Do you volunteer at classroom parties, Scout meetings, Sunday school or just plan epic birthday parties? Then read on, this article is for you.
Have you ever stressed about bringing a craft to an event? Were you hoping the Target dollar section has a craft kit for 25?! Well, read on to learn how you can quickly and easily make your own craft kit with some construction paper, scissors and a stapler! And after you make your craft kit, read my post with tips for the day of the event: 10 Tips For A Volunteering (Super) Mom – Crafting With A Group Of Kids
Choosing the Craft
#1: Use Construction Paper
I love construction paper crafts, especially for large groups like classroom events or scout meetings. Simple paper crafts with pre-cut shapes that the kids just glue together are my go-to. CraftingJeannie.com is FULL of construction paper crafts with free printable templates. I designed almost every craft so you can prepare it with these simple steps:
- print the craft template
- staple the template to a stack of construction paper
- cut out as many as 10 shapes at a time
- cut out all of the shapes you need quickly & easily
- bring the pre-cut shapes, glue sticks and markers (if needed) to the event
#2: Choose a Quick Craft
Choose one or two quick crafts. Each craft should only take between 5 and 10 minutes to make. I always make an example craft to take to the event which gives me a good estimate of how long it takes to make.
#3: Choose Crafts with Big Easy Shapes
This is something I always keep in mind when I’m designing a new craft for CraftingJeannie.com. Big, easy shapes make the craft easier for everyone; you and the kids. It’s very tedious to cut out small detailed shapes, especially if you need to cut enough for 20 or more kids. Quickly assess a template before you commit to making that craft. Just make sure it will be easy and age appropriate for the group.
#4: Skip the Paint
Unless you have your heart set on a particular project, skip the paint. Paint is messy and it takes time to dry. If you do decide on a paint project, here are a few tips:
- use a paper plate for the paint for each child – that way they don’t reach and spill
- squeeze only a small amount of paint for each child – you can always give them more
- use cut up sponges instead of paintbrushes – no brushes to cleanup
- make sure to use a throw-away tablecloth to control the mess
- have an adult supervising the paint craft
- have a plan for each child to wash-up afterwards – bucket of water, paper towels, wipes, etc.
- designate a place to put the craft while it dries
Preparing the Craft
#5: Staple, Staple, Staple!
Did you know, you can staple together 10 pieces of copy paper and cut out 10 shapes at a time?! That’s my SECRET to having all the pre-cut shapes ready in no time. It’s super fast and super easy. Stapling the paper is very important because it makes sure it doesn’t move as you cut. The more staples the better. Cardstock is the thickest so you may only be able to cut five sheets at a time.
Get a printable (or draw one) and then staple it to the colored sheets that you need. It’s really that simple. You cut out a shape one time and you’ll have up to 10 ready for the kids.
Extra Tip: While you’re cutting, if you cut off all of the parts that have staples, make sure to re-staple the sheets that are remaining. Whenever you’re cutting multiple sheets at a time, make sure they are always stapled together!
#6: Use Good Scissors
This one is simple, for all of this cutting, you should have a pair of really good scissors. They make life so much easier. I use a pair of stainless steel sewing scissors, and they are amazing!
#7: Use Craft hole Punchers
This is one of my favorite tricks because you’ll never have to cut out tiny shapes again! Use craft hole punchers, they are a life saver. The shape I use most is circles (for eyes). I have a large circle and a small circle. But they come in all different fun shapes and sizes like hearts, stars, I even have a cow! They are totally worth it if this is something you’ll be doing frequently.
#8: Trace the Computer Screen
Ok, this tip sounds a little crazy, BUT have you ever put paper up to the computer screen and traced an image?! If you find a craft you like, but it doesn’t come with a printable template, you can trace the craft onto paper and make your own template! AMAZING right?! You may need to adjust the zoom on your screen to get the size right. Once you have the shapes you need, just staple your drawing to a stack of construction paper and start cutting out the pieces.
This also works if you don’t have access to a printer! On CraftingJeannie.com I have tons of printable templates. If you don’t have printer, just open the PDF file on your screen and trace the shapes onto a piece of paper. Viola! Now you have a template without a printer. So Cool!!
#9: Print on Construction Paper
Here’s another printing tip, did you know you can print directly onto construction paper?! Just trim the construction paper to the 8×10 size using copy paper as a template (you should easily be able to trim multiple sheets at a time with your good scissors). And if you can adjust your printer settings to “draft” quality or a setting that uses less ink, that might be helpful as well. Construction paper is pretty notorious for absorbing liquid. Keep reading for why you might want to print on construction paper.
#10: Let the Kids Cut it Out
This goes with Tip #8 above and makes your life so much easier. If you’re working with kids that are old enough to cut, have them cut out their own craft pieces. You will have to trim the construction paper to fit into the printer/copier and then you can print or copy the template directly onto construction paper. Remember, you can trim multiple sheets of construction paper at a time. You will just need to print enough copies and you’re ready to go. Make sure each child will have a pair of scissors available at the event.
#11: Add Magnets
We all know that kids (and moms) like sticking artwork on the fridge. You can spice up any simple construction paper craft with self adhesive magnets. Just buy a pack and let the kids stick one or two on the back of their finished craft. The older elementary kids seem to really like this. Extra tip: Don’t forget to put the child’s name on the back of the craft.
#12: Don’t Try to be Perfect
This is a hard one for some of you, but try to remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to cut the shapes out perfectly. You shouldn’t expect the kids to glue the shapes perfectly. Kids love to make the crafts personal. It’s nice to have an example for them to follow, but let them make each craft their own.
Finally, just remember to keep it simple and have fun. You will Totally Rock this crafting event!
Now that you know how to prepare the crafts for your event, you should absolutely check out my tips for the day of the event: 10 Tips for the Volunteering (Super) Mom. The article includes tips like “Keeping the Kids Busy During Set-Up”, “Getting the Kids Attention”, “Activity/Craft Stations” and more!