It’s relatively easy to keep preschool and primary school age grandkids busy with simple art projects such as colouring and painting. But when your grandchildren reach the ages of 10-12, it becomes a greater challenge.
After all, they’re older now. They want a craft project that produces a real product—one they’ll want to use as a gift or to decorate their room. They want something cool!
Here’s a whole list of interesting, creative and even beautiful craft projects for those tweens. You might want to make up a sample before your grandson or granddaughter arrives so they’ll feel motivated to follow your example. Remember to choose quality materials and offer several options to the project. Older kids like to feel a bit of freedom as they create.
And most of all, enjoy your time with your “almost grown-up” grandchild.
Paper Plate Weaving: Using a sturdy paper plate, cut an uneven number of equal slits from the edge toward the center of the plate (not all the way through). Begin weaving with brightly-colored pieces of wool, changing colours as you wish. You can secure the end of the wool to the back of the plate with tape. A more complicated design is created when you cut notches around the edge of the plate, again, an uneven number, and then string wool around the plate in a sunflower pattern (see pictures here). When your weaving is done on the wool structure itself, the plate acts as a backdrop and a frame for hanging.
Make a Kaleidoscope
This project takes a bit of care and precision, but is actually quite easy to do. You’ll want to look at the pictures here and then proceed. You’ll need a paper towel roll, some multi-colored plastic beads, a cereal box, some foil, a piece of scrapbook paper or other heavy paper, some clear plastic (a fruit box works well,) a ruler and a glue gun. Then:
- Cut two circles of plastic the size of the end of your paper towel tube. Glue one of them on one end of the tube.
- Drop plastic colored beads to cover the bottom and then drop the second plastic piece on top of the beads.
- Place a ruler inside the tube and measure the distance from the plastic to the edge of the roll. Make three pieces of cardboard that length, cover them in foil and glue them into a triangle. When dry, place the triangle inside the paper towel roll.
You’re ready to hold the kaleidoscope up to the light and enjoy the show.
To make this nifty project you’ll need to copy a template shape first. Find it here. Then you simply color, cut and glue. But the finished product is a lesson in geometry, symmetry and more. With simple flex motions you create a moving “toy.” Flextangles are super cool and your grandkids will love them. Look here for step by step directions. The more complex the colour designs, the more interesting the flextangle patterns.
Stringart is done with pins or nails placed into heavy cardboard. Then, using string or wool, beautiful patterns are created. Start with free patterns to try this out – you can always invest in some of the more intricate patterns for your grandkids. They finished articles are quite stunning.
Lolly stick Miniature Furniture
Your tween is too old for dolls and dollhouses, but not too old to create miniatures for a collection or collectible dollhouse. You’ll be amazed how intriguing it can be to create miniature objects. From beds to tables to miniature dressers, you can create beautiful pieces using only lolly sticks, a glue gun and some paints.
Japanese Paper Dolls
If your tween loves origami, this may be the next project for you. Elegant and delicate, these dolls use wrapping paper and heavier cardboard for the heads. The finished product is something special.