9 new ideas that’ll spark kids’ God-given creativity
all summer long.
Remember all those crafts you made as a child? Macaroni shells
painted gold. Plaster of Paris handprints. Egg carton jewelry
Those artistic endeavors became treasure — not because of how much
they cost — but because of what you invested in them — yourself!
Each child’s craft was unique because each child’s view of beauty
and God’s world was unique.
Craft time is more than merely a time-filler. Crafts — when done
well — allow kids to express themselves with hands-on activity.
Crafts can also provide a break for short attention spans,
reinforce a lesson, and serve as a take-home tool to interact with
The best crafts encourage individual expression. Since children’s
ministers understand that, crafts are almost always part of our
Christian education programs. It’s a wonder we don’t run out of
If there’s ever a time of year that a children’s minister can use
great craft ideas, it’s now! With vacation Bible school, day camps,
Sunday school, and other summer programs that stretch your
repertoire of crafts, Children’s Ministry Magazine knew you’d be
looking for crafts that have the right ingredients:
• low cost,
• low preparation, and
• lots of options for kids to be creative!
That’s what you’ll find in this special section of summer crafts.
Plus, we’ve included expert information on how to adapt crafts for
kids with special needs.
What You’ll Need: Poster board cut in half, tape, overhead
various craft materials, such as feathers, fabric, paper, beads,
yarn, or glitter, and
Kids will love making these fun self-portraits. When kids are
finished, hang the portraits in your hallways for engaging
decorations that parents will rush to see.
Tape a half-sheet of poster board to the wall. Place an overhead
projector across the room from the paper. Have a child stand
between the overhead projector and the paper so that his silhouette
falls perfectly on the paper. Use a marker to trace around the
Then write the child’s name on the back of the paper and give the
child the silhouette. The child can use craft materials to make the
silhouette a silhouette a sillyette.
GRASS SEED SAMSON
What you’ll need: one rinsed 1/2-pint milk carton for each child,
potting soil, grass seed, construction paper, fine-tipped markers,
and glue sticks.
Here’s a version of the Chia Pet planter! Only it’s a Chia
Give each child a ½-pint milk carton. Open the top of the milk
carton so the carton becomes an open cube. Have the children glue
construction paper around the carton to cover the milk logo. Then
help the children draw a Samson face (up to the forehead) on the
construction paper. The top of the carton is the hairline.
Fill each carton with potting soil about ½ inch from the top. Then
sprinkle grass seed on the soil and cover the seed with a thin
layer of soil.
Set the “Samsons” in a sunny windowsill and keep them well
After a few days, each Samson’s hair will begin to grow! Once it
gets a few inches long, kids can cut the “hair” and retell the
What you’ll need: potatoes, permanent markers, knife (adults only),
thick liquid temera point, small paintbrushes, pie tins, and poster
board cut in half.
This is a great way for kids to use natural ingredients to create
place mats for others, such as their families, your church, or a
Ahead of time, cut the potatoes in half. Draw a simple nature
design on each half, such as a tree or a leaf. Use an X-Acto knife
to carve around the design. The raised area will create the printed
image. This will work better if you have at least one potato stamp
for every two children so they can share.
Lay out the poster board and the potato stamps. Pour the paint into
the pie tins or paper plates. Then have children take turns with
• Brush paint onto the design area of a potato stamp.
• Press the stamp firmly onto the paper, being careful not to move
or drag it.
• Lift the stamp carefully and repeat the process an inch or two
away from the first stamp.
What you’ll need: sand, powdered tempera paint, glue, card stock,
small bowls, paintbrushes, water, and crayons.
Here’s a new way for kids to celebrate God’s creation.
For each sand color, pour ¼ cup sand and 1 tablespoon powdered
tempera paint into a small bowl or paper cup.
Have children follow these steps:
• Draw a picture with a crayon on a sheet of card stock.
• Use glue to “draw” over the lines on your drawing.
• Sprinkle colored sand on the glue.
• Allow picture to dry for 10 to 15 minutes before you shake off
the extra sand.
• To cover large areas of a picture, paint the areas with diluted
glue. Then sprinkle colored sand on the area.
What you’ll need: wooden spoon for each child, glue, foil, markers,
cotton balls, yard, fake fur, fabric, ribbon, and scissors.
These spoon puppets become great storytelling props for
Give each child a wooden spoon. You can even have kids bring these
from home to keep the costs down.
Tell kids to:
• Choose a person from the Bible and draw that person’s face on the
oval part of your spoon.
• Dress your person according to what he or she would’ve
Suggestions: Cotton balls or yarn can be used for beards or hair.
Fake fur and fabric work for clothing. And foil makes great weapons
Once the spoon puppets are made, have kids use them to retell Bible
Fairfield Colade, Tennessee
PAPER BEAD NECKLACE
What you’ll need: colorful magazines or catalogs, scissors, jewelry
cord, small craft beads, toothpicks, and glue.
This is a beautiful environment-friendly craft.
Have children follow these steps:
• Cut colorful magazine pages into 25 long triangles. These
triangles need to be 1 inch at the base and at least 8 inches
• With the most colorful side facing down, place the toothpick at
the base of the triangle.
• Roll the toothpick toward the point, wrapping the paper around
the toothpick as you roll.
• Add a dab of glue at the paper point and press against the rolled
paper. Once the glue has dried, remove the toothpick.
• When all the paper beads are dry, string them onto the jewelry
cord and place craft beads between the paper beads.
What you’ll need: several colors of polymer clay, wax paper,
rolling pin, knife (adults only), small cookie cutters, permanent
marker, pin back for each child, and a hot glue gun (adults
Children love squishing clay with their hands. Once they’ve
pounded, kneaded, rolled, and shaped this clay, they’ll have neat
clay pins to wear or give away.
Tell kids to:
• Choose two colors of clay.
• Knead the clay until soft.
• Flatten one color of clay into a rectangle.
• Place the clay between two sheets of wax paper and flatten with a
rolling pin. Roll until you have a rectangle that is 1/8 inch
• Follow the previous steps with the other color of clay.
• Peel off the wax paper and stack the rectangles on each
• Have an adult cut the layers into strips 3 inches long and 1/8
• Place four strips side by side with alternating colors facing up.
Repeat with four more strips, and place the second stack on top of
the first, creating a checkerboard pattern.
• Have an adult cut the stack into 1/8 inch thick slices.
• Place slices side by side to create a larger checkerboard.
• With a cookie cutter, cut the checkerboard piece into a
• Use a permanent marker to write your initials on the back of the
• To harden the clay, bake it according to the clay’s package
Once the clay is hardened and cool, help the kids hot glue a pin
back to the back of their design. Allow the glue to dry before
What you’ll need: 4×6 index cards, magazines, old greeting cards,
scissors, and glue sticks.
With kids on vacations this summer — and with sporadic church
attendance — this is a great craft to keep kids in touch with one
Have kids cut out of magazines words or phrases that have
friendship themes, such as “friends forever,” “best friends,”
“pal,” or “buddy.” Kids can also cut out words that make them think
of friends, such as “giggling,” “fun,” or “good times.” Have kids
glue the phrases on one side of each 4×6 card to create friendship
collage cards. Kids can make more than one card. Collect the cards
when they’re complete. When a child is absent, use the blank side
of the card to write a note and the child’s address. Attach a
postage stamp and drop the card in the mail.