Craft ideas for imaginative summer play

Costume projects, whether they take an hour or day to create, can stimulate a child’s imagination. They can be important development tools while also providing some good, old-fashioned fun.

Gather scarves, ties, gloves, shoes, hats, vests and coats that can be transformed into creative outfits. Grad and bridesmaid dresses, nightgowns, crinolines and slips can be remodelled into princess gowns or fairy outfits.

Add a small box of necklaces, bracelets, clip-on earrings, old watches, hair clips, purses and small bags. Transform a plastic tub, old suitcase, or hassock into a “tickle” trunk to hold the dress-up clothes.

Many of the current movie princesses have braids.

Rapunzel Braid

  • 1 ball yellow yarn
  • 3 colours of ribbon 1/4 – 1/2 inch (0.5 – 1 cm) wide three to four yards (metres) long (darker colours show better in the braid)
  • 8 or more flower hair clips or artificial flowers
  • 3 medium elastic bands
  • 2 – 6 inch pieces cut from 15 cm arn ball

Measure the height of the child and triple the measurement. Place two chairs that have knob ends on the back of the chairs this distance apart. Or take a wooden spoon and duct tape it to the back of each chair.
Tie one end of the yarn onto a chair knob. Run the yarn from one chair down and around the knob on the other chair. Repeat this 66 times. End by tying the yarn end onto the chair with which you started. On the chair that doesn’t have the yarn ends, put one small piece of yarn through the loop and tie all of the yarn together.

Tie the ends of the three ribbons to this loop as well, leaving a 12-inch (30 cm) length on the loop side and the remainder of the ribbon on the yarn side.
Return to the chair that has the yarn ends tied to it. Undo the yarn ends and cut through the yarn loop. Divide the yarn into three groups of 22 strands and include a ribbon in each group.
To make the braiding easier, start at the cut end of the yarn and ribbon and fold the yarn and ribbon back and forth about halfway up the length of the yarn, then loop an elastic around the yarn bundle to hold it together.
Repeat with the other two groups of yarn and ribbon.
Start braiding the yarn and ribbon close to the loop end and bring the ribbon to the top of the yarn so that it is visible. Release the yarn from the elastic bundles as needed while braiding. Leave three inches (8 cm) at the end unbraided. Use the second short piece of yarn to wrap at the end of the braid and to securely tie the braid.
Remove the loop end of the yarn from the chair and put the braid through the loop to form a crown that will sit on the child’s head. Adjust to fit the child. Use the short piece of yarn that is tied to the loop to secure the braid. Put the short ribbon ends through the loop and tie into bows. Tie the ribbons at the end of the braid into bows. Trim the ribbons as needed. Fasten the flower hair clips or glue the artificial flowers into the braid.

Princess Dresses

Recycle old garments into princess dresses. Several pattern companies have patterns for sewing more authentic storybook princess dresses.
Consider buying discounted costumes after Halloween to add to the dress up trunk.
Tiaras and crowns are fun and easy to make using bristle board covered with tin foil or glitter paper and decorated with stick on jewels, foam shapes or feathers.
Old vests and T-shirts can be redesigned into armour or superhero shirts and a length of cloth can become a cape.


  • 1 roll grey duct tape
  • 1 roll coloured duct tape
  • cardboard
  • yarn

Draw a T-shaped sword on the cardboard and cut out, then trace the shape on a second piece of cardboard and cut out. Use the grey duct tape to wrap around the two pieces of cardboard starting at the sword tip and work toward the handle. Use the coloured duct tape to wrap the cross part of the T.
Finish the handle by wrapping the grip area with yarn to make it easier to hold.
Option: use one piece of cardboard and tape it to a cardboard tube, then wrap the sword in tin foil.
Shields: Cardboard can be cut into a shield shape or an ice cream bucket lid can be used. Cover with tin foil, duct tape or silver wrapping paper. Add insignia with different colours of duct tape, masking tape, stickers, paint or stick on foam shapes. Roll a strip of cardboard and fasten to the back with duct tape to create a handle.
Breastplate: A large brown paper bag or cardboard can be used to create a breastplate. Cut a hole to go over the head and armholes and then decorate or paint.
Duct Tape Breastplate: Duct tape can be used to make a durable yet flexible breastplate.
Decide on the basic size for the front and back such as 12 x 12 inches (30 x 30 cm). On a table or countertop, use a 12-inch strip of tape, stick a second strip of tape parallel to the first, 12 inches away to create a basic shape. Using a strip of tape, join the first two tapes and then add additional strips, slightly overlapping, to create a solid piece.
Peel off the table and trim to shape. Turn over and use the coloured duct tape to cover the sticky side of the first side. Use the first colour to create a design on the coloured tape.
Repeat the process for the back and then join with strips of tape to create shoulder straps.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact:

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