When it comes to crafting with kids, there’s one magical material that always comes through: paper. Whether it’s construction paper, computer paper, or yesterday’s newspaper, your art supply drawer isn’t complete without this particular DIY ingredient. That’s why we’ve gathered up 35 crafts that spotlight paper in a big way, from paper painting to garlands and festive hats.
Classic Plate Pumpkin
Kids can get artsy with negative space. And, of course, fall leaves. Okay, so you’re not really making art out of leaves. Your child is actually making art out of the absence of the leaves. Of course, if your creative kid wants to keep the leaves she’ll remove from her negative space painting, she can always collage them onto another piece of paper or hang them together with yarn to make a garland. Get the full instructions from Mini Monets and Mommies.
photo: courtesy Mini Monets and Mommies
This cardboard airplane is a simple way to get your budding aviators up and flying. Let them decorate it with markers, and then the construction is simple. Head over to Hands On As We Grow for details.
Finger Puppets from Wee Gallery
How cute are these finger puppets from Wee Gallery? Not only are the designs adorable, but the hardest part will be cutting them all out after the kids color to their heart's content. Which means this is an easy one! Get the tutorial here.
Paper Pig Painting
Set out enough materials so each kid can paint their own pig! It's very easy, and you probably already have everything you need. We love the easy tutorial from Oh Creative Day. Click here for the tutorial.
A 3D rainbow is a perfect and easy St. Patrick's craft. Creative mama Arena of The Nerd’s Wife provides a tutorial even a preschooler can master. Got a kid who likes to mix it up? Tell them to arrange the strips of paper in their own rainbow form. Get the low-down from The Nerd’s Wife.
Under the Sea
If your kids are fans of The Little Mermaid, they’ll have a blast making this adorable origami from Pink Stripey Socks. Pop the movie on in the background while you make them, and you’ve got a great afternoon in store. Click here to get the step-by-step instructions.
Make a colorful bouquet that'll never wilt, all with a few simple supplies: eye droppers, food coloring, paper napkins and plate and pipe cleaners. We especially love the look when neon colors are used. Get the full tutorial here.
Who says your crafty kid needs a brush to paint? This paper art activity celebrates spring with a paint print and a fringe of green, green, green grass. Learn how to make these oh-so-cute tulips with Growing Up Gabel’s easy to follow how-to.
Paper Plate Dragons
Take to the skies when you engineer flying dragons. To complete this simple project, you need paper plates, paints or markers and a downloadable template designed by pinkstripeysocks.com. Print, cut, color, play! Like dragons? Check out these other dragon crafts you can make.
We’re obsessed with these transforming ninja stars from What Do We Do All Day?, and chances are your kids will feel the same way. You’ll first make eight parallelograms into a wheel, then push and pull on the sides to turn it into a star. Click here to get all the details, plus video instructions. Like origami? We've got more perfect origami for kids right here.
If you’ve got a budding bookworm in your family, you’ve got to make this adorable project from Easy Peasy and Fun. There’s lots of room for creativity with these since you can add eyes, teeth, horns ... the sky’s the limit. To get the instructions, click here.
Fireplace Paper Bag
This warm fireplace from Crafts by Amanda is a homey addition to a dollhouse or a kid's room to make them feel like real grownups (without the fire hazard, of course!). It will be fun for the little ones to search out sticks in the woods or at your local park for their very own mini fire place! Thanks to Crafts by Amanda for this awesome idea!
Holiday Card Bookmarks
Upcycle this year's holiday cards, turning them into this year's crafty presents! Follow the directions from Hands On As We Grow and learn how to make these artfully amazing bookmarks. Keep a few of your kiddo's creations for yourself or give them out as holiday gifts.
Get creative and mix things up with this Picasso-inspired collage. Your kiddo can create the perfect plump pumpkin, and then cut it into puzzle-type pieces. Place the rearranged jack o' lantern on a larger piece of paper, creating a cool collage that looks entirely artsy. Get more artsy, spooky paper ideas for Halloween here.
These crafty cardboard and paper bats from Buggy and Buddy are 3D cuties that can hang almost anywhere. Decorate a party table centerpiece with these winged creatures or turn this Halloween craft into a an imaginative accent to your fall foliage or floral arrangement.
