Below is a collection of summer crafts and activities suitable for children’s clubs and Sunday Schools.
Craft: CD Weaving
What You Need: Old CDs, scrap yarn, scissors, and if you want to make the flexible needles, plastic lids, and a hole punch. To make the needles, cut the rim off the plastic lid. Cut the remaining flat circle of plastic into pie shaped pieces, then round the top edge. Punch a hole in the rounded end to make the eye of the needle. Trim if needed. You can prepare the CD looms in advance if you like.
To Warp the CD: The warp yarn is between 4 and 6 feet long. Tie it to the CD by putting one end through the centre hole and knotting it to itself on the back. Turn the CD over to the front, pulling the thread through the centre and wrapping around the CD, creating the spokes. Make sure the warp threads are pretty tight!
It’s IMPORTANT to have the warp threads be an UNEVEN number. It’s easy to check this by pushing the spokes together in pairs, making sure your last one is a SINGLE… The total number of warp threads can vary, as long as it’s an uneven number. The fewer spokes, the faster it is to weave, but the looser the weaving will be, especially out near the edge.
Knot the last thread on the back of the CD by tying it to the first thread. Then spread out the warp threads evenly on the front. Now you’re ready to weave!
Choose your first yarn. It will be the centre of your weaving. Attach it on the back of the CD by tying it to one of the warp spokes.
Knot the other end to the needle. Push the needle up through the centre hole to the front side. Weave over under, over under. When you get near the end of your yarn, attach another yarn.
Hold the CD in your hand as you weave, weaving in a counter clock-wise direction. Push the needle under a warp spoke and then off the edge, repeating over/under for a few spokes before pulling the yarn all the way through and then down and tight.
When you add a new yarn, leave the tail long enough to tuck in after you’ve done a few more stitches so you can see where the knot needs to tuck in. If the tails are too short, they are harder to tuck in.
You can use a variety of yarns, including textured and fluffy yarns. But they are more challenging to work with. When you get to the last round, end by tying the yarn to one of the warp spokes and tucking in the end.
Kids can decorate the flowers with whatever colour tissue paper they want. In addition to being a fun art activity, this serves as a fine motor activity since kids will be using the small muscles in their hands to scrunch up the tissue paper squares. The circles on the flower are just there as a guide. Kids can place as many tissue paper bunches in an area as they want.
Craft: Picasso Portraits
Materials: watercolour paper or heavy sketch/drawing paper, pencil, eraser, tempera disk paint, sharpies or markers.
To start get the students to draw an oval face with a neck and shoulders. Then have them draw a line down the centre of the oval (it can be off kilter for a different look).
One side of the oval will be for a head on view and the other side will be for a side on view.
Have the children working in pairs sketching their neighbour.
Now that the sketch is done it’s time to paint. You can use realistic colour choices or to add some drama unusual colours. Paint in all your sections. It’s best to keep the colours of the side view different from the heads on view. To make your portrait stand out use black and silver sharpies/markers to outline.
Prepare the paint before the session and have the children paint their paper plate. You can use a brush but a sponge would create a really good effect. Allow the plate to completely dry. (A hairdryer can help speed up the process)
Have the children cut the tissue paper into strips and twist them together at one end. Be prepared to help them if they are having difficulty. Have them glue the tissue paper bunch to the bottom of the plate.
Ask the children to spread glue little by little across the bottom of the plate and sprinkle the beans on top of the glue. Encourage them to press down gently so they stick well.
For the fish coat the cardstock fish with a thin layer of glue. Have the kids place the yellow tissue paper all over the fish. Don’t worry if it overlaps the fish. You can go back and trim it later. Once the glue dries, add the googly eye.
To finish get the children to glue their fish onto their paper plate and let everything dry thoroughly.
Craft: Gliding Robot
- Print the robot template onto white cardstock.
- Colour your robot with markers, crayons, or colored pencils.
- Cut out your robot.
- Cut two 1.5 inch pieces off your straw. Tape them onto the back of your robot.
- Take a piece of string about 4 feet long and thread both ends through the two straw pieces so that you form a giant loop above your robot.
