Crafts to Keep Kids Busy

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Just a week ago when I heard that schools had closed in Japan, I was flabbergasted and thought there is no way that can happen here in the United States. But now it appears that a quarantine of sorts is upon us and while chatting at the school bus stop this morning, my fellow parents were really panicking about what they were going to do with their kids for weeks on end, with all after-school activities closed and no kids’ entertainment venues open.

So today I put together this list of craft supplies — some you may already have in your craft cabinet and some might surprise you a bit. We’ve got the basics…a glue gun, paint, buttons…and some that are way more random like shaving cream and clothespins.

In this post, I’m highlighting three of the materials that might not be as obvious to you, in hopes that it inspires you to craft, and perhaps invent your own creative uses for these things.


Clothespins usually come in packs of a gazillion and seriously that’s okay! They are useful for so many things beyond hanging the sheets out to dry or closing up the pretzel bag. Here are some of my fave crafts to do with clothespins.

Clothespin dolls

clothespin fairy doll diy kids project craft

I made these cute, colorful ones for a story in Make It Yourself magazine—instructions are below!

What you’ll need:

  1. Color the  bottom “feet” 1/2” of the clothespin black.
  2. Make a pom-pom by wrapping yarn approximately thirty times around an object about 1 ½” inches wide. Cut the bundle from the skein, slip it off of the object, then cut and loosely tie a 6-inch piece of yarn around the bundle. 
  3. To get the clothespin in the middle of the pom-pom, wiggle it down through the middle top of the loops until it comes out the bottom. Tightly tie the center tie, and snip through all loops until a pom-pom is formed. Trim pompom to form a tutu shape.
  4. Wrap yarn around the clothespin just above the pom-pom, leaving about ½” of the tip of the clothespin exposed. Add a dot of glue to secure end.
  5. Fold felt in half and cut a 1”-long wide heart shape. Glue on the back of the wrapped yarn as wings. 
  6. Paint hair onto the wooden doll head and let dry. Draw eyes and mouth on, then glue bun bead to the back top of head. Push head onto the closed end of the clothespin.


Clothespin Family Magnets

clothespin people craft

Design each one to look like a member of the family and use them as an old-fashioned message center…no texting required! You can find the instructions here.

Clothespin Watermelon Fan

paper diy craft watermelon fan project kids

As we are nearing warmer weather, we gotta get our gear in gear! This accordion-folded fan uses a clothespin to keep it all together.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 sheets of thin pink scrapbook paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Green, pink and thin light green washi tape
  • Black marker
  • Pink clothespin
  1. Cut each piece of paper to 8” tall.
  2. Stripe the top edge with dark green washi tape and then a light green strip just below.
  3. Accordion fold the papers into about ½” segments. Glue stick the two ends together.
  4. Draw watermelon seeds on the pink paper.
  5. Clip the clothespin to the gathered side and wrap pink washi tape around it to secure.


Wood Blocks

I know this sounds like a random supply, but wood blocks are such a simple material and kids can get really excited and inventive when presented with a 3D solid wood shape. And…don’t feel left out! You can get in on the fun too with this fun decor DIY below!

Painted Blocks

diy painted wooden blocks for kids

You can paint them with abstract patterns on the blocks, with letters and numbers, windows and doors to create buildings, or paint little pictures on each to make story-telling blocks. (If you are looking for the basic cubes, those are also available.)

Painted Block Pendant Light

diy pendant lamp light for kids room

This painted wood block pendant lamp hangs in my kids’ room and I still love it as much as the day I made it! The instructions that are linked in this post are super easy.

Painted Box Car

box car craft

This craft is made with paper boxes, but imagine how sturdy and awesome it could be with a few tweaks when made with wood?

Cupcake Liners

Aside from the obvious baking use, cupcake liners are a great craft supply! They come in bright colors, adorable patterns, and they hold paint and marker pigments really well! Here are three projects that were featured in Better Homes and Gardens many years ago.

Award Ribbons

cupcake liner award ribbon craft project

We could all use a little encouragement these days, so go ahead and make award ribbons from cupcake liners, celebrating all of life’s little accomplishments. Stack your faves and trim the inner ones down to let the outer ones show. Use ribbon or paper or even strips of cupcake liners as the pieces that hang down. We used glue dots to hold it all together which keeps this craft super clean.

cupcake liner award ribbon craft

Frog Mask

cupcake liner frog mask craft

I have no memory of what possessed us to make this craft, but I love it! Follow the step-by-step photos here to turn you little one into your own living Kermit the Frog using cupcake liners!

cupcake liner frog stick mask diy craft

Cupcake Liner Butterflies

cupcake liner clothespin butterfly craft diy for kids

Cupcake liners AND clothespins! This craft wins the prize for using two of my favorites. Use paint or markers to add some color to the wings.

cupcake liner clothespin butterfly craft diy for kids

  1. Fold four cupcake liners in half, then in half again. For younger kids, draw a scalloped line with a pencil, then have them cut each baking cup into rounded edges.
  1. Dampen a foam paintbrush before dipping into watercolor pigments. Paint the edges of each wing using watercolor paint, or grab a marker and get coloring! You can use glitter and glue, markers, stickers, and more to make each butterfly unique.
  1. Overlap two wings so the scallops are staggered and don’t line up exactly. Glue the wings together and repeat with the remaining pair of wings. Hold the wings together at the inner folds using a clothespin. Cut a single piece of twine for antennae, and insert it into the clothespin above the wings. Bonus points if you color the clothespin, too!


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March 13, 2020| Activities, Animals, Early Elementary, Everyday Crafts, Family Bonding, Older Elementary, Preschool, Tween to Teen