Child's Play: New Printing and Design Tools

Scientists the world over agree that encouraging the creative tendencies of children is not only helpful to their overall intelligence, but crucial to their mental development. There’s also a lot of fun to be had in playtime activities such as assembling blocks, drawing pictures, and playing on jungle gyms.

While such playtime activities are encouraged during childhood, they're generally expected to be given up by adulthood. But if childhood games can stimulate the brain of a young person, who’s to say they wouldn't work on people who’ve become set in their ways? Several of the world’s most prominent behavioral therapists have asked that very question.

Fine Line

Coloring books have been a staple of children’s playtime for over a century, and their popularity shows no signs of waning. A typical volume consists of vector-like black-and-white images, with color added by the user. Recently, this “childish” past time has seen an increase in popularity among adults as a calming activity for their increasingly stressful lives.

adult coloring book design
Image via The Atlantic.

In a recent piece for The Atlantic, writer Julie Beck argues that, although this appears to fall into the recent trend of adults' recreating childhood activities, coloring is in fact a form of art therapy. “There's something satisfying about seeing your thought and effort create a tangible, pretty thing at a reasonable, predictable pace,” says Beck. “This rarely happens in life.” Beck reports that the technique has proved useful for her in dealing with the pressures of everyday life, and believes it could for many others.

Baby’s First Design Kit

In an increasingly digitized world, it’s easy for both children and parents to look at modern technology as nothing more than an easy distraction for the little ones so that parents can steal a few moments for themselves. But this hasn’t stopped many innovators from using technological tools to teach children practical skills.

can-do children's products
Image via Mental Floss.

Khandu (pronounced “Can Do”) is a forthcoming game created by the Spanish design agency Seven Thinkers. The goal of the card game is to teach children how to think like designers, getting them to come up with and implement ideas. Although the game is currently only available through Seven Thinkers’ Kickstarter campaign, the creators are hoping to have it accepted as part of Pope Francis’s Scholas Occurentas program.

Repeating Patterns

No matter what one’s age, it’s important to have a creative outlet in one's life. The stories above show that age need not decide how one's creativity is expressed. Whether you're an eight-year-old or an eighty-year-old, you should feel free to take a little time out of each day to color the world your own way.

Autumn Activities for Kids

As the leaves begin to turn brown, and kids head back to school, it becomes clear that summer is over. But you can still help your kids to make the most of their after-school hours. Here are some creative projects specially designed to help you and your children get the most out of the fall season.

Pages and Petals

Your little ones may not have finished their summer reading list, but they’ll certainly be hitting the books now. One way to make sure those books aren’t left behind in lockers or desks is to personalize them. With a few household items, you and your kids can create these floral bookmarks.

floral bookmark
Image via PBS

Friend-finder

One of the most admirable traits of children is their ability to make friends easily. One classic schoolyard method is trading friendship bracelets. If your children are a bit too young for the complex embroidery of a traditional bracelet, you might want to try a simplified glow-worm bracelet. Just think, your children could have their own googly-eyed companions to follow them wherever they go.

glow-worm bracelet
Image via PBS

For the Birds

A typical autumn school day is a lot like a typical day for a bird. Birds fly off early to learn about the world, only to fly back to the nest for food and rest. With all the care you put into your own home, why not make a separate home—or even just a feeder—for your
feathered friends

bird feeder
Image via PBS

All of the above projects and more can be found on PBS Parents. Do you have any favorite fall crafts? Share them with us in the comments!

Summer Fun Activities

It’s that time again. With three months off from school, the kids have no intention of just sitting around. But in addition to all of the swimming, sand, and summer barbecues, they might actually want to spend some time with their parents. Thankfully, there are quite a few home-based activities parents can do with their kids before back-to-school shopping takes place.

Tiny Terrarium

Kids and trees are a winning combination. To kids, trees are an obstacle to climb, shade from the sun, and even mythical beasts that must be slain. No matter what a tree means to them, it’s natural for a child to want one of their very own. Now they can make one.

Using a simple twig, a common glass jar, and some colorful construction paper, you and your little one can create a tiny tree that will never wilt or wither. It’ll last through the summer, the winter, and all year long.

Magic Mini-Tents

Summer and camping go together like fire and marshmallows. But if you aren’t able to get the kids into the woods this season, you can still have fun showing them how to pitch these tiny tents.

With just some stock paper and a few coloring markers, your kids will create tents the right size to fit their favorite toys.

