Quilling, Scooby wires, decorative pots... a lot of addictive crafts keep kids busy

When Varun, 10, and his friends sit down on lazy Sunday afternoons holding a bag of fluorescent green and yellow wires, they look as eager as elderly women seeking a sunny patch to knit.

The friends, both boys and girls, surf the Net for new designs. There’s an amenable silence as they twist and turn innocuous wires to create DNA strands, insects and bright key chains. These wires cost anywhere between Rs. 35 and Rs. 50 a pack for plain and multi-colour options. Just right to spend one’s pocket money on.

V. Meena, who teaches craft at Avila MHSS, says these Scooby wires are a hot favourite among kids of all ages. “Everyone seems to be creating little things with the wires,” she says.

Since Karthigai is about to begin, can lamps be far behind? Especially, decorative lamps. That’s what many girls are doing. Buying plain earthen lamps and decorating them with kundan, chamki and everything else glittery, says Meena.

Some years ago, it looked like crafts had taken the backseat and were all set to be given a silent burial. Kids were hooked to technology. Now, interesting new-age crafts have lured kids, and how!

Simran Wahan of Amaya, who teaches children craft, says that if kids are interested, they can make beautiful things out of waste. For example, a tissue roll doll (see pic), made using a spent roll of toilet tissue. All it needs is imagination and some basic craft material to transform it into a work of art. Or, a bumble bee!

Paper quilling has been around for some years now, but kids have not really got tired of it. They still roll paper to create cutesy animals and fragile looking paper jewellery. Quilling pens, cutters and paper crimpers continue to be bought along with sheets of finely cut paper strips. The best part? It is not a terribly expensive craft. All you need are sheets that cost about Rs. 100, a pair of scissors, some glue, patience and lots of creativity.

Simran says children can also use foam and felt sheets to unleash their artistic abilities. They can use a punching machine to cut designs and paste them on paper to create a colourful tree (see pic) or snip and shape the sheet into whatever design they want. “It’s not very hard to learn (even four-year-olds can do it) and it is not a messy craft. Encourage your kids to learn this,” she says.

Other popular craft options are making colourful magnets using salt dough or clay. Or, masks from a readymade kit. Or, beaded jewellery. None of these kits costs more than Rs. 200. And, most neighbourhood stationery stores or hobby shops store them. You could check out Bombay Novelty Stores in R.S. Puram.

For parents, these craft kits are a throwback to their childhood, free of television and gadgets. They also get to flaunt the by-products of these craft sessions. All the keys in my house are now strung on neon Scooby wires. And yes, I get to wear the son’s hand-made earrings, all matching-matching!