Time to practice the alphabet? Teach your child how to fashion the letters of his name with brightly colored chenille stems.
Make It: Write the letters of your child's name on a piece of paper. Show him how to form chenille stems into the shapes of the letters. Glue the letters onto a sign made from cardstock or foam that has holes punched at the top on each side.
Next, fold a white chenille stem in half to create a hanger. Cut assorted multicolor stems into 6-inch lengths and help your child wrap the pieces tightly around a pencil to form fuzzy "beads." Let him thread the beads onto the white stem, and help him twist each end of the hanger into the holes to complete the sign.
Twisted orange and brown chenille stems come together to make the magnificent mane on this friendly lion -- a must-have mask for a fun game of make-believe.
Make It: Paint the backside of a paper bowl yellow and let it dry. Use a hole puncher around the edge of the bowl to create holes for the orange and brown chenille stems. Fold each stem in half and thread one half through each hole. Twist to secure.
Help your kids wrap the chenille ends around a pencil to create tight curls. Feed multiple stems though each hole to give this lion a nice, thick mane. To make the face, cut or punch white and black paper circles for eyes and a brown triangle for a nose. Draw a cute mouth with a marker. Glue a paint stick to the back of the bowl and let it dry completely before the make-believe begins.
These beautiful butterflies don't start out the usual way as caterpillars -- they begin as flowers! Create this simple bouquet to display as a charming centerpiece.
Make It: Choose several artificial flowers with four petals each, or cut one petal off of a flower with five. Twist two green chenille stems together and fold down the top third. Place the flower inside the fold and wrap the chenille stem around the back of the flower. Separate the chenille stem ends at the top and curve them out to form the antennae.
Stick the chenille stems into clay or floral foam set inside a paper cup. To create a potlike rim on the cup, wrap brown chenille stems around the top and twist the ends together to secure. Cut off excess pieces with wire cutters.
Recycle an old plastic container by helping your kids construct this vibrant jellyfish with a few colorful chenille stems.
Make It: Let your kids create the tentacles by wrapping chenille stems around their fingers and pulling them out to create loose curls. When you've made enough, take a straight stem and fold the top inch of each tentacle around it. Once all the stems are secured, slide them tight and twist the ends of the straight stem together.
To hang the jellyfish, cut two holes in the center of a plastic bowl. Thread a long piece of string through the holes, securing it around the bundle of tentacles as shown and tying the ends together to hang.
It's super easy to turn plain store-bought headbands into authentic alien gear. These otherworldly creations are certain to keep the whole family laughing!
Make It: Attach white buttons to the ends of two black chenille stems. Pull the stem through one buttonhole and out the other, twisting at the back to secure. Repeat at each end to create four eyeballs. Have your child choose colorful stems and help her attach them onto the headband. Wind the ends of the colored stems around a pencil to create curly alien antennae.
Help your child build this miniature robot and watch as the new toy inspires hours of imaginative sci-fi adventures.
Make It: Paint a small raisin box gray or silver and let it dry. Fold two gray chenille stems in half and thread one through a hole punched in the top flap of the box. String on a small jingle bell in the center and thread it back down the hole. With the ends of the stem sticking out evenly on each side to create arms, glue the top flap closed.
To create legs, thread the remaining stem through holes in the bottom flap and glue it closed. Help your child wrap the stems around a pencil to curl them. Finish by decorating the face and body with googly eyes and craft foam. Create buttons by using a hole puncher on the foam.
This delightful notebook looks like a purse -- perfect for your child to take on the go.
Make It: Using colored paper or craft foam, cut a rectangle the same length as your child's notebook. Adhere it to the notebook to create a faux flap and add a cute button or sparkly gem. Decorate as desired. Let your child thread pretty beads onto two chenille stems and twist them onto the last spiral on each side of the notebook to make the straps.
Make it a game night with a classic version of ringtoss that your kids can create all by themselves.
Make It: Twist two colorful chenille stems together to make a circle (make sure they're wide enough to fit around a bottle). Repeat this process for as many rings as you need. Decorate empty bottles with numbers (they represent the points you can earn). Fill the bottles with water for stability and let the games begin.
Kids will love creating this adorable caterpillar from chenille stems and a variety of multicolor buttons.
Make It: Thread a chenille stem through one buttonhole and out through another, twisting in the middle to secure. Have the kids thread assorted buttons in their favorite colors and patterns onto the stem. On the final button, thread the stem back through another hole. To create the antennae, fold a stem in half and wrap it behind the front button. Trim and curl the stem as shown. Cut out a paper circle the size of the front button and glue it on to create the face. Don't forget to add googly eyes and draw a big smile!
This tropical lei is made from chenille stems, cookies, and cereal and is a fun accessory and a fabulous snack all in one.
Make It: Start bending together a few green chenille stems, stopping to try it over your child's head to determine the right length. Let your child string on colorful loop cereal and cookies with holes in the middle. Twist the stems' ends to secure the edibles. Be sure to smoothly bend in the wires to avoid accidental poking.