Making paper plate crafts with your toddler is an ideal way to spend quality time together and help your child learn creative skills he will use later on. It’s important to remember that toddlers are limited to what they can do themselves, so parent involvement is necessary. However, it is equally important to let him do as much of the project as he can himself. Don’t worry, it won’t look perfect but it should be his creation rather than yours. If you let your child try to use scissors, purchase a pair of plastic safety scissors. You may need to help him with glue and other cutting. To help keep him from getting frustrated, make as many of the preparations ahead of time so the focus can be on the project once you start.
Remember all those scribbles and strange shapes you made as a kid that you were so proud to hang on the refrigerator and around the house? Make some holiday decorations or other fun crafts with the paper plates. Let your toddler water paint with flavored Kool-Aid mix diluted with water. You can draw a holiday picture for him to paint or let him create freely. He can also crumble up some colored tissue to glue on or decorate the plates with stickers. Hang his creations around the house to show off his creative talent.
Puppets and Portraits
Although toddlers will need your help with the gluing and cutting, stick puppets are a fun project you can do together. Tape or glue a craft stick to the back of a paper plate. Decorate the front of the plate with silly faces or animal faces. Use construction paper, foam shapes or pompoms for face features and yarn for hair. Take it a step further and cut two paper plates in half for arms and legs glued to the sides and bottom of the paper plate; use fabric scraps or construction paper for clothing. To make family portrait puppets, cut out photos of family members and glue them to the center of a paper plate. Let your toddler add hair, ears and other features or decorate it any way he chooses. When the puppets are dry, put on a puppet show.
Write your child’s name in block letters on the paper plate and let him color or paint his name. You could also let him glue on pompoms, beans, colored noodles, rice or other small items. You will probably need to help him with the glue so it doesn’t get all over the carpet or in his hair. You could also have him make one for each letter of the alphabet, using a different item for each letter, and hang it on the wall as a border. Supervise this project, because he’s still at the age where he might put everything in his mouth and you don’t want him eating the glue or painting the table with it.
What kid doesn’t like driving mom crazy by making as much noise as possible? Let your toddler show off his musical talent by making paper plate maracas or noisemakers. Let him color or decorate the back of the paper plate, then fold the paper plate in half. Scoop up a handful of beans or rice and put them in the center of the plate. Glue the edges together and reinforce with tape around the edges to prevent escaping beans that could cause a choking hazard. If he finds a loose bean later, he just might decide to shove it up his nose or in his ear. Also, avoid using staples that could scratch or poke your child when he shakes the noisemaker. For a larger noisemaker, use two paper plates glued together and draw funny faces on the backs of both plates. Once the glue dries, shake your noisemakers and dance around the house!