Boing! Boing! Bouncing Characters!

Hello and welcome to The Kids Niche once again! 🙂 Today we’re going to put a little bounce in your step! Or maybe a little bounce into some fun characters that you make yourself. Ready, set…let’s go!

You will need some strips of paper…approximately 1″ wide and at least 7″ long, but they could be a little different from that and still work. Construction paper or scrapbook paper works great. I used some paper that was printed on both sides, but that isn’t necessary. Then you’ll need some scraps of paper, glue or double-sided tape, markers, scissors and a pencil.

Begin with the 2 strips of paper.

Put a small amount of glue or double-sided tape on the bottom edge of one strip.

Place the second strip at a right angle to the first one on top of the tape or glue.

Now you will fold the strips of paper across each other…one at a time…keeping them straight to the corner.

Continue folding the strips until you come to the end of the strips.

This is a side view of what it should look like.

Here we are at the end of the strips.

Fold the last bits over and glue or tape in place.

Another side view…this is the part that makes the bounce. It’s rather like an accordion.

Now let’s make the character’s face. Start by cutting out a circle from your scraps of paper. I used a very small cup to trace around.

Draw a silly face on the circle.

Put some glue or double-sided tape on the top of the accordion piece.

And stick the circle on top.

Put your bouncing character on the tabletop and press it with your finger. It will bounce up and down. 🙂

I also made a bouncing cat by folding 2 more strips of paper together. I cut out an orange circle and 2 orange triangles.

Draw a cat’s face on the circle, color in a bit of the ears and glue or tape it together.

Tape it onto the bouncing part you made and you’re ready to play with your bouncing friends!

I hope you’ll have fun bouncing these guys all over the house! 😉

Making Your Own Paper Surprise Boxes

The other day I opened up a box of cream cheese and I noticed that if I opened it up completely and laid it flat that I could use it for a pattern to make another paper box. 🙂 So that’s what I want to share with you today. The next time you buy cream cheese, save the box!

I used a piece of cardstock for making my box. Lay your pattern on the piece of cardstock. My pattern box fit just right in one direction on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of cardstock.

Trace around the outside of the pattern box using a pencil.

Cut it out along the line you just drew. Erase any pencil marks that you can still see after you finish cutting.

Using the pattern box as a guide, make a fold on your box every place the pattern has a fold. It’s very helpful to lay a ruler across the paper in the place you want the fold to be. This will give you an edge to press against and keep the fold straight.

I made all my folds that go in the same directions first.

Then turn your box and make all the folds in the other direction. For a lot of the folds, you can see easily where the fold should be and use the edges for a guide for your ruler. One place that there wasn’t an easy mark was the part on the top of the box that folds down inside the box when it’s closed. I laid the pattern back on top of my box, bent the pattern up and made 2 small marks where the fold needed to be.

Now all the folds have been put in our box and it’s time to put it together!

Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself! 😉 Before you glue/tape the box together, turn the box over and decorate the outside.

Since St. Patrick’s Day is in March, you might like to make your box for that holiday.

NOW to put it together! 😉 Fold the box up and put a little glue or double sided tape on the small tabs that fold inside the front of the box.

Do the same for the back side…put glue or tape on the small tabs that fit inside the box.

Close the top of the box and stick the front tab inside. Great job! You’ve made your first paper box! 🙂

Don’t forget to hide something fun inside the box before you share it with that special person! These could be used for any holiday or special occasion that comes along. Just decorate your box to fit the occasion. And maybe even hide the box to be found at the end of a treasure hunt! 🙂

I hope you will have fun making your own surprise boxes! 🙂

Making a Melting Snowman

Today is the last day of February! Who is ready for Spring?! 🙂 To celebrate that winter will (hopefully) be leaving us soon, we made a melting snowman!

You will need some shaving cream (I used Barbasol), some Elmer’s glue, 2 big wiggly eyes, a piece of cardstock (a darker color shows up the best), some brown or black pipe cleaners, 3 small black pom poms or buttons and some colored paper. (You can make the snowman parts all out of colored paper if you’d like to.) You will need a bowl and spoon for mixing and a disposable bowl and spoon works best for easy cleanup.

