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Papier mache craft is one of the cheapest and easiest activities to undertake with the kids - it might be messy, but make your own paste and it is perfectly safe! It's also a great activity to bear in mind if you suddenly get caught out on a rainy day with a depleted craft cupboard; you'll probably have the resources required in the home.
Make a child-safe paste by mixing one part flour to five parts water. Place it in a saucepan, bring it to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes. Allow it to cool and you have your paste.
For paper, simply use old newspaper. Cut it into strips, dip it in your homemade paste, then stick it onto your surface. To apply, take each strip of paper, dip it in the paste to cover it completely then apply it to your mould or over the previous layers. Add about three layers at a time then allow to dry - of you add too many layers at once it will take much longer to dry. Build up to as many layers as you need to give the required thickness.
So, what to make? If you have a balloon then use this as a mould. Cover the balloon all over with papier mache, when all your layers are dry burst the balloon and you're left with a terrific head to paint and add features to. To make a mask, just cover one half of the balloon and remove the balloon when your paste has dried.
Why not make a scene? Take a large piece of cardboard, create some texture by scrunching up bits of paper and laying them onto your surface, then apply your papier mache. When the paste has dried, paint it and add other features. Use leaves and twigs from the garden or park to create a country scene, paint it blue and add plasticine ships to make a turbulent sea!
Try making a monster, or an elephant? ...build a park, with a pond, for children or a treasure island?! The possibilities are limitless; enjoy craft at its easiest and your kids will love to create!