Craft Idea for a Group: Make a Mural

Most craft ideas are geared to individuals, whether kids or adults.  Sometimes you'd like to have a craft idea that works for a group of kids working together.  Making a mural together is an idea that works for a group.  By working together, you are creating something to decorate a shared area.  Individual crafts can be displayed, but one unique item is often more effective than a group of items that are almost identical.  In addition, sometimes kids' crafts, like it or not, just become clutter when they are taken home, and it isn't long before Mom throws it out.  This craft idea of making a group mural can be displayed for several weeks and will not become clutter in anyone's home.

The basic materials for a kids' group mural is freezer paper.  Freezer paper is about 18 inches wide, and it is very tough.  One side is plastic coated.  That is the side that is designed to be placed against the food.  You will have better luck drawing on and gluing things onto the other side.  Class or group murals can feature a number of different design elements.  You can mix up some finger paint and let the children make hand prints (or even foot prints!) on the paper.  You can let them scour old cast-off magazines and color catalogs for pictures they like and let them cut the pictures out and glue them on.  They can add scribbles, designs, signatures, slogans, or pictures using markers, crayons, or gel pens.  They can attach stickers to the mural as well.  This craft idea is very flexible!

For making the mural, choose a topic that relates to the group in some way.  If the group are girl scouts, for instance, and have been learning to camp, the mural can feature pictures of items related to camping.  If you've been learning about dinosaurs, you can use them as a theme.  If you want a really messy project that makes a cute mural for fall, mix up finger paint in fall colors.  The children can each make a tree by first laying their forearm in brown paint.  Then they lay their arm on the paper to make the trunk of the tree.  They should spread out their fingers so their arm print has five short branches at the top.  To make the leaves, the children make fingerprints all around the top of the tree using paints in other fall colors.  If you add a few drops of dishwashing detergent to finger paint when mixing it up, it will be easier to clean off the children's arms.  Do make sure they have old clothes or smocks for this craft idea.

Little preschoolers will like making a mural with an animal theme.  You should probably find and cut out animal magazine pictures to start with, and then let the children choose the ones they like for gluing down.  Glue sticks are neat to use with small children.  They will paste some of the pictures upside down.  Expect it and do not scold them.  It is the process that is important in this craft idea.  The children can also use animal cookie cutters dipped in finger paint to stamp animals on the mural, too.  You may need to tape the paper to the table so it doesn't slide around while the children work.

An elaborate form of this craft idea that adults often make is a quilt around a theme.  Each person in the group creates a quilt square to represent some aspect of what the group stands for.  These quilt squares can be colored with fabric pens or crafted of patchwork or applique.  Again, the craft idea is to build group solidarity and not to highlight one artist's skills over another.  When the quilt top is completed, it can be a group project to tie it or quilt it.  It can be hung in a special central location or given to an appreciated leader or member.

How to Come up With a Craft Idea for Kid Programs

Are you a camp director or Sunday School teacher looking for a craft idea for kid enrichment?  Maybe you feel like you are just not the creative type, and you struggle with coming up with craft projects.  It is true that some people just have a knack for finding or even inventing craft ideas, but your creativity can be improved.  There are ways to make it easier to find a craft idea for kid needs.

First, lay aside any perfectionism.  Locking yourself into thinking there is only one right way to do something makes every decision harder.  Regardless of the kid program you are helping with, there are always many suitable craft ideas out there.  Don't worry about picking the wrong one!  If you've taken into consideration the age and skill levels of the kids involved, your choice will be adequate.

Next, consider your budget.  When choosing a craft idea for kid programs, you need to be aware that some of them are expensive.  Prepackaged kits to make a fun foam picture frame or a craft stick cross are affordable for a few kids, but if you are needing to do a craft with a lot of kids, these kits might cost too much.  It's often easy to do almost exactly the same project by just looking at the craft kit components and buying the same materials in bulk at the discount store.  You may have to do some preparation, like cutting out shapes ahead of time, or at least making cardboard patterns for the kids to use in cutting out their own.  The savings will be worth it, however.

Another consideration is this:  in spite of years of indoctrination from women's libbers, the fact remains that boys and girls like different sorts of crafts!  If the craft seems a little girly, don't use it at boys' camp.  Stick with lace-up leather billfolds, Indian artifacts, dinosaur art, and similar projects.  Girls will like beads and anything that's pink or purple.  For a craft idea for kid camp where there are kids of both sexes, keep it on the boyish side and provide some pink materials to keep the girls happy.

An aspect of creativity that the non-creative types don't realize is that ideas spring from other ideas.  That is, if you look over a book or website of craft ideas, maybe none of them will appeal to you, but if you let them, they will spark an idea for a similar project.  Use what you can and change what you must in the craft directions.  For instance, the craft may have a slogan to be written across the front.  If you need to change the slogan to fit your own needs, it's perfectly OK.  For instance, the pictured project might say "Girls rock!"  You can change that to "He is the Rock!" if that meets your VBS needs better.

A final suggestion is to realize that you don't have to change the instructions or create something new to have a good craft idea for kid use.  Feel free to follow the instructions to the letter if that works better for you.  The kids will have a great time either way.  Just pick a craft idea, for kid creativity beats adult creativity everytime!  The kids will make it creative, even if you have doubts about your own ability in this area.
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