craft ideas

Kids Too Old For Finger Painting?  Awesome Craft Ideas for PreTeens

Wasn’t it so nice when the kids were little and you could hand them some craft paint and an empty tissue box and they would amuse themselves for hours.  PreTeens are a much harder group to please!

Of course, you could hand your kid their iPad and let them spend the day shooting things or popping bubbles or whatever other app they may have loaded.  And, realistically, this is an easy way out if you want to entertain your 12yr old for the afternoon.

How about some other great ideas that will grow their brain and exercise their eyes?  Here are 2 great craft activities that will engage your 11yr old for hours:

Project 1:  Yardstick Launcher Craft

Hurl lightweight balls, toys, and other objects toward a target across the room with the stomp of a foot. By Rachelle Doorley, TinkerLab


– Clean metal can (like a coffee can)

– Scrapbook(thick) paper

– Tape

– Yardstick

– Acrylic paint and paintbrush

– Hot glue

– 4 plastic cups

– Rubber band

– Ping-pong balls or other small objects

  1. Cover the can with scrapbook paper and secure with tape. Paint the yardstick; let dry.
  2. Use hot glue to attach the plastic party cups to one end of the yardstick (an adult’s job). Secure the can to the middle of the yardstick with a rubber band.
  3. Place ping-pong balls or other small objects in the cups, then stomp or press down firmly on the free end of the yardstick to launch the projectiles across the room.

A lever is a simple machine made from a rigid beam (the yardstick) and a fulcrum (the can). When your child applies downward force to one side, it elicits an opposite reaction, sending the unattached load (the ping-pong balls) flying. You can change the amount of effort it takes to move those balls: The closer the can is to the cups, the less work it takes to move the projectiles.

Psst! Like this craft activity? Check out Doorley’s book TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors.

While your child was making this project, did you notice them getting very close to the objects while they were painting?  This could be a sign of vision issues – give Family Vision Development Center a call at 630-862-2020 to ask any questions you may have

Project 2:  How To Make A No Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag Craft


  • Old t-shirt – The thicker the fabric, the sturdier the bag
  • Sharp scissors, preferably fabric scissors
  • Washable marker (optional)

Directions for this craft:

Step 1: Cut the sleeves off

Step 2: Cut the neckline area

Trace the bowl and then cut along the line

Step 3: Determine how deep you want the bag to be

Turn the shirt inside out and trace a line across where you want the bottom of the bag to be. Keep in mind that depending on the fabric used, your tote is likely stretch and become longer when it’s filled with stuff.

Step 4: Cut fringe

Now grab your scissors and cut slits from the bottom of the shirt up to the line marking the bottom of your bag. You’ll want to cut both the front and back layers together because they need to match up for the next step.

Step 5: Tie Fringe

Okay, this is going to sound really complicated, but it’s NOT, promise. Take your first pair of fringe and tie it into a knot, then tie two more pairs. Now if you lift your bag, you’ll see that although the pairs are pulling the bag together, there’s a hole between each pair. This next step will close those holes.

In the photo above you see three sets of fringe that have been tied in knots. What I do next is grab one strand from the middle set (the one with the arrow pointing left) and tie it in a knot with one of the strands on the left set. Then I take the other strand from the middle set (the one with the arrow pointing right) and tie it in a knot with one of the strands on the right set.

Then I take the remaining strand on the right set and tie it to the next set of strands, and so on and so forth until all the strands are tied. Now turn your t-shirt right side out again and voila, your craft is done!

We hope your kids enjoy these projects!

When was the last time your child had an eye exam?  Great vision is important your whole life!  If you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our kid-friendly eye doctors at Family Vision Development Center, give us a call at 630-862-2020.

Sources here and here