Spend an afternoon with your little ones transforming ordinary paper plates and plastic utensils into entertaining craft projects.
Everything in this slideshow
Baby Bird Nest
Bring the outdoors inside by creating a cozy new home for these adorable pom-pom birds.
Make it: Cut a paper plate in half and staple the rims together (leaving the top of the "nest" open). After your kids paint it brown, help them glue shredded brown paper onto the front to add texture. Create the birds by gluing three blue pom-poms to the ends of Popsicle sticks. Add googly eyes and orange paper beaks for a little personality. Have your kids slide the ends of the Popsicle sticks between the plates so the baby birds can rest inside their new nest -- and even pop up when they get hungry!
Paper Plate Banjo
Indulge your kids' musical fantasies with this simple banjo made from paper plates and a few well-tuned rubber bands. Making music was never this much fun!
Make it: Stack two thick-weight paper plates and staple them together for durability. Let your kids paint the stacked plates their favorite colors and decorate them with stickers. Attach a paint stick to the back of the stacked plates and glue beads to the end as the pegs. Finally, add strings by stretching rubber bands around the stacked plates.
Pretty Paper Purse
This stylish paper purse is a fun addition to any little girl's closet -- and it's perfect for toting around small toys and crayons too.
Make it: Paint the underside of a sturdy paper plate green, let dry, then cut the plate in half. Staple the rims together with the green side facing out to create a pouch. Next, staple a ribbon onto the sides of the purse. To create the latch, cut out a rectangle of pink felt and glue it onto one side of the purse. Hang the felt over the pouch and glue on a pink button to weigh it down. For a stylish purse that really stays closed, add a little Velcro underneath.
Your child will love building an imaginative new home for her toy figurines out of a paper cup and a paper bowl.
Make it: Flip a colorful paper cup upside-down and cut out a small door. Draw windows and flowers, or let your child decorate the cup with stickers. Next, have her paint the underside of a paper bowl. Once the paint has dried, help her add white dot stickers to make it look like a mushroom. Tape the bottom of the cup inside the paper bowl and your child will be ready to move her toys into their new dwelling.
Whether they're Mom, Dad, the babysitter, or your kids' favorite cartoon heroes, these hand-drawn puppets are sure to provide hours of theatrical entertainment for the whole family.
Make it: Let your kids use their creativity to draw imaginative characters on the flat part of a paper plate. Cut out the images and tape them to the ends of plastic spoons. Then sit back and enjoy as the kids duck behind the sofa and put on a show with their new cast of spoon-puppet personalities.
Paper Cup Terrarium
Help your child discover his green thumb with this easy-to-make paper cup terrarium. His eyes will be wide with wonder as he watches his plant grow bigger every day.
Make it: Use markers to decorate a paper cup. Fill the cup with soil and place a small green plant inside. Give the plant a companion by adding a toy insect, a butterfly, or even a dinosaur on top of the soil. Cover the plant with a clear plastic cup and tape the two cups together. Place your new terrarium near a sunny window, add a little TLC, and track its growth together.
Finger Puppet Cup Doll
Bring a paper cup to life by letting your child's fingers act as the arms on this darling finger puppet doll.
Make it: Flip over a paper cup. Cut out armholes with small scissors, leaving enough room for little fingers. Let your child decorate the cup using markers and stickers. Add the head by drawing a face on a wooden bead and gluing it on top. Glue on a fluffy feather and some small pom-poms to make a silly hairstyle. Finally, create a pretty collar by cutting it from paper and gluing it just above the armholes. Create a whole family of paper cup dolls for even more finger puppet fun!
Paper Cup Owl
Making this wise old owl from a paper cup and a few pretty feathers is sure to be a hoot for your little ones.
Make it: Paint a paper cup brown and let it dry. Cut a heart and oval from brown felt for the head and belly. Cut a tiny triangle of pink felt for the beak. Flip the cup upside-down and glue the pieces in place. Attach round, white office stickers for eyes. For the ears, fold triangles of brown felt in half and adhere them to the top rim of the cup. Pick out a few fluffy feathers to glue around the cup and your new feathery friend will be ready to play.
Cotton Ball Cat
This super-soft, cuddly kitten is made from a paper cup and a few golf tees, plus oodles of cotton balls.
Make it: Cover a white cup with cotton balls, then help your child glue on sequin eyes and a cute button nose. Poke a hole in the bottom of the cup with a white chenille stem to create a tail. Turn the cup on its side, and add legs by gently poking four golf tees into the side of the cup. To create the ears, make small incisions in the cup. Cut out small squares of white felt, fold them diagonally, and pull them halfway through the incisions.
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