Drinking straws are versatile materials perfect for kids' projects. They are cheap, readily available and most families already have them in their pantry. Create a variety of projects with drinking straws, from crafts to science lessons.
Drinking Straw Art
Most kids love to create their own pictures with crayons and other mediums. Drinking straws can be just as fun. Cut several different colored drinking straws in varying lengths and snip some straws down the middle so they lay flat. Allow your child to glue the straws to a heavy piece of construction paper to make pictures. You can also add other embellishments such as foam cutouts, beads and gems. Just be sure to supervise any activity with small items.
Painting with Drinking Straws
Do you remember the marble art that you did as a kid, where you dipped a marble in paint and rolled it on paper to make a cool picture? Well, you can make the same type of cool creations with straws. Place a heavy piece of paper into a cardboard box with the sides cut down to about four inches high. Have your child dip the end of the straw in non-toxic paint and create a mosaic-like design by pressing the straw end onto the paper. You can also add drops of paint randomly onto the paper and have your child blow on the paint through the straw to push the paint across the paper.
Homemade Bug Catcher
Kids are either fascinated or terrified of bugs. If your child is of the latter, he may love to make his own bug catcher. For this project, you will need a clear disposable drinking cup with a lid, a low-heat glue gun, craft knife, straw, cheesecloth and clear tubing. You'll have to handle most of this project. Cover one end of the straw with cheesecloth and glue into place with a glue gun. Cut a hole in the bottom of the drinking cup just large enough to insert the end of a straw through. Insert the straw and seal the hole with a bead of glue. Stick the clear tubing through the straw opening in the cup’s lid and seal with a bead of glue. Attach the cup lid. Your child can now catch bugs by sucking on the straw and placing the tube over the bug he wants to catch. The clear cup allows your child to observe the bug while the cheesecloth prevents a bug from being sucked into your child’s mouth.
This activity can help teach your child the power of air pressure. Give your child a non-bendable straw and a potato. Ask her to insert the straw into the potato using as much force as she can. The straw may lightly pierce the potato, but will not penetrate the raw potato very far. Now have her repeat the task with a new straw, but have her hold her thumb over the straw opening closest to her. The pressure created by the air will allow the straw to penetrate the potato.