Fall Crafts to Engage Those Tween-age Kids

by Jan Pierce

It’s relatively easy to keep pre-school and elementary school age kids busy with simple art projects such as coloring and painting. But when your children reach the ages of 10-12, it becomes a greater challenge.

After all, they’re older now. They want a craft project that produces a real product—one they’ll want to use as a gift or to decorate their room. They want something cool!

Here’s a whole list of interesting, creative and even beautiful craft projects for those tweens. You might want to make up a sample before the craft session so they’ll feel motivated to follow your example. Remember to choose quality materials and offer several options to the project. Older kids like to feel a bit of freedom as they create.


Paper Plate Weaving

Circle Weaving: Using a sturdy paper plate, cut an uneven number of slits from the edge 

            toward the center of the plate. (not all the way through) Begin weaving with brightly-

colored pieces of yarn, changing colors as you wish. You can secure the end of the yarn to the back of the plate with tape. A more complicated design is created when you cut notches around the edge of the plate, again, an uneven number, and then string yarn around the plate in a sunflower pattern. Then your weaving is done on the yarn structure itself. The plate acts as a backdrop and a frame for hanging. www.lessonswithlaughter.com Search paper plate weaving.

Dreamcatchers: For a more complicated project using a paper plate with a circle cut into the center. www.dream-catchers.org. Search arts and crafts for kids.

Make a Kaleidoscope

This project takes a bit of care and precision, but is actually quite easy to do. You’ll want 

to look at the pictures and then proceed. https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1008403/diy-kaleidoscope-craft-for-kids/ You’ll need a paper towel roll, some multi-colored plastic beads, a cereal box, some foil, a piece of scrapbook paper or other heavy paper, some clear plastic (a fruit box from the grocery store works well,) a ruler and a glue gun. Then:

  1. Cut two circles of plastic the size of the end of your paper towel tube. Glue one of them on one end of the tube.
  2. Drop plastic colored beads to cover the bottom and then drop the second plastic piece on top of the beads.
  3. Place a ruler inside the tube and measure the distance from the plastic to the edge of the roll. Make three pieces of cardboard that length, cover them in foil and glue them into a triangle. When dry, place the triangle inside the paper towel roll. 

You’re ready to hold the kaleidoscope up to the light and enjoy the show.


Stringart is done with pins or nails placed into heavy cardboard. Then using string or yarn, beautiful patterns are created. Start with free patterns at www.stringartfun.com. to try your hand at this one, and then you and your kids might want to invest in some of the more intricate patterns. They’re quite stunning. www.stringartfun.com. 

Foil Drawings

This project creates a pretty spectacular end product. Using liquid glue, carbon paper, cardboard or a foam board, heavy foil and shoe polish, you’ll make a drawing that is transferred to the board. Then add lines of glue to create a 3-D effect. Later add the foil and highlight with the shoe polish. Find the directions you’ll need and helpful pictures at www.artclubblog.com/foil-drawings.

Japanese Paper Dolls

If your tween loves origami, this may be the next project for you. Elegant and delicate, these ningyogami dolls use wrapping paper and heavier cardboard for the heads. The finished product is something special. Find this craft at www.thissideoftheisland.blogspot.com. Search “ningyogami.”

As the fall weather turns chillier, your tweens will become engrossed in these fun and fantastic craft projects.

Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a retired teacher and the author of Homegrown Readers and Homegrown Family Fun. Find Jan at www.janpierce.net.