Crafts and making things

Welcome to our collection of crafts and making activities, perfect for keeping children aged 5 to 11 busy and entertained.

For different types of activity, see the other sections of our library:

The step-by-step instructions are supplied as PDF files. Click on a link below to download a file.

Note that our activities are aimed at children of primary school age. Some may also be suitable for pre-school children with minor adjustments, but this is at your own discretion as the activities may include elements which are not appropriate for young children such as small parts, hot surfaces or substances that need treating with caution.

 

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Chick cake toppersChick cake toppers
These cake toppers made from fondant icing look really cute and are perfect for decorating cupcakes or other Easter-themed treats. You can use the same technique to make (non-edible!) chicks from other modelling materials such as Fimo and Plasticine.


Pipecleaner ninjasPipecleaner ninjas
These great little pipe cleaner ninjas are quite easy to make and, with their multi-posable limbs, fun to play with afterwards. This is one of those rare craft activities that is likely to appeal to the boys just as much as the girls.

 


Cute sock rabbitSock rabbits
We were enchanted with this cute little rabbit craft. With no sewing required it's surprisngly easy to make. If you don't want to use rice as a filler, you could always cannibalise any old bean bag toys that you have lying around, or use any other stuffing material that you can lay your hands on.

 


Wind catchersWind catchers 
If you can have sun-catchers, why not wind-catchers? Made from old tin cans, some paint and strips of plastic, these wind-catchers are as cheap as chips to make and look fantastic streaming in the wind. The children at your club will love them — guaranteed!

 


Grabber monstersGrabber monster 
A slightly longer craft activity, ideal for the older children. Make a shark or a crocodile with real snapping jaws!

 

 


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More craft and making activities

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Ancient scrolls 
We've been experimenting with creating mysterious ancient scrolls. Cold tea and judicious distressing of the paper give them an authentic ancient feel, then the children can use them for treasure maps, secret messages or even ancient curses! They had lots of fun with this one - but you do need to be able to dry lots of damp sheets of paper overnight. And you can seal your scrolls using real wax seals (see below).

Bottle paddle boats
This is a great activity for the older children at your club - first making the paddle boats and then racing them in a suitable container of water. The paddle boats use really basic materials (empty plastic bottles, rubber bands and chopsticks) but making them does require more dexterity than most younger children can manage.

Bottle rain gauges 
We thought we should try and put some of this rain to good use by making a rain gauge. A rain gauge can get the children outside even in the worst of weathers, and can also help to interest them in meteorology. If you keep a daily weather record, you can encourage all sorts of scientific enquiry. These rain gauges are cheap and easy to make, just using an old two litre drinks bottle and a bit of duct tape.

Bug hotel 
This is a nice activity to get the children active out of doors and interested in wildlife. If you have access to a suitably 'wild' outdoor space you could also set the children the task of collecting all the natural materials first, before you begin building your bug hotels.

Cardboard tube dogs
You only need toilet roll tubes, split pins and some paint to make these dogs, but they look really cute.

Cardboard tube penguins 
These penguins are cute and super cheap to make, as well as being a little different from your typical cardboard tube penguin! You could use the same technique to create other animals if you felt inspired.

Code wheels
Writing and decoding messages is a great way to engage the older children on a dull afternoon. But first they have the challenge of making the code wheels to encrypt the message. It's not quite Bletchley Park, but should keep them busy for a while!

Decoupage tea light holders
If you have a load of mismatched paper napkins left over from Christmas, this is a nice craft to use them up and turn them into Christmas tealight holders ready for next year. Or, depending on the patterns on your napkins, you can use them for any number of other events, such as using red and gold designs for Chinese New Year.

Duct tape cushions
Here's a nice way to get the children involved in personalising their play space. Cheap as chips and easy to make, these waterproof cushions are perfect for use indoors or outside.

Easy peasy dressing up outfits 
What could be better than dressing up in costumes that the children have made themselves? Using fleece fabric you can make a series of tabards with different embellishments, waistcoats from old fleece jumpers, and some rather natty hats. 

Elastic band balls 
Making an elastic band ball is cheap, satisfying and an excellent way to keep fidgeting fingers busy. The resultant balls can be as large or as small as you want, so this activity can run indefinitely if a particular child gets hooked. 

Felt-making 
Felt-making is a great activity when you have a bit more time available, so perfect for the holidays. This is a good activity for the older children but you will need to supervise quite closely as very hot water is involved. Once the felt is dry you can use it to make small purses, etc. 

Fimo flower brooches
This flower brooch will make a lovely gift for Mother's Day or any other time, and is very simple to make. We used Fimo to make the brooch, but you can use the same technique to make flowers out of plasticine, clay, fondant icing, etc.

Fireflies
These little fireflies are really cute and quite easy to make. Close the curtains and turn on their little lights to see them really glow!

