A roll of butcher paper or kraft paper is an essential craft supply for busy parents. It is not only inexpensive and recyclable but it also offers endless possibilities. These activities can be displayed for posterity or rolled up and put away for another day. Create your own race tracks, make a leaf rubbing wall hanging, let the kids paint with toy cars or even with their feet! Scroll through the arrows above for some fun ideas that kids will love.
1. Mail a hug
For friends and relatives far away or those you haven’t seen in a while, mail them a hug from the kids! Simply trace your child on butcher paper from the waist up, then decorate and cut the portrait out. What a great way to make someone’s day! Visit The Lean Green Bean for more details and ideas.
2. DIY learning mat
A long sheet of paper can be used as a learning mat for a variety of lessons, from shapes to letters and numbers. Chan Vu of The Craft Box Girls draws shapes on a piece of butcher paper and has her kids color the shapes in with chalk. Kids can also experiment with drawing more shapes. Chalk is a great medium for this project because you can wipe it off if the drawing goes off of the paper!
3. Paint with your feet
If your kids love the “Pete the Cat” books, then this activity is for you. This project goes along with the book “I Love My White Shoes" Once you’ve read the story, roll out a long sheet of butcher paper for some foot-painting fun. You’ll need to wait for a good-weather day, but it will be worth it! Home Grown Friends has all the details.
4. Make a galaxy mural
Take a trip around the solar system with this galaxy mural. You’ll need a roll of black paper for this one, or you'll need to paint your butcher paper in black first. Use plates or cups to trace circles for planets, then use colored chalk for coloring them in. Finish by adding stars with a cotton swab dipped in white paint. Deep Space Sparkle has more details for this out-of-this-world activity.
5. Paint with cars
For a fun alternative to painting with paintbrushes, paint with toy cars. Roll out the butcher paper and paint a masterpiece by driving toy cars through washable Tempera paint in shallow pans, then onto the butcher paper. (The keyword here is “washable!”) Check the post from Play to Learn Preschool for more ideas.
6. Capture the beauty of leaves
It can be difficult for little hands to coordinate holding a leaf in place with one hand and using a crayon to make a rubbing with the other hand. That’s why we love this project. Lindsay from Filth Wizardry uses two long sheets of butcher paper taped to the floor and places the leaves in between the paper. With this setup, children can easily make rubbings because the leaves stay put. Read the post for more instructions.
7. Draw fossils
Young paleontologists will love recreating ancient fossils. This post from Art Projects for Kids offers a free printable with sample fossil drawings for inspiration or to trace. She recommends using white paint markers on brown butcher paper. For younger kids, consider using wet erase liquid chalk markers for easier cleanup. Add in a prehistoric landscape and bring out the toy dinos for hours of play.
8. Create a DIY racetrack
Erin of Love Peace Beauty uses kraft paper to make an impressive racetrack for her kids to play with. She recommends racetrack tape, but regular duct tape would also work well for this project. You could also incorporate recycled items into the track, such as toilet paper roll ramps to make the track a little more challenging! Creating the track and accessories can be an activity unto itself, then roll up the track to get out another day when the kids need a place to race their cars or trains!
9. Giant dot-to-dot
Even ordinary activities such as a simple dot-to-dot can be special when supersized. Draw a giant-sized dot-to-dot on a piece of butcher paper, turn the kids loose with markers or crayons to see what the picture reveals! If you need inspiration, look here for free printable worksheets. What We Do All Day has more tips.
10. Puffy paper hearts
These 3-D paper hearts are the perfect way to send love. Parents can cut out the hearts for younger kids and then have the kids decorate each side with crayons, markers, paint or glitter. Connect the hearts together using a hot glue gun, leaving a hole for the kids to add stuffing. Fill the hearts with cotton balls, gift tissue, crumpled facial tissue or even toilet paper to make the hearts three-dimensional. Lily Bug Studio has all the details.