Mix 1/2 Cup of shaving cream and 1/8 Cup of Elmer’s glue in the disposable bowl.

I suggest you wash your measuring cups right away to prevent the glue from drying in them. After you’ve mixed the shaving cream and glue together, spoon it out onto your piece of cardstock.

Spread the mixture using the back of the spoon until you have the shape you want for your melted snowman.

I cut 2 brown pipe cleaners in half and wrapped one half-piece around another to make some stick arms for the snowman. You can also cut some arms out of paper instead.

Stick the arms onto the melted snowman. I started out with my arms too high and I moved them down a little farther.

Add 2 wiggly eyes, some black pom poms or buttons and an orange carrot nose and a black hat cut from paper.

I cut a thin squiggly line from black paper for the snowman’s mouth.

Allow your snowman to dry for a couple of hours. It will still be puffy and soft to the touch but not sticky. And there you are! The last of the snowmen have melted on this last day of February! (Keeping my fingers crossed that we are done with snow, but we might not get that lucky!) 🙂

Simple Handmade Valentine

It’s February and that means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Here’s a simple but fun Valentine that your kids can enjoy making. You can make it as a Valentine card to give to that special someone or let it be a decoration to brighten up your house for Valentine’s Day.

You will need some construction paper, a pencil, glue, little pom poms and a marker or two.

I chose to use red paper and white pom poms, but you could use pink or white paper with red, pink or white pom poms. Go with what you have on hand or can find easily at a store. Begin by drawing a heart shape on the paper. I used half of a piece of construction paper and I also traced around a heart shaped cookie cutter.

If you would like to write a message on your heart, do it now.

Put a line of glue all around the outline of the heart.

Place the little pom poms on the glue and press them down a little bit.

Keep placing the pom poms on the line of glue…

…until you have filled the whole line with pom poms.

That’s all there is to it! You’ve made a cute Valentine! 🙂 You can decorate the rest of the paper if you’d like to or leave it as it is. Have fun making your own handmade Valentine! 🙂

Valentine’s Day is Coming!

Hi everyone! 🙂 Today is January 25th and Valentine’s Day is just about 3 weeks away. So I want to start sharing a few ideas to make your Valentine’s Day more fun. 🙂 Today we’re going to make a simple Valentine’s card that adds a little something extra to it. This would be great for your kids to make at home for those in-school Valentine’s Day parties.

This card doesn’t need any fancy supplies. You will need some construction paper, scissors, markers, a single hole punch and some new pencils.

I discovered through a bit of trial and error, that making a heart that is a little bit bigger makes this card work better. I started out using a cookie cutter to trace around for making a heart, but it wasn’t really big enough to insert the pencil without tearing the paper. Let’s get started! 🙂

Start by folding one end of a piece of construction paper over about 3 1/2 to 4″.

Cutting on the folded edge, cut out the shape of half of a heart. Remember, make it a fairly large heart.

Open your heart and lay it flat on the table.

Using the hole punch, make 2 holes in similar areas of the heart as in the following picture. Don’t get too close to either edge of the heart or it’s easy for the hole to tear out.

Check to see if the holes are big enough for the new pencil to fit through. If they aren’t big enough, you can make them a little wider with the hold punch by sliding it over just a tiny bit and punching it again.

Next, decorate your Valentine heart. 🙂 And you might want to sign your name on the backside.

Slide the pencil through the 2 holes and your Valentine is ready to share! 🙂

You might be able to find some really cute Valentine pencils at a nearby store. I didn’t have any right now and we just had another snow storm so I’m not planning to be at a store any time soon! 😉 I hope you will have fun making your own happy Valentines to share with others this Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Yarn Gnomes

I had fun today making an adorable yarn gnome!

For this little cutie, you will need white yarn, colored yarn, scissors, glue (or glue gun), 1 small round wood bead and a toilet paper roll.

First we will make the hat. Cut a piece off the end of the toilet paper roll less than an inch wide. Anywhere between 1/2″ to 3/4″ is fine.

