Teaching and learning

Low Cost Crafts: 7 Paper-Based Activities

How to keep kids entertained with this cheap resource.
June 23, 2017
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a light bulb with the letter p inside it

a black and white image of two hearts

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a black and white image of two houses



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There are a million and one ways to use paper in all its shapes and forms. Here, we’ve gathered our favourite ideas that are friendly for kids, and friendly on your wallet.

Pieces of red paper on an apple shaped paper plate.

1. Apple Craft

The activityToddler Apple Craft for Fine Motor Skills – by ABC Creative Learning

In a nutshell – We reckon it’s way more absorbing to rip and tear paper than to colour shapes with crayons. Or at least, it’s a nice alternative that will keep the little ones busy for a while, all while improving their fine motor skills.

What you need

  • Red, Green and Brown Paper
  • Paper Plate
  • Glue

Our tip? – Older kids may enjoy turning this craft into a puzzle by cutting out different shapes of paper.

Shark shaped paper craft.

2. Clothespin Shark

The activityClothespin Sharks by KiX

In a nutshell – An easy way to bring cut-outs to life with nothing more than a clothespin. You may need to assist kids with the hot glue part, but the fun they’ll have with this simple and interactive toy is definitely worth it.

What you need

  • Clothespin
  • Light Blue (or Grey), Orange and White Paper
  • Toothpick
  • Grey or Black Marker Pen
  • Scissors, Glue, Hot Glue

Our tip? – Kids can make different animals and learn all about the basics of the food chain.

Pictures of a paper house card.

3. Paperhouse Cards

The activityI Love My Family by Krokotak

In a nutshell – Bring the traditional house drawing activity to the next level. It’s also a great way to introduce kids to abstract thinking.

What you need

  • White Paper
  • Crayons
  • Scissors

Our tip? – Use it as a lovely little introduction to the craft of storytelling and come up with simple tales with a twist revealed after opening the cards.

Caterpillar made out of paper rings.

4. Paper Chain Caterpillar

The activityPaper Chain Caterpillar by DLTK Kids

In a nutshell – You might remember this craft from Christmas decorating time, but here you’re making cute bugs that fit the summery scenery better. This repetitive activity is not only engaging but also relaxing.

What you need

  • Paper in Two or Three Colours
  • Marker Pen
  • Wiggly Eyes (Optional)
  • Scissors, Glue

Our tip? – Turn it into a teamworking competition and show kids that the more of them participate in creating one bug, the faster it grows.

A kid spinning a paper circle on a string.

5. Paper Spinner

The activityDIY Paper Spinner for Endless Fun by Make and Takes

In a nutshell – With the crazy boom of fidget spinners as proof, we can definitely recommend this DIY version for smaller kids. They will be amazed at how their drawings change shape when they start to spin.

What you need

  • String
  • Cardboard and Paper Circles
  • Marker Pens or Crayons
  • Scissors, Glue
Colourful, tambourine made out of two paper plates.

6. Paper Plate Tambourines

The activityMake Paper Plate Tambourines by education.com

In a nutshell – Let your kids’ creativity run free by decorating a paper edition of one of the most classic instruments. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a musical prodigy in your setting?

What you need

  • Paper Plates
  • Dried Beans
  • Stapler
  • Marker Pens
  • Stickers, Glitter and Other Things to Decorate

Our tip? – Combine these with musical shakers and turn your nursery into a small orchestra for a day or two.

A pair of children scissors and colourful pieces of paper with shapes drawn on them.

7. Scissor Skills

The activityScissor Skills Crash Course by The Ot Toolbox

In a nutshell – Time for some serious fine motor skill development. Draw different shapes on pieces of paper and show children how to follow them with scissors. Start with simple lines and move on to more complex forms like squares.

What you need

  • Kid-friendly Scissors
  • Colourful Paper
  • Marker Pens

Our tip? – Check out this extensive article on how to teach preschoolers to use scissors properly.

The big ideas

download pdf
graphical user interface, text, application
Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.

Picture of a Guidance document
UK Nursery Covid-19 Response Group Recommendations

The full recommendations from a working group of over 70 nursery chains in the UK.

Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.

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