Monday, 16 April 2012

Quick crafty ideas for toddlers - papier mache island

No matter what crazy theme your toddler is crazy about just now, or even if they aren't, there is  bound to be a use for a papier mache island.

  • fairies and princesses - a beautiful glittery island paradise
  • dinosaurs - dino island
  • pirates - pirate island
  • farms - duck pond island
  • octonauts (CBeebies) - oh I don't know, I don't watch it, but I know it's set under water so I'm sure you can come up with a connection!
  • Zingzillas (CBeebies again) - the Zingzilla Island
  • Castles - you'll have to construct a castle on your island of course

Anyway, you get the idea - they are supremely easy to make and you just link into your theme.  The added advantage with making these is that it's messy, so your toddler will enjoy it.  The disadvantage is that it takes time to dry, so there's some delayed gratification there, but that teaches them something too doesn't it?!

What you need:
  • some strong cardboard - mine was part of a packaging box, the type they throw out at the supermarket or Amazon deliver in.
  • newspaper
  • tape
  • flour and water
  • paints
How to do it:
  • screw up some largish balls of newspaper and squash into position on your piece of newspaper to make hill type shapes for your island, these can then be taped into position.
  • Mix a flour and water gloop - the runnier this is the longer it will take to dry.
  • Tear up all the rest of your newspaper into long strips.  These can then be dipped into your gloop and laid over the hills, criss-crossing as much as possible, until there are no gaps.  Try to get two or three layers if you can.  If your toddler is anything like mine you'll find that they concentrate on one small area without looking at the bigger picture.  Depending on your patience you can either show them the other side and encourage them to cover that too, or you can just get on and fill in the gaps.
  • Leave to dry.  It needs to dry through completely.  Mine was in a warm, sunny conservatory and still took more than 24 hours.
  • Now paint.  For some islands you will need glitters (also good for the sea anyway), some will be green, others will be black and rocky - depends on your theme.  Add any other decorations that your toddler thinks will fit the theme.  Allow to dry.
  • Da daaa!  An island!


  1. hi I have just found your blog and enjoyed looking through your posts, I too love being outdoors and getting crafty, this is a great dino island we made one not too long ago too and added bicarbonate of soda and vineger to the volcano to have a bubbling effect! Lovely blog am now following x

  2. Thanks very much. I've just seen yours too, and I love it! How do you get the beautiful daisy design on the top of your blog?