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Easy craft projects for when you're babysitting the grandchildren

Oct 12, 2011, 4:10 p.m.

Easy craft projects for when you're babysitting the grandchildren

Babysitting the grandchildren can be a joy—as long as you keep them occupied. Rather than plopping them in front of yet another banal TV show, you can instead stir up their creativity with an easy craft project. You might already have some of the components you need lying around the house, while others are generally available at craft shops and dollar stores. Put down some protective paper, break out the supplies, shut off the TV, and let your imagination run wild.

Peppy puppets

The TV pales in comparison to a puppet show—but first you have to make the puppets. Paper bag puppets are an easy base, using the smaller bags that people once used to pack lunches. The rectangular bottom of the bag is the puppet’s face while the fold works as the puppet’s mouth once you put your hand inside. Transform the bags into dogs, cats, rats or people with markers and crayons. Add eyes, ears, whiskers and other accoutrements with construction paper cut-outs stuck on with craft glue.

Rollicking rocks

Rocks are an ideal material for crafts, mainly because they are generally free and easy to find. Start off your rock art project by embarking on a mini rock hunt to find smooth rocks that fit nicely in your palm. Rinse, dry, and let the creation begin. Decorate the rocks with paint pens, permanent marker or paint or even glue two or more rocks together to create animals and monsters. You can get even fancier with your rock art and glue on glitter, feathers, beads, and a pair of small buttons for eyeballs.

Egg-cellent insects

Don’t throw away those egg cartons; recycle them into egg carton insects. Achieve this buggy feat by carefully cutting out each egg pocket, turning it upside down, and adding the details. Poke six holes around the base of the egg pocket and insert a pipe cleaner in each to create the legs. Add each side of a bent pipe cleaner through two holes in the top to make antenna. Decorate the insect with paint, markers, crayons, and googly eyes if you have them.

Perky paper plates

Paper plates are even more versatile than their paper bag cousins when it comes to easy craft projects. The plate by itself works as a wall hanging with a decorated front, while it instantly transforms into two-sided ceiling hanging if you decorate both sides and run a string from the top. Glue on a wooden craft stick as a handle and you and your grandkids have a handheld fan or mask. Hold the fronts of two plates together and staple around the edges, leaving enough room to insert your hand into the bottom, and you’ve just created a paper plate puppet. True, its mouth will not move like the paper bag version, but with some paint, crayons or markers, it can be a colorful puppet nonetheless. Glue on construction paper cut-outs to create a giant nose, funky ears, or legs and antenna for insects.

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