Friday, January 1, 2010

Cardboard Tube Crafts

Use those paper or cardboard tubes from paper towels, toilet tissue, food wrap and gift wrap to create fun projects for your group. Whether for small tots or older children, there are many ways to use paper tubes for fun.

Avast, me hearty!
Cover a long tube in black construction paper to form a play telescope. You’ll spy lots of play through this easy toy.

Use two shorter tubes to form binoculars. Tape them together and add a yarn or ribbon strap and you’ve got one child ready for look-out duty.

An added bonus to using these toys is the ability for a child to focus on a single thing while peering through the tubes. It allows concentration on that thing. Great for starting discussions.

Personal presents
Put tiny gifts into a tube and cover in gift wrap for an interesting gift presentation.

Make little favors for a party. Little candies can be wrapped in food wrap or snack bags before insertion into the tube. Gather the gift wrap and tie the ends for a firecracker look.

Safe candles
Make safe candles for little ones by wrapping the tube in tissue paper of the appropriate color and use a pipe cleaner as the flame. Tuck the ends of the tissue into the top of the role, and stick the pipe cleaner into the center. For processionals and ceremonies, these flameless candles will allow little ones to participate without danger.

Add a scripture reference to provide an enlightening lesson: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119: 105, KJV, for example.

Little lighthouse
Use ribbon or construction paper stripes to wrap around a covered paper roll to make a lighthouse. A ball of yellow paper or a yellow yarn pompom on top serves as the beacon.

Add a scripture, such as “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” (Isaiah 60:1, KJV) for inspiration.

Let’s make music
Seal one end of the tube by cutting a circle of cardboard to match the size of the end. Place it in the end and secure it with a square of paper and tape. Place a tablespoon of uncooked rice or beans into the tube. Seal the open end. Decorate as desired. One rhythm instrument is ready to go.

The timbre of the instrument will vary depending on what is put inside, how much there is, how long and wide the tube is and how tightly it is sealed. With enough different “voices” you can create a real band.

Add a scripture, such as: “The Lord is my strength and song.” (Exodus 15:2, KJV) or “…therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7b, KJV).

National Geographic Kids has a great page on making a kaleidoscope from a paper towel role. Check it out: This is one I haven’t done myself yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

Napkin Rings

Slice tube into rings approximately 1” wide. (You’ll probably have to do this for younger children to avoid squashed rings.) Decorate the rings to use as napkin rings. Here are some ideas, but feel free to use your imagination:

Glue ribbon around the ring.

Wrap the ring in yarn.

Measure strips of plain paper to cover the rings. Let the children draw on or put stickers on the paper before covering the ring with it.

Glue pieces of colored paper in a patchwork pattern (great for using up scraps of construction paper left over from other projects!).

Glue wrapping paper appropriate for the occasion on the ring.

Glue decorative braid or little ornaments to the ring.

Glue a strip of paper with a scripture verse on it around the ring. (“The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul…’ Proverbs 13:25a, KJV, for example.)

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