CREATIVE: Craft for the Non-crafty parent

14 July 2017
Reading time4 minutes

We know that creativity is an essential part of play and growth for little ones, but for many parents, craft isn’t something that comes naturally. There’s no surge of glitter hormones and no sudden desire to scrapbook the minute the baby arrives! 

So, how do you give kids that little slice of self-expression and creative exploration, if you aren’t a crafty PARENT? 

The first step is to keep things simple and seriously lower your expectations, accepting that whatever you create will never look quite how you imagined. And that is totally fine. This is one situation where it is really all about the journey and not about the destination. The time you spend together creating something new is all that matters. 

If you like to have a reasonably organised house then you might dislike craft activities simply because of the mess they make. This can be solved by creating a ‘messy corner’ of the house. Cover an old kids’ table with a vinyl tablecloth (cover the floor too, if you like), and this becomes where all painting, gluing and creating happens. Grab some old shoe boxes and create some ‘bits-and-bobs’ drawers filled with pens, pencils, paper, bits of ribbon and stickers. All the mess is then contained to that one area of the house. 

If the thought of Pinterest makes you go cold, there is absolutely nothing wrong with heading down to the nearest craft shop and grabbing a few ready-made craft kits. They provide everything you need without you having to plan or design anything in your head.

3 simple craft projects

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Life size portraits

What you need: One large roll of paper (big enough to lie on), felt tip pens, any decorations you can find.


  1. Roll out the paper. 
  2. Take turns to lie on the paper whilst the other traces around your outline. 
  3. Then stand up and decorate the life-size drawing. You can colour in clothes and features, stick on string hair, and add pasta jewellery. 


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Nature collage

What you need: Coloured pieces of card, glue stick, coloured pencils.


  1. Take the card and glue sticks into the garden (or to the local park). 
  2. Gather sticks, leaves, and stick in a pattern to the card. 
  3. You can use coloured pencils to draw around the leaves, add patterns, or turn them into a picture.


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Tissue paper stained glass windows

What you need: Clear contact, different coloured tissue paper, torn into small shapes.


  1. Take a square of contact, remove the backing, place on a table sticky side up. 
  2. Stick the tissue paper onto the contact in different patterns, leaving a small space around the edge of the contact. 
  3. When happy with the design, stick the contact onto the window for the light to shine through the tissue paper.

BOOK WEEK: 19-25 August 2017

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For most non-crafty parents, Book Week will likely be a dark cloud looming on the school calendar. Here are a few great ideas for costumes that require zero craft skills. 

Foil crown

Crowns and royalty can be applied to many books and most themes. Simply cut a crown shape from cardboard, staple together at the back and then cover in aluminium foil. Feeling clever? Decorate with stickers that look like gems. 


The ‘go-to’ basic kids costume, a pirate can be easily rustled up using a stripy t-shirt, bandana on the head, an eye patch. If you are really stuck, the dollar store always has pirate accessories such as a hat or a telescope.  

Captain underpants

A cape, some giant undies over a pair of long pants. Done. 

Where’s Wally

Red and white striped t-shirt. Old black-rimmed glasses and a red and white bobble hat. 

Harry Potter/Hermione Granger

A black robe, a wand. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Charlie Bucket

Old clothes and a giant golden ticket made from cardboard. 


Khaki clothes, and an old wide-brimmed hat will do here. If you want to go all out and really nail the cliché, attach some corks to the hat with string. 

Animal costume

Animal costumes are some of the easiest to make because animals often have pronounced and noticeable features that are easy to recreate. Bug eyes? Must be a frog.
Pointy ears and whiskers? Must be a fox. Green woolly jumper and little black ears? Must be the Green Sheep! 


*Remember that Book Week is all about making literacy fun and visual. It is not a parent craft competition! Help your child choose a book and a character, provide them with the means to make the costume, support them, and take a photo at the end. They will get a lot more out of it if they do it themselves!


Written by

Angela Sutherland

After spending over 20 years on the editorial desks of some the leading magazine publishing houses of London and Sydney, Angela swapped the city frenzy for a Queensland sea change. Now owner and editor of Kids on the Coast and Kids in the City, she loves spending her days documenting and travelling the crazy road of family life alongside every mum and dad. 

When she’s not at her desk buried in magazine stories, you’ll often find her entrenched in a heated game of beach cricket, or being utterly outrun by her inventive seven-year-old and rambunctious threenager.


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