Eyes on the Prize

The older children get, the more curious they become. They want to observe and interact with the world around them. Don’t let distance come between the wonders of nature and your child’s imagination; let them see it for themselves with these homemade binoculars.

PBS-Parents-DIY-binoculars.jpg
(via PBS Parents)

These binoculars are made from yarn, toilet paper rolls, and duct tape. They might not have any lenses, but they’ll teach even the smallest nature-lover the beauty of watching the world around them.

For more summertime craft ideas, visit PBS Parents.

Crazy Cardboard Crafts for Kids

Have you ever had to watch after a child? If you have, then you know that even if you aren’t a parent, it’s a challenge to keep them occupied for very long. They seem to have unlimited supplies of energy, their small size allows them to get into areas you can’t, and the more of them you have around, the more exhausted you’ll be by the end of the day.

Fortunately for you, a child’s energy is matched only by their curiosity. It can be tempting to simply drop them in front of some electronic device or another to keep them distracted. But with a child’s developmental years being the most crucial, this is an opportunity for parents and guardians to help children channel their curiosity into creativity.

If you’re worried about not being able to afford the latest hot toys, don’t worry: here are a few craft projects that can be done with something you probably have all around the house. These projects will teach your children not only how to use their imaginations, but also how to make the most use out of discarded materials. All it takes is a little cardboard.

Ringing Endorsement

It’s easy for a kid to look at their parents’ shiny baubles and want to try them on. It makes them feel grown up and fancy. It also might be expensive, so a parent isn’t likely to just let a kid go through their jewelry box at their leisure. Luckily, there’s a way for kids to get fancy without you getting expensive. Try making cardboard rings.

All it takes is a collection of thin cardboard (cereal boxes will work just fine), scissors to cut them with, paint, brushes, a hot glue gun, and a marker. You and the kids can design them in whatever shapes come to mind, then show them off to everyone you know.

PBS-cardboard-rings.jpeg
(via PBS.org)

Tall Wall

Once you have kids, doesn’t it seem as if you’ve suddenly wound up with enough toilet paper rolls to reach the roof? Well, now you can do that by making your own stackers.

You can use the empty rolls from toilet paper or paper towels. The only supplies you’ll need are scissors, paint, and paintbrushes. Once again, the design is whatever your child can imagine. Paint the rolls as bright as you want and stack them as high as they can go. Just be sure not to let your kids try to climb it.

PBS-tall-wall.jpg
(via PBS.org)

Very Fine House

Rings and walls are nice, but what if your child is looking to build a home all their own? They might want to take a shot at building the cardboard neighborhood.

Once again, you’ll need cereal boxes and a hot glue gun. You’ll also need a pencil, paint, a ruler, string, and scissors. Now your children can actually build the houses they go past every day.

cardboard-houses.jpg
(image via Rudy and the Dodo)

Crazy Cardboard Crafts for Kids

Have you ever had to watch after a child? If you have, then you know that even if you aren’t a parent, it’s a challenge to keep them occupied for very long. They seem to have unlimited supplies of energy, their small size allows them to get into areas you can’t, and the more of them you have around, the more exhausted you’ll be by the end of the day.

Fortunately for you, a child’s energy is matched only by their curiosity. It can be tempting to simply drop them in front of some electronic device or another to keep them distracted. But with a child’s developmental years being the most crucial, this is an opportunity for parents and guardians to help children channel their curiosity into creativity.

If you’re worried about not being able to afford the latest hot toys, don’t worry: here are a few craft projects that can be done with something you probably have all around the house. These projects will teach your children not only how to use their imaginations, but also how to make the most use out of discarded materials. All it takes is a little cardboard.

Ringing Endorsement

It’s easy for a kid to look at their parents’ shiny baubles and want to try them on. It makes them feel grown up and fancy. It also might be expensive, so a parent isn’t likely to just let a kid go through their jewelry box at their leisure. Luckily, there’s a way for kids to get fancy without you getting expensive. Try making cardboard rings.

All it takes is a collection of thin cardboard (cereal boxes will work just fine), scissors to cut them with, paint, brushes, a hot glue gun, and a marker. You and the kids can design them in whatever shapes come to mind, then show them off to everyone you know.

PBS-cardboard-rings.jpeg
(via PBS.org)

Tall Wall

Once you have kids, doesn’t it seem as if you’ve suddenly wound up with enough toilet paper rolls to reach the roof? Well, now you can do that by making your own stackers.

