The humble paper bag doesn’t look like much, and is often shoved into drawers or thrown into the recycling when we’re done using them, without a second thought. However, with a little bit of imagination, they can become almost anything. If you’re looking for a fun and simple craft activity to do with your kids, then look no further. Check out this list for inspiration and who knows? Possibly you’ll come up with some of your very own.

Fun and frugal paper bag craft ideas for kids

Puppets

Paper bag puppets are one of the most simple paper bag crafts, and the possibilities are endless. Open the bag out, and let one side of the bottom fold back in towards the bag, creating a ‘mouth.’ Now, your child can let their imagination run wild. Will their puppet be an astronaut? A puppy? A raccoon wearing a silly hat? If you want some ideas to get you started, DLTK have a good list to spark your child’s imagination.

paper bag goat craft for kids

Hats

Another simple activity is making paper bag hats. These are great any time of year, from making Easter bonnets to creating a crown for the Christmas play. Simply turn the bag upside down, cutting the bottom off if needed, and have your child decorate it however you wish. If it’s for Easter, they could cover it in tiny little craft chicks and decorative eggs, or at Christmas it could be covered in silver or gold foil and trimmed with fake fur or holly.

Kites

Paper bag kite craft for kids

Why buy a kite to go fly in the park when your child can make one for themselves that’s all their own? These are super simple to make but yet look fantastic when they’re done. Simply let your child decorate their bag, then punch a hole in the bottom of it to thread the string into. Then, cut out and glue colourful paper streamers onto the open end of the bag. Voila! To see a video tutorial on how to make paper bag kites, check out Sophie World.

Totem pole

This activity is great if you have a gaggle of kids that need entertaining, or if you’re looking for crafty activities for a playgroup or other childcare setting. Give each child a paper bag to decorate in a fun and brightly coloured style. When they’re done, cut a small hole in the bottom and stuff it with crumpled up newspaper. Then, you can slide each bag onto an old broom or mop handle, tying each off at the top with a rubber band. Artists Helping Children has more details on how to create the perfect totem pole.

Trees

Paper bag trees are a great idea if your child needs to make trees for a school project, or if you’re looking to decorate your house with seasonal crafts. Kinder Art recommends standing a bag up and twisting it just above the seam to create a trunk. Then, cut strips from the top of the bag to the twisted section. Twisting three of these strips together at a time will create branches, and then you can decorate them with leaves made from coloured paper.

Goody bags

If your child will be hosting a birthday party soon, why not let them create their own personalised goody bags? Simply give them the bags to decorate with pens, crayons, glitter, or any other decorative items that they can think of. They’ll have the most stylish goody bags, and they’ll be much better for the environment than traditional plastic bags.

Decorative Garland

Speaking of birthday parties, why not create your decorations with paper bags, too? Paper bag garlands are easy to put together and can be customised to display any pattern or message you choose. Sarah Hearts goes through the simple process on her website, and used washi tape to decorate her bags, but you can go as wild as you like with yours. Ribbons, stickers and crayons, or whatever is available in your craft box, can be used to create some truly fantastic garlands.

Bird’s Nest

Great for schools or for home, especially in Easter time, paper bag bird’s nests look great and are fairly simple to make. AlphaMom recommends mixing PVA glue with water, then dipping shredded paper bag strips into the mixture, then placing them over an empty bowl as a mould. When it’s dry, you’ll have the perfect bird’s next to hide all your chocolate eggs in! You can use plain bags for a more realistic look, or colour them in for a brighter nest.

As you can see, there are a multitude of ways to turn a plain paper bag into something special. Whether they’re bags you used to bring your groceries home in, or paper bags you bought especially from Carrier Bags for Sale, your children can create something amazing with them.

Image credit: Green paper bags Shutterstock (modified) / Guest post