- Tie a pony bead onto each end of the string to keep the string from coming out of the straw pieces.
- Hang your gliding robot onto a doorknob or from the ceiling.
- Grab one bead in each hand and pull out and away from the robot. Watch it glide up!
Craft: Rock Monsters
Materials: Pebble, Acrylic paints, Medium sized and small paint brushes, Strong (or Super) Glue, Fine tipped black permanent marker pen(sharpie)
Paint Pebbles – Acrylic paints are great for painting on pebbles and really durable. Add 2 coats on each side of the pebbles (allowing drying time between coats) for a nice deep coloured shiny finish. A hair dryer will help with the drying process.
Add monster expression – This is where your fine marker pen comes in handy. You can use a paintbrush and paint if you have a super steady hand, but a pen makes it much easier. Draw or paint a monster expression on your pebbles remembering to leave some space for their eyes. Let your imagination run wild.
Add Googly Eyes – Add some googly eyes to give your rock monsters a little bit of character, but you could paint some eyes if you prefer.
Craft: Angry Birds
A craft activity that allows children to make their own set of Angry Bird characters using the templates. Children colour in characters and cut them out. Use pritt stick to glue together.
Craft: Monster Blow Painting
Materials: Watered down paint, food colouring or liquid water colours, A container for each colour of paint, A spoon for each colour of paint, Large sheets of paper, Straws – one for each child, Permanent markers.
If you are using regular washable paint you’ll need to water it down quite a bit. It needs to be able to run and flow across the page when you blow it, so don’t worry about adding too much water. You might want to add a few drops of food colouring to your watered down paint to make the colours really vibrant.
Start by drawing a few monster features (or other creature, or even people) in the middle of the page with the permanent markers. You need to use permanent markers as water based markers will run when the paint is added, so explain to the kids how to use them carefully and cover your work surface. Make sure you leave enough room around your drawing for the paint.
Then spoon a few drops of paint wherever you want the monster’s hair to be, and start blowing!
As you blow the paint swirls and mixes and runs off in all directions making fabulous crazy hair looking patterns!
Keep blowing, and adding more paint, and blowing, and blowing some more, and eventually you’ll end up with some crazy looking blow paint monsters!
Craft: Paper Plate Hot Air Balloons
Materials: Paper plate, Plastic cup, 2 lengths of string, sticky tape, decorations for the balloon (washi tape, stickers, foam shapes, scraps of fabric and feathers),
All you need to do is decorate your paper plate however you wish, using the decorations you have chosen. Then attach the string to opposite edges of the paper plate with sticky tape, then attach the other end of the string to your plastic cup to create the balloon’s basket.
Craft: Bottle Rockets
To build a homemade rocket ship you’ll need:
- A plastic 2-litre pop bottle
- empty and rinsed out
- Poster paint in various colours
- A cardboard box, cut into squares
- A toilet roll tube
- A narrower, thicker cardboard tube (such as a cling film or wrapping paper tube)
- Tin foil
- Coloured crepe paper
- A selection of coloured beads
- A marker pen
- A glue stick.
Cut completely through the bottle in a straight line about three-quarters of the way down from the cap. Next, draw a circle on one side of the bottle near the top using the marker pen. Carefully cut out this circle.
Take the pieces of cardboard box and mark out four matching fin shapes. Now draw two concentric circles on the cardboard, one slightly smaller than your discarded circle of bottle plastic and one slightly larger than it. You should have created a roughly 2cm thick ring which will form your rocket’s window frame.
Carefully cut out your fins and window frame. Next unravel your toilet roll tube and reshape it into a nose cone. Secure the cone over the bottle top with tape. Cut two small lengths of your thicker cardboard tube to form thrusters.
Wrap the nose cone in tin foil and tape it down. Do the same with the window frame. Paint the body of your rocket and your fins in colours of your choosing, and paint the thrusters black.
Using the glue stick, attach the window frame, fins and thrusters to your rocket body. Stick coloured beads to the rocket to create lights, and add any further decorations you want – such as go-faster stripes – using strips of tin foil.