Next you’ll need to cut a bunch of pieces of yarn 8-9″ long. It will depend on the thickness of your yarn how many pieces you will need. I used around 34 pieces for my hat.

To begin making the hat, take one piece of yarn and fold it in half.

Slide the folded end of the yarn through the cardboard ring you cut off the toilet paper roll.

Take both ends of the piece of yarn and feed them through the folded end of the yarn.

Pull it up snuggly, but be careful not to bend the cardboard ring.

Continue adding pieces of yarn in the same manner until you have filled up the cardboard ring.

Push the yarn close together so you don’t see the cardboard underneath.

Made it all the way around!

Now push all the ends of the yarn through to the other side of the ring.

Cut another piece of yarn to tie all the ends of yarn together.

Trim the longer piece of yarn down to the same size as the top of the hat. You can trim the hat tassel more evenly if you like. Wad up a tissue into a small ball and stuff it into the hat to give the hat some shape.

Now on to making the gnome’s face/beard. You will make a pom pom in the following manner: wrap the white yarn around your hand (or a piece of cardboard) at least 50 times. Again, it depends on the thickness of your yarn. The more times you wrap the yarn, the fuller the gnome’s beard will be.

Carefully slide the yarn bundle off your hand, holding the yarn together as it’s wrapped. Cut a piece of white yarn and tie it tightly around the middle of the yarn bundle.

Cut the loops in half on both ends of the yarn bundle.

One half done…

Now fluff the pom pom up using your hands to move the loose ends around.

If you like, you can trim the pom pom down into a smooth ball shape or because it’s a gnome, you can leave his beard looking at bit scraggly. I went with scraggly. 😉 Put a good amount of glue inside the bottom of the hat.

Push the white pom pom against the hat and hold in place for a little bit.

Lastly, glue the wood bead in place to be the gnome’s nose.

Allow the glue some time to dry before handling the gnome too much. You can trim his beard to look the way you like it. All done and you have an adorable gnome of your own! 🙂

If you want to hang your gnome up, you could use a piece of matching yarn or thread and run it through his hat. Or make it a magnet by gluing a magnet on the back. I hope you will enjoy your new friend! 🙂

Making Super Simple Flowers

Yesterday it was raining and storming and so gloomy and today it’s cold and snowing! I think we all need something to cheer us up, so let’s make some flowers!

This project calls for some cardstock or regular paper, some sticker note flags, a large button for each flower and some glue.

The sticker note flags that I’m using I found at a Dollar Tree store, but you can likely find some in the stationery section of any big box store or an office supply store.

Only the pointed tip of these flags is sticky, but it’s not necessary to glue down the rest of the flag because they will be glued in place later all at one time. Pick the color of flags that you would like your flower to be. I went with yellow for my first flower. (Note: While I used colored paper, the flowers will show up brighter on white paper.)

Begin by placing the flags in a circle with the points facing out. These will be the petals of the flower. Overlap the square ends of the flags in the center.

Keep placing the flags until you’ve made a complete circle. It doesn’t matter that the center looks a bit messy because it will be covered up.

Glue a large button in the center and your first flower is complete! Feel free to decorate the rest of the paper as you like.

My second flower was made using blue flags on red paper. This time I laid the flags out opposite each other and they look lined up a little better on this flower.

I glued a yellow button in the center of this flower.

One more little trick you might want to try is to add another layer of flower petals before gluing on the button. I like using a different color of flags and trimming a little bit off the square end to make them fit on the flower.

And then add the button. 🙂

Your flowers could be hung up and enjoyed by the whole family or you could turn them into a card to share with someone special. I hope you’ll have fun making some colorful flowers and brightening your part of the world. 🙂

Fun Finger Puppets From Dollar Tree

I made a stop at a Dollar Tree store a couple days ago and I found some cute finger puppet craft kits. The store I was in had 3 different sets.



And animals.

I bought the animal one and thought I would share it with you today. 🙂

This is what you will find inside the package:

The 3 colored squares of felt actually have shapes cut into them that you will need to punch out. Have a pair of scissors handy for any pieces that might need a little help getting free.

