Spend an afternoon with your little ones transforming ordinary paper plates and plastic utensils into entertaining craft projects.
Paper plate 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.