Versatile and readily available, paper plates are an easy and fun source to turn to when the crafting mood strikes. Children of all ages can create paper plate crafts. Add in just a few more supplies and a bit of imagination and ideas for plate creations are endless. They can be cut, glued, stapled, folded, painted and turned into anything from art to hang on the wall to actual objects for play.
An especially easy and functional project is a tambourine. This requires two plates per child, bottle caps, a stapler, a hole punch, yarn, and paint. First, have each child paint the back of his or her plates. When the paint dries, put one plate a table and toss some bottle caps on it. Put the other plate on top of it so that the two insides meet. Staple all around, then use the hole punch to evenly punch holes around the perimeter. Let the child thread the yarn through the holes to jazz it up a bit. Tie off the yarn and the tambourine is ready to go.
Paper plate crafts can also be used for learning activities. Teach children to tell time with a paper plate clock. Each child will need one paper plate, a brad fastener, construction paper, and a marker or crayon. First, help the child write the numbers on the clock face, and make the marks to show the hours and minutes. Cut out "hands" from the construction paper, then pierce the ends of the hands and the center of the paper plate with the brad fastener. Fasten the hands and that's it - instant clock!
Paper plate crafts can be more elaborate and suitable for older children as well. Hand puppets are an excellent way to stimulate the imagination of an older child. One type of puppet can be made with two paper plates, an egg carton, paint, Easter grass, and a stapler. Cut one paper plate across the center of the plate, being careful not to cut all the way through. It should be a slit in the middle with about an inch of uncut plate on each side.
Next, cut out a section of egg carton that includes two "bubbles" to use for eyes. Leave a bit of an edge on them, and use the edge to staple them to the plate. Place this plate on another untouched plate, and staple all around the perimeter. Decorate by coloring or painting and when the child is ready, the plate is folded at the slit so the child's hand can slide in and the puppet is ready to go.
There are so many paper plate crafts that sometimes it's fun just to set out supplies and let the children make their own creation from scratch.