Fleece tie cushions 
This is the easiest way ever to make cushions: it requires no hemming, stitching or glueing. The fleece material does not fray and a cunning system of knotting the fabric together removes the need for sewing. We had even five-year-olds producing attractive and usable cushions that they were immensely proud of.

Fleece tie den 
This is a very cheap and effective way of making a shaped cover that can be put over a table to create a den. It uses the same knotting technique that we used in our popular Fleece Tie Cushions activity. Cutting out and setting up the separate pieces is a little tricky and will need close adult supervision, but once the preparation is done, you can set the children to work with all the knotting.

Flying ping pong monster
Can you keep the ping pong ball hovering over the monster's mouth? This is our lockdown gift to all parents and childcare workers. If you are hoping for five minutes with no one calling your name, this is the activity you need. No child is able to blow the ping pong ball and talk to you at the same time. You’re welcome!

Folded paper monsters 
This is such a simple activity that requires only the most basic materials and takes just moments to set up. But it really engages the children's imaginations and keeps them entertained.

Funky animal string holders 
We really love this craft idea! Decorate old screw top jars and use them as funky string dispensers. The activity provides just the right amount of challenge, and the string dispensers look great when finished so the children have a real sense of achievement. Glass jam jars provide a better counter-weight when you pull out the string, but plastic jars are less nerve-wracking to work with, so use whichever type you feel most comfortable with. 

Gift baskets (and tea-light holders)
Save up your old Activia yoghurt pots to make these really pretty gift baskets which can either be used just as original containers for small gifts or hung on a Christmas tree. You can create little tea-light holders by following the same method.

Grabber monster 
A slightly longer craft activity, ideal for a holiday club and for the older children. Make a shark or a crocodile with real snapping jaws!

Grow your own crystals
Watching these crystals grow is absolutely fascinating and had all of our kids hooked. The downside is that you need plenty of time to leave the crystals to grow - ideally a full day - so this is a good project to try over the holidays.

Home-made bath salts
These jars of home-made bath salts are really attractive and will make ideal gifts for Mother's Day or Christmas. Yet they are so easy to make that even the youngest children should have no difficulties.

Marble maze
Making marble mazes with lolly sticks and shoebox lids was really popular with the children - especially the boys who sometimes aren't so interested in traditional 'craft' activities. They had just as much fun making the mazes as playing with them afterwards.

Mini banjos 
The children will love making these cute mini banjos, made from jam jar lids and jumbo lolly sticks. And luckily they're a lot quieter than the real thing.

More paper lanterns 
These decorative lanterns look great hung up in large groups as alternatives to bunting. They are actually slightly trickier to make than they look so will engage the older children as well as the younger ones. With a change of card colour they can easily be adapted for other festivals: black and orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, etc. 

Nature postcards
A very easy but effective activity that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages.

Newspaper activities: four ideas
Looking for some really cheap craft activities? Try these four great ideas for things to make using newspapers and magazines, courtesy of Creative Steps magazine. We're loving the newspaper flip-flops!

Origami dogs
2018 was the Chinese Year of the Dog. Why not have a go at making these really easy origami dogs with the kids at your club?

Origami rat (or mouse) bookmarks
2020 is the Year of the Rat, so we've a fun little rat-themed craft for you: rat bookmarks (or they could just as easily be mice if you don't like rats!) They're super cute, easy to make, and useful too.

Olympic torch 
With the countdown to the Olympics well under way, we thought we should get in on the act by making an Olympic torch. The finished article looks surprisingly realistic and even inspired the children to have their own torch relay.

Paper bag piñatas
These paper bag piñatas are so much quicker and easier to make than the traditional papier mâché style. Perfect for the end of term party, or the children can take them home with them.

Paper flowers 1 (dahlia wreath)
This wreath looks absolutely amazing! A really good project to do as a group - or individually if you prefer to make small ones.

Paper flowers 2 (pompoms)
These tissue paper pompom flowers are perfect for Mothers' Day or for a general spring-time theme.

Paper plate birds
Simple, cheap and effective: these birds made from paper plates tick all the boxes! (Take a look at the spring activities in our Alternative Festivals Calendar for more about 'draw a picture of a bird day'.)

Paper spinners 
You'll probably remember making these spinners when you were a child, but they are so easy to make that they are worth sharing with today's kids. It's a really simple idea but they are perfect for little hands and there are lots of opportunities for experimenting with different patterns on the discs to see which work best when the spinner is spun.

Paperweave place-mats 
When the decorations are put away after Christmas, everything can look a little drab, so we used leftover Christmas wrapping paper to make some bright placemats to cheer the place up a bit. If you have a large format laminator you can use the same technique to make vibrant backings for display boards — just use A3 size sheets of paper insted of A4.