File this under “coolest idea ever”: origami you can wear! These modular bracelets from Paper Kawaii are so much fun to make and can be made in any color combination or size your little ones desire. Click here to see the video tutorial. And if you like origami, check out these awesome origami projects for kids.
Make sweet sheep with paint, paper and a few of your child’s other favorite art materials. This spring-time craft is perfect for preschoolers. And bonus, it’s easy to adapt to your toddler or grade schooler. Get the details on how to get artsy with DIY stamping from Buggy and Buddy.
Hop to this hat craft that you can make any time of year (not just Easter!). Directions from our friend Alpha Mom call for scissors, one pink marker, and one paper plate. The site offers other great ideas for paper plate hats like decorative crowns and heart hats so check it out. For more great simple and fun hat crafts click here.
Dragon D Craft
Educate your preschoolers with this Dragon D craft. Designed by Allison at notimeforflahshcards.com, it’s as simple as A-B-C-D to make!
Giant Paper Airplane
We love this jumbo-sized paper airplane the crafty mom behind Fireflies & Mudpies made for only $1! Have the kids decorate the wings before heading outside for an afternoon of flight lessons. See these fierce flyers in action, and learn to make your own here.
Simple Apple Tree Craft
This craft involves a little bit of twist and a little bit of curl. And remember there are many fruits out there that you can jazz the branches up with. Maybe add a bird or a squirrel or two! Check out Creative Jewish Mom for the full low down on how to twist, curl, and create this fun paper bag craft.
For more paper bag crafts click here.
Medieval Crown Craft
This craft from First Palette is fit for the pint-sized royalty in your life. With construction paper, crepe paper, and as much sequin bling as you can find, you'll have a new addition for the dress-up bin. Head here for the full instructions.
For more great paper hat crafts click here.
Paper Doll Chain Ballerinas
Paper doll chains are a pretty classic paper craft and we think this one from Mer Mag has a particularly irresistible charm. It's perfect for your aspiring prima ballerina's room decor or next birthday party. Learn more here.
Props to Handmade Charlotte, who came up with this super cute and easy idea for critter-inspired masks. All you need is repurposed paper bags, sharpies, and some imagination to get a house full of wild animals. Click here for all the inspiration you need.
For more easy masks that'll transform your day, click here.
Bright Cat Garland
This one goes out to all the itty bitty kitty lovers out there. Thanks to A Subtle Revelry, you can whip up a DIY garland that's totally cat-tastic. The shapes and gluing are pretty simple and you can customize colors and whiskers too. Find the how-to here. For more easy garland ideas, click here.
Crumpled Paper Art
Homemade Harvest Herb Paper
Okay, so this craft is less crafting-with-paper and more make-your-own-paper. It’s an educational combo of art, science, and design and a great way to teach the littles about where paper comes from. Head here to Babble Dabble Do for step-by-step instructions for all kinds of homemade paper.
For 9 more dinosaur activities for kids, click here.
Your budding architects will get a kick out of creating their own paper town. After some adult prep (for the x-acto knife steps), this turns into a paper coloring and gluing activity that’s sure to entertain for an afternoon. Snag the free house template at Babble Dabble Do here.
You know those cootie catchers you couldn’t get enough of when you were a kid? They’ve gotten a shark twist from Easy Peasy and Fun. Get the kids prepped for beginning origami and then get the template and instructions here.
Newspaper Sun Hats
Your teatime will be extra stylish with a DIY newspaper hat. This is a great way to use up old newspapers–and your little miss can go wild with whatever flowery, feathery toppers she wants. Find out more here.
For more fun and easy hat craft ideas for kids, click here.
Dragon Marionette Puppet
This idea from Create in the Chaos is one of those deceptively easy crafts. It only needs a few materials, there’s a free printable involved, and we’re willing to bet that your kid will be glad to color away. Get everything you need here.
Kirigami Water Blossoms
This idea from Babble Dabble Do is one part science lesson, one part paper project, and totally amazing. It involves paper flowers that expand in water–mimicking the real-life natural phenomenon. Click here for the full instructions.
Feature photo: iStock