Cut strips of red, yellow and orange crêpe paper and glue them into the ends of the thrusters to create a fiery trail as the rocket soars upwards.
Cut a pair of rings out of card and wrap them in wool. Continue until completely covered.
Hold the wrapped rings tightly while you carefully cut between the strings of wool
Take a long length of yarn and tie through the middle of the rings. Pull the rings apart to release your pompom
Pull a set of legs through the yarn around the middle on the front and back to make 4 legs.
Select a face and decorate to make your sheep unique.
Pop Up Dog
Materials: A4 sheets of white, blue, yellow, orange and red card stock, Scraps of white and black paper, Tacky Glue, Scissors and/or craft knife, Circle punches in 1 inch and 5/8 inch sizes, Ruler
1) Download the PDF template, open it, and follow the directions on the template to print on your card stock.
2) Score and cut out all the pieces as directed on the template. I use a ruler and the back of my craft knife* (not the sharp side) to score. You can also use a table knife to score. Keep the extra uncut pieces to make a card in opposite colours later!
3) Cut the white piece of card stock in half so that you have two pieces that are 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Fold them in half. You’ll use one for this card and have an extra to make another card later.
4) Glue the tongue to the ear piece. Note the writing is facing up on the ears and facing down on the tongue.
5) Glue the semicircle to the bottom of the blue piece, flush with the bottom edge. Note the text is face down on both pieces.
6) Feed the tongue through the slit from the back.
7) Put glue only on the top and sides of the text side of the head and center it flush against the top edge of the blue.
8) Punch two white 1 inch circles and two black 5/8 inch circles. Make eyes by gluing the black onto the white. Then glue the completed eyes on, being sure they are in a spot that is hidden by the ears when they are folded down.
9) Use a template piece to trace a nose on black paper with pencil. Cut it out and glue to the face.
10) Fold over the blue side flaps toward the back and crease them well.
11) Add glue to the back side of each flap, then glue to the front of the card you made in step 3. It’s easier to add the card to the back of the puppy instead of the other way round, but be sure you have the card opening on the correct side.
12) Open the card and fold over the yellow flap between the ears and glue it to the inside cover of the card.
13) Test the ear action! Pull the tongue down and watch the ears flip up! Push the tongue back inside and the ears can fold back down.
14) Using a gel pen or thin magic marker (not a permanent marker – those may bleed through your paper), add the word “PULL” to the lower part of the tongue that shows when the ears are laying down.
Craft: Zentangle Flowers
- Draw on the flower with a pencil
- Then paint the background with tempera, using two colours (white and another colour). Start from the white tempera, adding a drop of colour for every range of value.
- Complete the flower with different kind of tangle, drawn directly with a black marker.
Craft: Bird Feeders
What you need: bird seed, unflavoured gelatin, boiling water, large cookie cutters, straws cut into 2 inch pieces, large bowl, spoon, baking sheet, parchment or wax paper, string.
- Dissolve 2 tablespoons (or 2 individual packets) of gelatin in 2/3 cup of boiling water (adult help may be needed for this step). 2. When gelatin is completely dissolved, add 2 cups of bird seed. 3. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the seeds to soak up the gelatine mixture. Depending on how absorbent your seeds are, you may have some excess gelatine mixture–not to fret! It won’t matter one bit in the end.
- Place your cookie cutters onto a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet and carefully fill them with the bird seed mixture (this gives those developing motor skills a great workout!) Be sure to overfill them just a bit, because you’ll want the seeds to be nice and tight inside the cookie cutters.
- Cover the filled cookie cutters with another sheet of parchment or wax paper and press the seeds down firmly.
- Gently insert a straw segment into each shape in order to create a hole for the loop of string you’ll be adding later.
- Allow the bird seed cookies to dry for 3 or 4 hours (flipping them halfway through) before gently pushing them out of the cookie cutters and letting them finish drying overnight.
- In the morning, gently pluck out the straw segments.
- Add a loop of string, hang them outside.
