What better way is there to keep kids busy while you are preparing a meal than to directly involve them in making things to use at the dinner table? Here are three projects, suitable for a broad age range, to keep the kids entertained at the table while you are busy cooking in the kitchen.
Cute bow napkin rings
Supplies needed to make one napkin ring:
- 1 cardboard tube, such as a toilet paper, wrapping paper or paper towel roll
- 3 yards of gray acrylic yarn
- 3 yards of natural sisal rope
- 1 small piece of ecru felt
Cut the cardboard tube
Measure, mark and cut the tube into a 2-inch-long segment.
Prepare the yarn and rope
Measure and cut 3 yards each of the yarn and rope.
Wrap the tube
Use the glue to affix the ends of the yarn and rope — right next to each other — onto the inside of the tube. Alternatively, wrap each five times around the tube, passing through the middle each time. In the latter case, be sure to pull the yarn and rope firmly, but don’t pull them so tightly that they change the shape of the cardboard tube.
Add the bow
Create the felt bow by cutting out a strip of felt measuring 1 inch by 3 inches. Fold both ends toward the middle and glue in place. Take another strip, measuring approximately 1/4 inch by 1 inch, and wrap it tightly around the middle before securing the ends overlapping on the bag. Glue to the top of the napkin ring.
Woven felt place mat
Supplies needed to make one place mat:
- Gray felt
- Beige felt
- Tan felt
- Fabric glue
- Marking pen
- Scissors or pinking shears
Cut the felt into pieces
Use pinking shears to cut out the main body of the mat — from the gray felt — which should measure 14 by 18 inches. Then, cut five strips from the beige felt and four strips from the tan felt, which should measure 17-1/2 inches by 1 inch each. Next, use chalk and a ruler to draw a 1-inch frame around the outside perimeter of the gray piece of felt. Then, draw horizontal lines 1 inch apart — these are your guides for cutting. Now, cut along these lines to create slits in the felt, taking care not to cut into the 1-inch frame around the border.
Weave the mat
Start with a strip of the beige felt and weave it over and under the slits in the gray felt piece. Repeat with each strip, alternating colors, until all of the pieces are woven in.
Secure the ends
Use fabric glue to secure the ends to the mat.
Create and attach the flower
To create the flower, cut a circle in a piece of yellow felt, approximately the size of a saucer. Starting at one side, slowly cut around the shape of the flower, creating a swirl. Continue trimming the circle down, keeping the swirl in one continuous piece. Leave a dime-sized circle in the middle. Using that as the base, roll up the felt into a flower shape and secure the end with glue. Cut out leaf shapes from green felt. Glue flower and petals onto the place mat.
Salt dough place cards
Supplies needed to make six place cards:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- Ink pad and stamps
- 16-gauge copper jewelry/craft wire
- Rolling pin, extra flour for rolling and cookie cutters or knife
Make the salt dough
To make the salt dough, mix the salt, flour and water together in a small bowl with a fork. Make sure all of the flour and salt are incorporated with the water.
Create the shapes
Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and use either a plastic knife or cookie cutter to create the desired shape. Make sure your chosen shape has a flat bottom. Carefully transfer your shapes onto a baking sheet.
Stamp your design
Use regular, permanent ink and stamps to create the design on the front of the place card. Make holes along the bottom with the blunt end of a skewer.
Cure the dough
Bake the dough until cured, approximately 90 minutes in a 170-degree oven. Remove carefully as soon as the dough is dry.
Add the wire stand
Use pliers to cut a 4-inch piece of copper wire for each place card. Insert the ends into the holes and use pliers to shape the ends in curls to stay in place. Bend the wire so that the place cards stand up on the table.