Back to School Craft Ideas for Elementary Students

No craft idea goes unrewarded; although it may cost some. My all time favorite was the invitation from the special education students to be their guest for their giant “tracing man.” I would stretch out on the floor on top of butcher-block paper and they would trace my body. Later, they invited me to return to see myself standing outside the classroom door, “The Watchman” of Special Ed Room 104 down to the grizzly beard I wore at the time.

Other classes spent time fashioning airplanes made of folded paper-all kinds of flight-tested configurations that were tested in the school gymnasium in a major flight duration contest for distance and aerobatic stunts. Teachers acted as judges-no favorites.

Chagall and Picasso contests were wild juxtapositions of shapes and forms on poster board of various background colors. The kids cut and pasted a variety of forms and shapes, geometric and human in various construction paper colors with overlapping imaginary figures and words painted on.

Others loved beads and strung them to make bracelets with adult help to tie knots. With larger beads, necklaces were favorites. Some enterprising teachers brought in assortments of nuts and washers left over from other projects, collectibles for some adults for the just so nut or washer to replace a missing one. The teacher found a large assortment of these by asking his friends to contribute.

A large wall map of town obtained from city hall was festooned with pictures brought in by students who pasted these on the streets where they lived. With periodic additions as events unfolded in the children’s lives, the picture map grew in telling ways during the school year until such time as photos of children and their various activities obscured the map.

Another map idea was a map of the world, and the kids tracked the comings and goings of a ship commanded by one of the dads as it sailed the seas between the Gulf of Mexico and the India Ocean by way of the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Adan, the Pirate lair. This way, they learned at lot about latitude and longitude and wind and wave height and that sort of thing.

One teacher traced out the trunks of trees on each side of the classroom door, on paper, of course, and had students glue leaves, dry leaves they brought in by the 1 quart bagful from the playground to cover the trees in layered leaves until the principal suggested it might become a fire hazard.

Other kids strung circle strips of construction paper in competitions to see how long hey could make one that could sustain its own weight hanging from the back of one chair to another.

And my all time favorite, using Popsicle sticks to build bridges that would withstand the most weight between its piers. The teacher used left over 4×4 inch tiles. The students discussed their science.

I’m for toothpick pyramids and placard castles, or glued macaroni art on 8 by 11 boards. All tricks of the trade to teach and amuse and to focus on teamwork and problem solving, not to mention, fun, too.

All my life, I have had a large, cloth “magic bag.” It contains playing cards, Popsicle sticks by the hundreds, and paper cut out airplanes, construction paper, glue, pencils, pens, dice, agates, and different colored tissue paper. My magic bag solved many problems when my grandchildren could not think of anything to do. That’s when they came to me and asked for a look-see in my “magic bag” for something to do. A good teacher is a resourceful teacher who does not need my help.