back towards you.
But this stage is also a fun one for experimenting- so let the children play around with their technique and take risks.
I also suggested that the cape shouldn’t end up soaking in paint. When you hang the cape up to dry, all that excess liquid will run and drip off. It could lead to a cool effect. Or it could leave everything brown. Creating comes with so many unknowns!
The other trick is to make sure that the colours in the spray bottles are complementary. We used blue, purple, red, pink and orange. Too many colours and you could end up with khaki green capes. (Look, no disrespect to khaki green, but…)
Once your DIY superhero cape is dried, go forth and unleash your awesome onto the world.
If you’ve been round these parts for awhile, you’ll know that I’m an Eric Carle fan girl. His method of painting tissue paper is one of our very favourite art processes. This Very Hungry Caterpillar craft vibes off this process.
But with a twist.
We’ve created a fair few Eric Carle-inspired projects round here. These Grouchy Ladybirds help teach how to tell the time.
Some Mister Seahorses. Some Lonely Fireflies.
But nothing to do with the Very Hungry Caterpillar. I almost had stage fright. What could I ever create with my kids to do justice to this iconic book? This year, being the 50th year since this glorious book was published, seemed like THE YEAR to get over this stage fright.
Sew a Softie seemed like a perfect opportunity to bring this Very Hungry Caterpillar craft to life.
A Very Hungry Caterpillar softie? Please and thank you.
What you will need for this Very Hungry Caterpillar craft
Acrylic paints (green, white, yellow, black, red)
So here’s the plot twist.
We’re going to paint the felt to achieve that awesome Eric Carle textured collage look.
Paint your felt green. Then start adding yellow, black and white highlights.
The felt absorbs the paint quite quickly so as we started wanting it to look textured with colour, we squirted paint straight onto the felt.
Once dried, the paint does make the felt a bit stiffer.
Paint a small square in red and use white and black to create a collage look. This will form the caterpillar’s head.
We examined the book’s front cover for reference.
Once your felt has dried, find a circular object to trace around.
The circles we cut ended up being around 7.5cm across.
We used 7 green circles.
Lay your 7 circles in formation against the felt that will be your backing.
We used white felt for the backing.
Pin your circles into place and get your needle ready!
We chose to use black thread. Use whatever colour tickles your fancy!
Note that we didn’t cut out the white circles. We sewed directly onto the backing fabric (that was rectangular in shape) and then cut around that felt at the very end.
This was a very useful method for little hands.
Cut a circle out of your red painted felt for the caterpillar’s head and 2 yellow ovals and 2 smaller green ovals to create the eyes.
Cut out a small circle for the caterpillar’s mouth.
Stitch these pieces into place on the red circle.
You’ll also need to cut out 2 black antennae and some little feet.
We began by stitching along the bottom of the caterpillar. Be sure to stitch the little black feet in as you progress.
My eldest is 5 and this was challenging for her. It was definitely a side-by-side activity and at times it was a hand-over-hand activity.
Once you have sewn along the bottom of the caterpillar, I put three stitches in at the point where the circles overlapped. Otherwise they flap around and all the stuffing will fall out.
Working along the top of the caterpillar, place stuffing into each segment and then stitch your caterpillar together.
Be sure to stitch the antennae in when you reach the head.
I initially had this grand dream of having my kids paint the food eaten by the caterpillar onto the back of the softie so that it could be used to retell the story. But life got in the way and there was no time for that. But you can have that idea and if you use it, be sure to tag me so I can see how it turned out!
This butterfly art for kids was inspired by two of my favourite creative ladies, Bonnie from Make It Your Own and Cara from Raising Kinley. I do love the way the Internet brings so much connection and inspiration and this creative lady mash up is testament to this.
After seeing this post on Bonnie’s Instagram feed about watercolours forming perfect droplets on waxed paper, my mind was whirring.
Team this inspiration with Cara’s enthusiastic obsession with photo paper and this butterfly art project was born.
Use the template to cut butterflies out of your photo paper.
Use masking tape to secure waxed paper to the table.
Dip paintbrushes into liquid watercolours and experiment with dropping paint onto the waxed paper.
(You could also use pipettes.)
It’s fun to observe the reaction and resistance between the paint and waxed paper.
Once you’ve covered a suitable area in coloured watercolour dots, press the photo paper glossy side down onto the droplets.
WARNING: This is an addictive process. It’s fun to experiment with how close you can place the coloured dots and to see what happens when the colours mix.
We then glued our butterflies onto squares of coloured paper and cut them out, leaving a thin border.
You could string these up as bunting or make a garland.