Stuck inside because of summer heat?  With the temperatures soaring outside play can become limited to early morning and just before dinner around here.  So what to do with all that extra time in between to keep the kids entertained?  There are so many fun and creative things that can be done with simple items from the pantry.  Plus, it’s hard to beat inexpensive entertainment.  For example, paper plates are a great source of hours of fun – and they are definitely plentiful.

Here are three crafty ideas to put these handy tableware to use:

Tambourine or Noise Maker  

What you’ll need:

  • two paper plates
  • beans or popcorn kernels
  • crayons or markers and/or stickers
  • a stapler

Have your kids decorate the bottom side of two plates.  Put half a handful of beans or popcorn kernels on one plate.  Place the other plate on top and staple the two plates together around the edges.  Make sure not to leave any gaps that the beans or popcorn kernels could fall through.  Now shake shake shake this fun new toy.  (Keep in mind this is not a toy for little ones that might think they can eat the beans or popcorn.)

Funny Masks

What you’ll need:

  • one paper plate
  • crayons/markers/paint
  • scissors
  • glue
  • yarn

Have your child draw a face on the paper plate – or if they are too young, draw one for them. Decorate by coloring, cutting out holes for the eyes and mouth, or cutting the edge for hair or other effects. Make hair or beards or mustaches by adding glue in the appropriate place and adding the yarn.  You can attach a popsicle stick at the bottom to hold in front of your face, or tie yarn to either side and then knot it behind your hair. Let the imagination take over.

Popsicle Stick Puppets

What you’ll need:

  • paper plates
  • popsicle sticks
  • crayons/markers/paint
  • scissors
  • glue
  • yarn

Follow the same directions as making the funny masks but you can cut the paper plates into shapes of animals or people or just keep them as mask.  Try different animals –  for example if you make a bird puppet then use some craft feathers for added fluff.  Then add glue to one end of a popsicle stick and adhere it to the bottom of the paper plate.  Let this dry and now it’s time for a puppet show.

Paper plates aren’t just handy for lunches but also for making some fun to use crafts.  Do you have a unique way to use paper plates for a craft project?  What’s your favorite way to entertain kids stuck inside because of weather?