You are now ready to start making your puppets! You will need your own glue. I suggest you lay all the pieces together for each puppet before you start gluing the pieces on. These little guys are pretty cute!


Dog. The picture on the package shows curling the dogs ears down in front but I didn’t actually glue these puppets together because I wanted to pass this set on to some kids. So my dog’s ears are straight up. 🙂

Bee. This one is so cute!


And last, but not least, an adorable owl!

Each kit costs $1.25 (plus tax) and makes 5 puppets. Not bad, eh?

I found these in the Valentine’s Day section of the store. I hope you can find some near you! The kids will be putting on a puppet show before you know it! 🙂

Hairy Fun With Paper Rolls

Have you been saving up those paper towel and toilet paper rolls and wondering what crafts your kids can use them for? Here’s a fun one that girls will like maybe more than boys, but boys can have fun with it too. Let’s make some funny heads with hair you can fix into different hairstyles. 🙂 You will need a toilet paper roll, a single hole punch, yarn, some markers and a pair of scissors.

Start off using the hole punch to make holes all around one end of the paper tube.

Leave a little space from the end of the tube. If you get the holes too close to the end, the holes will tear out easily. (I found out the hard way.)

Cut 1 piece of yarn at least 12″ long for each hole. I had 17 holes on my tube. You can do just 1 piece of yarn per hole, which is how I started out, but I went back and put 2 pieces of yarn in each hole and I like it better with 2.

Take a piece of yarn and fold it in half.

Slide the loop through 1 hole. It doesn’t matter if you start on the inside or the outside of the tube. It will work fine either way.

Pull the loop partway through the hole and then push the ends of the piece of yarn through the loop.

Pull on the ends until the loop part touches back to the paper tube. Pull it gently snug but not hard enough that the paper rips.

Continue adding 1 or 2 pieces of yarn in the same manner to each hole.

It will look something like this when you have put yarn in each hole.

Draw a face on the side of the paper roll.

Now you are ready to start styling your character’s hair! Like tying another piece of yarn around the hair to make a ponytail.

Or a side ponytail…

Or maybe try a braid.

In the next 3 pictures, the character has 2 pieces of yarn per hole. I like it because there is more hair to work with.

Swept to one side…

For this last picture, I twisted the hair together and stuffed some of it down inside the paper tube. 🙂

I’m sure your little hairdressers will come up with ideas of their own. 😉 Some barrettes or clips would add to the fun. I hope this will bring some fun to your day!

Dollar Tree Reindeer Craft Kit

I found this cute Reindeer craft kit at a Dollar Tree store close to us. While I have to admit that this wasn’t one of my favorite crafts that I’ve gotten there, by using lots of glue and not being a perfectionist, it will turn out pretty cute. 😉

Here’s a look at what’s inside the kit:

I started by spreading glue all over the paper plate. Use plenty of glue. (The plate didn’t want to lay flat so if you’d rather make your own circle out of paper, that would work great.)

Stick the brown pom poms all over the plate. I felt like there weren’t quite enough pom poms to cover the entire plate, but in the end it still looks good. I suggest leaving the empty space at the top where it will be covered up by the antlers and hat.

Glue the pieces together to make the face, mouth and nose.

Glue this piece…using plenty of glue…on top of the pom poms. Glue on the 2 eyes. I suggest putting the eyes right on top of a pom pom instead of in the gap between pom poms. That way the eyes will stick on better.

Each ear has 2 pieces, so glue them together next.

I glued the antlers on next…using lots of glue, but only on the bottom part of the antlers. The top part of the antlers won’t be touching anything.

The Santa hat is 3 pieces that you can glue together next.

Now it’s time to glue on the hat and the ears.

Yep, your reindeer will be cute! But I would let it sit for a while to completely dry before moving it around much or trying to hang it up. After my kit was completely dry, it stayed together fine, but it tended to fall apart while the glue was still wet.

I guess this must be Rudolph since he has a red nose! 😉