7 ways to make things with paper

Updated: Jan 6

Here we go again, back for another lockdown stint. So we had a think about what exciting new skills the kids can learn this time around. This one’s all about nostalgia for… creating and crafting with paper.

I’ll confess to not being the craftiest of parents. But thinking about what creations my son and I could make from paper, suddenly had me reminiscing about cutting out paper Chinese lanterns, building paper aeroplanes, compiling a scrapbook, creating and decorating Christmas cards, folding paper fans, and more.

We’ve scoured the web to find the best paper-making ideas and simple craft guides to get you started.

1. Make a paper plane

Before you build decide whether you want to use origami paper or to decorate it yourself. You can find beautiful origami paper plane creations (and papers) in the book ‘How to make paper planes and other flying objects’.

What makes paper planes so brilliant is that they can be simple enough for a toddler to make (with a guiding hand) and complex enough to baffle even adults. Whatever the skill level, the first step to making a paper plane is always to fold a rectangular sheet of paper in half. From there, you can keep it simple with a few extra folds to get it flying, or you can really go all-out and try building The Harrier, The Galaxy Fighter, The Harrier. Check out this very popular YouTube video showcasing five ways to make the best paper aeroplanes.

And if you really go crazy making planes, you can also create a mobile or ceiling decoration from them.

2. Paper Chinese lanterns

Surely you remember making paper Chinese lanterns as a child? They’re so simple, yet highly satisfying. All you need is a piece of A4 card, a pair of scissors and a stapler (or sticky tape is a good alternative). Then just cut a strip off and set aside for the lantern handle. Next folder the paper in half, length ways, cut long sections into the paper, open it up and staple it together to form a lantern. Staple or stick the handle on top, and that’s it. If you make enough, you can hang them up to decorate the ceiling in your child’s bedroom. Just remember to do any drawing or painting decoration before the cutting and stapling starts, it’s a bit fiddly afterwards. We love this very simple and easy to follow video showing how to make paper Chinese lanterns.

If older children are feeling more adventurous, check out this beauty:

3. Scrapbook

Remember the heady days of scrapbooking your favourite pop stars? It might seem a

long time ago (it is for us!) but some things never change. Everyone needs a secret place to compile those treasured pictures. And for the younger ones, it might be endless drawing and clippings of their favourite T-Rex or their beloved TV character. It could also be a scrapbook album of the family, pets or friends. The possibilities are endless. All you’ll need is a A4 or bigger sized scrap book, some scissors and some glue or sticky tape. Paperchase has a whole host of great ideas to fire up kids’ scrapbooking imaginations.

4. Paperchains

There’s something very mindful about making paper chains, and it’s a really simple craft that kids of all ages can do – making them as simple or sophisticated as you want. For simple paper chains with small children, why not make a paperchain caterpillar together? Penguin has a couldn’t-be-simpler ten-step guide to creating a Very Hungry Caterpillar paperchain:

And for something more sophisticated, have a peek at mykidstime.com – no.2 on their list of 18 easy paper crafts for kids shows a beautiful wreath of love heart paper chains.

5. Paper fans

Paper fans are great fun to make and something that preschoolers can get involved with. You need some coloured paper, some sticky tape and glue. It’s very quick to build and is excellent practice for those fine motor skills.

And the fun doesn’t stop there, you can add sparkles, ribbons and tiny gems to the sides of the fan once it’s built.

6. Cards for all occasions

There are so many cards available for all occasions, it can be easy to forget that often the most well-received ones are those that are homemade. And many children, of all ages, love to make a card for birthdays, Christmas or just to say thank you. From the most simple of thank yous to a truly magnificent card bursting with birthday wishes, we defy you not to find something to create from this board of ideas.

7. Origami

The possibilities are truly endless with origami – you can create and craft almost

anything. It can also be as simple or as sophisticated as you wish. At Christmas time, kids can make an origami Christmas tree as a decoration – here’s an easy DIY guide

Or a beautiful paper snowflake hanging on the tree is a sight to behold. Here’s how to make them:

For those just starting out, a classic origami paper chain of people always delights.

Did you know that butterflies, frogs, superheroes, egg cups, garlands and bookmarks can all be made using origami techniques. Check out Momooze for 35+ fabulous origami ideas for kids to make.

For more ideas of learning new things in lockdown or actually anytime you want to help your children have fun while gaining new skills, check out our Learning in lockdown ideas hub.

Life skills for kids you can hack at home

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