Updated: Jan 15, 2022
In 2021, I had an absolute pleasure of organising art & craft workshops for kids at the local international school. I had so much fun with 12 lovely kids age 4-7 and we made 11 awesome crafts featuring popular themes like Halloween, Sinterklaas and Christmas. In the last workshop, I showed the kids all the activities we've done and asked them what their favourite activities were. I thought I'd share them here in case you are looking for some ideas for your own craft workshops or maybe something to entertain the kids at an upcoming party.
The thing I learned about doing crafting with a large group of kids, especially if there's a significant age gap within the group, is to keep the activity as simple as possible. When you are 1 against 12 kids, you will go nuts if they all come at you asking for your help. Therefore I design these activities so that the older kids can follow instructions on their own and I still have the capacity to help the younger ones. Plenty of preparation is also the key to successful workshop. Some kids love to craft and some kids are just there because their parents sign them up (that's like me at tennis camp...). So there is also a gap in their enthusiasm. I find that the best craft activities are the ones they can have fun making and also playing together later. Because when they are not so enthusiastic about crafting, they would rush to finish the activity way before the time to go home. So it's nice if they can make something that they can play with. I love how proud they look when they create their own tangible toy. They don't always need to buy a toy, they can also make one!
#5 - Scratch Art
Let me just say, scratch art is ALWAYS a good idea. I don't know what it is. Is it the magical essence of rainbow colours that appear as you scratch the black layer off? But kids in my workshop went crazy over scratch art. They even wanted to take some sheets home so they can continue doing it at home.
The younger kids just enjoyed drawing on the scratch art pad, while the older ones would first cut shapes (like mountains and houses) and scratch in patterns later. If you have a tight budget you can always make your own scratch art pad by covering a sheet of paper with crayons and then painting it over with a black acrylic paint.
#4 - DIY Snow Globe
It is no brainer that the kids love Christmas. I also love the festive vibe. And making DIY Snow Globe was super fun. There was quite a bit of preparation I had to do (like save 12 yogurt lids...) but the kids were genuinely enthusiastic about the activity that it was all worth it. Kids enjoyed putting together the snow globe, decorating it and making the snow fall on the little snowman. Some kids wanted Father Christmas instead of a snowman, so that's something I should remember for next time.
For this workshop, we made spooky lanterns using a plastic cup and transparent paper. The handle is made with a pipe cleaner and the kids put through wooden beads and their name beads. I bought the LED candles from IKEA. Lanterns are just magical and kids were quite enthusiastic about making them. Some even took it to their trick-or-treating.
#2 - Acorn Bells
Making your own musical instrument is another great craft idea for this age group. In this workshop, we decorated the acorns that I collected and attached them to a stick with some bells using a pipe cleaner. I like this activity because it uses something I collected from nature. I try to use as much household recycling materials and natural objects in my crafts because I want to show kids that you don't always need to buy something to make something awesome. I brought in a portable speaker and we danced along to music with our new acorn bells. Fun to make, fun to play.
#1 - DIY Fishing Game
The craft activity that kids repeatedly said that they liked it is this DIY Fishing Game we made in our first lesson. A lot of the kids said that they still have what they made and play with it at home. Now that makes me happy. I went a little overboard with the preparation though with custom made bags for each child... But otherwise, this is such a simple game to make. And it doesn't have to be fish. I've also made a Little Bunny Foo Foo version and a Halloween monster version. All you need is some cardboard cut out into shapes, paper clips, a magnet, a popsicle stick or chopstick and a string. You attach the magnet on one side of the string and you tie the other end onto the popsicle stick. The paper clip needs to be attached to the cardboard shapes and you catch them with your 'fishing rod'. Super fun to make and super fun to play. No wonder kids and I both loved making this.
Activity that didn't go so well...
We had so much fun in every workshop but one workshop that almost ended up with tears was an abstract portrait workshop. Each child partnered up with another child (first drama) and they were each given a cardboard frame with a transparent sheet. One person needed to hold the frame in front of his/her face and the other needed to trace the face parts. The result was an abstract portrait of your activity partner. Don't get me wrong, the kids loved the part about tracing each other's face parts. What some kids (mostly girls) didn't find amusing was the result. They didn't like the abstract, non-realistic, version of themselves. So for those kids, I gave them a sheet of white paper so they can draw another portrait.