Penny spinning tops
This is a super simple activity that any child can do, and needs minimal adult involvement and minimal resources. Coming up with ideas for the different decorative designs that will work best when spun, and developing the best spinning techniques to keep the spinning tops going the longest, should keep the children busy and engaged.

Pipecleaner monkeys
These cheeky pipecleaner monkeys are easy to make with the children and will look great hanging around your club.

Plaited paper bookmarks
These bookmarks are easy to make once you've got the hang of 'plaiting' paper, and look really effective. We made some as gifts for Fathers' Day but you can use the same craft for any occasion, simply by changing the colour of the card and the types of embellishments used.

Plastic and paper bag activities: four ideas
Looking for some unusual and cost-effective craft activities? Try these four great ideas for things to make using plastic and paper bags, courtesy of Creative Steps magazine.

Plastic from milk 
This is a great science project for the older children - challenge them to make plastic out of milk. It's hard to believe but it really does work.

Pompom puppets
These cute puppets are very easy to make - although the younger children might need a little help tying the knots. Once made, the children can use the puppets for creative play.

Puffy paint 
This puffy paint activity uses some really basic ingredients (flour, salt, and food colouring) but gives great results as it puffs up when cooked in the microwave. Ideal for creating some puffy Easter chick paintings, or just to make some fun and unusual artwork.

Rolling feet
We were looking for a really silly activity to cheer everyone up, and believe that we have found it with Rolling Feet. Really simple to set up, uses easy to find materials, and guaranteed to make you giggle as the feet wobble down the hallway.

Scratch off paint
Home-made scratch-off paint is a very handy material and can be used for all sorts of crafts and activities (eg. secret messages, forfeits, prizes, etc).

Sock hobby horse
The children absolutely loved playing with these home-made hobby horses, practically snatching each one away as soon as it was finished. Getting the children involved in making toys and equipment for the club gives them a real sense of achievement and ownership — as well as saving you money!

Sock rabbit
We were enchanted with this cute little rabbit craft. With no sewing required it's surprisngly easy to make. If you don't want to use rice as a filler, you could always cannibalise any old bean bag toys that you have lying around, or use any other stuffing material that you can lay your hands on.

'Stained glass' pictures
This is a very versatile activity that can be tailored to any number of seasonal themes. The 'stained glass' effect is easy to achieve even for younger children. Uses very cheap materials.

Tea-towel aprons 
Another really easy item you can make for your club from tea-towels is aprons. With tea-towels so cheap to buy you can make a whole batch of aprons for next to nothing. And with minimal sewing (except for adding the neck loop and side ties) they are something that all the children can get involved with making. 

Tea-towel bags
Simple draw-string bags are a good way to keep your toys and equipment organised. Tea-towels are cheap and come in a huge variety of brightly coloured patterns, so can help to cheer up your space whilst storing your stuff. And the real beauty of using tea towels is that they come ready hemmed, which saves heaps of time and effort and makes it a great activity for children to do as well.

Tile painting 
Tile painting is a really simple, yet effective activity. Children of any age can create really attractive tiles. For the younger children (or the more artistically challenged), stencils can be a good way to start. The tiles are cheap and easy to obtain from any DIY store, and once painted can be used as trivets, name plates or coasters. 

Toilet roll houses
These little houses are really cute and are perfect for imaginative play. Let the children choose their own mini-figures to put inside and even the toughest boys will be happy to make one. We ended up with space rockets and ninja dojos as well as houses.

T-shirt cushion
This is a very easy activity and can be made as simple or as elaborate as desired according to the ages and abilities of the children. Requires very easy sewing (or use of fabric glue) and lots of fun stuffing!

T-shirt peg bag
Here's another idea for something to make out of an old T-shirt: a peg bag. It uses very cheap materials and requires minimal sewing - the younger children could even use fabric glue if necessary. The children can then customise the peg bag according to taste with fabric pens or paint. 

T-shirt shoulder bag 
This is a good activity for slightly older children - convert an old T-shirt into a unqiue shoulder bag by some simple sewing and the addition of embellishments (buttons, ribbons, etc) to taste. 

Twig wreaths 
This is a good craft activity to do outside on a sunny day. It uses super-cheap materials: cardboard and twigs, so you just need to send the children out in advance to gather up a good selection of twigs, pine cones, flowers etc. You can use the finished wreath as a seasonal decoration, or as a wind catcher, or even as a picture frame.

Wax seals 
It's always fun to get a letter, but even more so if it's sealed with a proper wax seal. This activity gets the children making their own seal or stamp, and then using them to create real wax seals. This activity was very popular with the children but as it uses both hot wax and/or naked flames, requires close supervision and a good risk assessment first! You could combine it with our Secret Writing activity so that the children can seal their secret messages.

Woollen bouquets
Set the children to work making loads of flowers with this lovely spring craft, which uses just wool and pipecleaners (and a fork!) Or wrap up a bunch with a ribbon to create a pretty Mother's Day bouquet.