You can use the empty rolls from toilet paper or paper towels. The only supplies you’ll need are scissors, paint, and paintbrushes. Once again, the design is whatever your child can imagine. Paint the rolls as bright as you want and stack them as high as they can go. Just be sure not to let your kids try to climb it.

Very Fine House

Rings and walls are nice, but what if your child is looking to build a home all their own? They might want to take a shot at building the cardboard neighborhood.

Once again, you’ll need cereal boxes and a hot glue gun. You’ll also need a pencil, paint, a ruler, string, and scissors. Now your children can actually build the houses they go past every day.

cardboard-houses.jpg
(image via Rudy and the Dodo)

5 Awesome and Easy Crafts Made with Printer Paper

19. March 2013 07:00 by Calvin Yu in Arts, Crafts & DIY Projects  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments

Decorating a home or apartment is no easy feat. If you’re just moving in, it takes a long time before you fill the empty spaces on the wall, top every table with a centerpiece, or decorate each room with its own unique flair. If you’re starting from scratch with a bare home, there’s a few ways you can go about livening it up:

  1. Hire an interior designer. If you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to decorate your own home, you can have a professional create the perfect ambiance in almost no time. While you can give the designer a budget to work within, this is a pricey option.
  2. Decorate yourself. A majority of people decide to decorate their homes themselves. Usually this entails hitting the most popular home décor stores (Target, Pier 1 Imports, Pottery Barn) and picking out the best selections that work together.
  3. Create it yourself. An option many people never even think of is making home decorations themselves. If you’ve ever been shopping and seen an awesome home décor piece and thought to yourself “I could make that” – the chances are you can!

Creating your own home accents is an extremely cost effective way of decorating your home, and once people find out you’re the designer you can expect the compliments to begin rolling in. A lot of people get stuck on the idea that maybe they’re not artistic enough to create their own home décor. The truth is, it can be pretty challenging and you do need an artistic knack to get started on your own unique decorations. However, if you know where to look, you can find thousands of incredible step-by-step tutorials online.

Below are our top five extremely cost-effective décor picks (from blogs throughout the web) that you can make at home with printer paper!

1) Paper Flowers

Paper FlowersThis super simple project uses the very bare bone minimum of tools. All you will need to make this project is the following:

  • Regular printer paper
  • A color printer stocked with color ink
  • Scissors
  • A hot glue gun

With the easy to follow guide, you can create as many flowers as you’d like in almost no time. Your friends will definitely be impressed that these flowers were made only with paper. Whether you put a few flowers in a shallow bowl as a centerpiece or add stems and put them in a vase, these simple decorations are worth trying out.

For the full article and tutorial, visit: Ellinee.com

2) Paper Garland

Paper GarlandPaper garland is an easy way to add a colorful decoration to your walls. The geometric cutouts pictured were created with a template, so all you need to do is print, cut, fold, and glue. If you’re going to hang the garland, you’ll also need sewing thread to connect the different ornaments. You can hang a few strands in a group, or create a few long strands and hang them to span overhead across two walls.

For the template and full article, visit: TheRedThreadBlog.com

3) Paper Lanterns

Paper LanternsYou may not be able to use regular printer paper to create this stunning lamp, but because the steps are so easy, buying the thicker parchment paper will be worth it. For this project, you won’t even need a color printer - you can simply use plain old black ink. After you print and cut out the lantern, roll it up and use a glue stick to keep it together. With the addition of a battery-powered tea light, you can place these lanterns around your home for a chic atmosphere.

For the cutout and full article, visit: DreamHomeDecorating.com

4) Paper Tree

Paper TreeIf you have a youngster at home, they will love helping you build this paper tree to paste along a wall. Trees symbolize life and growth, and are frequently associated with family as we all know the significance of family trees. This printable art piece is 62” tall and 28” wide. You can print out the different size leaves and make the tree as bushy or as bare as you’d like. This would be a great addition to a child’s room or playroom.

For the printable tree and full article, visit: CraftyMoods.com

5) Photo Collage

Photo Collage

A home isn’t really complete without photographs of friends and family hung around the house. Frequently, you’ll find photo collages going up alongside staircases with wedding photos, baby photos, travel photos, and more. In order to really feel that homey feeling, surround yourself with the people you love most. If you love creating photo albums and collages, purchasing a photo printer might be beneficial in the long run.

To view more photos of this collage, visit: BradyLou.com

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