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Kiddie Crafts: Paper cup creations

Filed Under: kids, Kiddie Crafts

paper cup crafts: maracas and baskets
I know, paper cups are bad, and I am bad if I use them. What if I reuse them? Can I redeem myself just a little?

If you've got paper cups kicking around, there are all sorts of ways that they can be re-purposed into cool Kiddie Crafts. Just this afternoon, I went to the pantry for some dried pasta and realized that there was only a very little bit left. I also came across some leftover party cups that I'd stashed away. What do you do with pasta and paper cups? Make maracas of course!

After the break I'll tell you how, share another paper cup craft that we tried, and point you to a few more that I think pass the kiddie craft test (simple, inexpensive, fun, and easily modified for different ages).

Making paper cup maracas(click thumbnails to view gallery)

MaterialsFill the cupsPut the second cup on topTape them togetherDecorate





Paper cup maracas
Debra tells us that music is key to raising imaginative children. I agree with her 100%. Providing children with the opportunity to explore music, particularly in an experimental, non-structured way, is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. Making their own instruments is a great way to encourage this.

You'll need two cups, tape and something to shake around inside. We used pasta and rice, but you could let your children scavenge the house or backyard finding other interesting materials. If you want to make a more traditional maraca, try using bits of seashell.

After you've gathered various things, spend some time together wondering what each filling will sound like. How will small grain rice differ from a large heavy pasta shell? What happens if they are mixed together? Test your hypothesis together and notice why things happen the way they do.

When your Kiddie Crafters have decided on their material of choice, simply fill one cup 3/4 full, place the other one on top, and tape them together. If you're using plain cups, they can paint them, adding glitter, stickers or other embellishments that make the instrument personal. Our cups already had a licensed character (something I swore I'd never buy!) because they were leftover from my three year old's birthday, but my boys still added foam animal and letter stickers.

Paper cup baskets
Any kind of crafted carrying case is a big hit at our house. They fill them, empty them, and re-fill them with all sorts of little treasures. If you have collector-type kids, these little paper cup baskets are a great craft.

You'll need the paper cups, scissors, a hole punch, and a pipe-cleaner. Here's how to make the baskets:
  1. Snip all the way around the cup, making each slit about one inch long with a 1/4 inch between them.
  2. Fold the pieces down so they fan out around the rim of the cup. If your child is old enough to use scissors, let them do the cutting. If they make a slit too long, you can just patch it with a piece of tape on the inside.
  3. Punch a hole on either side of the cup
  4. Thread one end of the pipe-cleaner through the hole and tie the end. Loop it around to the other side, making a handle.
  5. Decorate the basket. Leave the final touches up to the crafter. My boys left the cups as they were, but probably would have painted plain ones.
The white paper cup basket over at CraftBits is actually quite pretty. If you used a piece of wire or delicate ribbon instead of pipe-cleaner, I can imagine they would make a cute little gift basket. We used the same bright colored cups, so they looked sharp when paired with red and yellow pipe cleaner. You can check them out in the gallery.

Making paper cup baskets(click thumbnails to view gallery)

MaterialsCut slits in the cupFold down the flapsPunch holesAdd the handle


The paper cup maracas and baskets used up our extra cups, was a fun activity for the afternoon, and gave us some great new things to play with. If you still have cups leftover, there are no shortage of crafts that allow you to re-purpose them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Flower pot hanging
This is suggested as a Mother's Day craft, but I wouldn't put that limitation on it. I think it's perfect as a gift for any occasion, or simply as decoration in the house. Basically, you cut the cup in half and mount in onto a decorated paper plate. You'll stuff the cup with tissue or construction paper flowers, and hang it on the wall or from a door knob.

String phone
Paper cups make great ear-pieces for string phones. If you haven't shared this classic activity with your kids it's a fun backyard science experiment.

Mosaic cup
Even your littlest crafters can make this one. Tear pieces of colored construction paper, or color on plain paper, and tear it into pieces, then glue it to the cup. Kids could make an image in the mosaic or simply enjoy the colors. I think this would make a fun birthday party activity where the kids can make and use their own cups.

Ball in a cup game
This game will keep them entertained for hours, trying to land the tinfoil ball in the paper cup.

Well, I think these should easily use up any extra paper cups that you've accumulated from summer barbecues, picnics and parties. What should you do if you need a paper cup and don't have one handy? We've got you covered there too!

  • Elizabeth

    Great ideas! I love all the pictures too, that really helps me visualize the craft. Thanks.

    Reply
  • 1 Comments / 1 Pages
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