Craft: Canvas Art
Materials: Canvas, Paint, Paint Brushes, 3m Tape
Simply press the tape down firmly, creating any pattern you desire.
Paint different colours in each section.
Wait for it to dry, peel your tape off and it’s ready to hang!
Craft: Pompom Hangers
Cut out 2 copies of the animal body shape that you want onto card putting them together. Wrap the wool around the bodies like you would for a normal pompom – leaving a V-Shape around the neck and head. Cut the wool loose and wrap a piece of thread tightly between the body shapes and tie in a knot.
Craft: Clay Hearts
Pre-prepare some clay hearts before the session. The children can work on some decorations that they can leave hanging up at church and some decorations that they can finish at home.
To make the air-drying clay/dough you will need one part PVA glue and two parts cornflour. We used a one cup measure of glue and two cups cornflour. Simply mix together and in a few minutes you should have moldable dough. Then you can roll out the dough and use some cookie cutters to stamp out some shapes.
You can use a pencil or skewer to make holes in your hearts, so you’ll be able to add a ribbon and hang them up.
You can use a dry paintbrush to sweep over the surface and remove any clay dough crumbs that you might have on the surface of your hearts. Then you can set your hearts on a flat surface such as a baking tray lined with baking parchment and leave them overnight to dry out.
Once they are dry the hardened clay dough is a wonderful surface to decorate, and it takes pencils and wax crayons really well. Or add some glitter glue for sparkles.
Add a ribbon or some thread and you’re ready to hang up your decorations.
Craft: Paper Plate Dinosaurs
Materials: Paper plates cut in half, PVA glue, Loose glitter, Googly eyes, Paintbrush, and stapler.
Use a paintbrush to cover the back of your paper plates with glue, sprinkle liberally with plenty of glitter and then hold up and shake the excess off. Glitter is very messy to work with, so this is best done outside over a large sheet of paper to catch the spilled glitter.
While the glitter is drying cut out the legs, heads and tails from the dinosaur templates and when the paper plate has dried staple the pieces on to create your dinosaurs. Stick on one googly eye each to finish.
Craft: Build a Monster
Print out the build-a-monster templates and have children cut out the body parts they want for their monster. They can have any combination – their monster could have 3 horns and 6 legs if they want.
Craft: Sharpie Mugs
Wash and Clean Your Mug. Remove all residue and oil from your mug that will prevent the paint from sticking well.
Plan Your Design and/or Create Your Stencils. You can make your own stencils if you don’t have any. E.g. You could draw some stars on sticky-backed foam sheets and cut them out. Alternatively you could cut out your initials.
Paint with Oil Based Pens – this is the key to create a mug where the design doesn’t wash off.
Since these paints work like pens, a fun way to create a cool effect is to paint with dots! We dotted our way around our stencils, keeping the dots closer together nearer the stencils edges.
Once the paint is dry, carefully remove the sticky back stencils.
If there is some sticker residue or some paint messes or misses, use a cotton swab and some nail polish remover to clean things up. You may want to use your pens again to make some final touch ups.
Bake your finished mugs by putting them in a cool oven and let the mugs warm up with the oven, and then cool down in the oven when they are finished baking. By allowing the mugs to heat and cool slowly, you can avoid your mugs cracking.
Colour or paint the animal.
Cut out the mask and eye holes: Be ready to offer assistance if any of the children are having difficulty cutting.
Strengthen the holes for the string. The pair of little circles on each side of the mask are the spots where you need to punch holes for attaching the string. Paper masks normally tear around these holes after a few uses. To reinforce these spots, put scotch tape over the marked holes and fold the tape towards the back of the mask.
Punch holes on the pair of marked circles and tie the ends of an elastic string on each hole.
Try on your animal mask. It should fit snugly but not too tight. Adjust the length of the string if necessary.
Lego Sculpture Competition
Have everyone get creative and build their own Lego creation. Give plenty of time for everyone to give it all they’ve got. I would say 30-45 minutes. This tends to be a very quiet activity because the kids really concentrate on their creations. At the end of the game award prizes for best sculpture. You can have different prize categories such as:
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