Flashlights can be magical. They shine light to dispel scary places, illuminate the path for indoor and outdoor adventures and provide the backdrop for shadow puppet shows.
Transform any plain flashlight – permanently or for an evening – with an easy, inexpensive decorating session with your children. Use materials you already have on hand or make the trip to buy supplies as part of the experience, allowing your little ones to choose colors and materials. They’ll not only increase their pride in the end result, but also expand their mental skills by stretching to imagine how a sticker or button would change the look of their project.
What You Need:
- Flashlights (any size or color)
- Glue stick or school glue (optional)
- Safety scissors
Any of the Following:
- Craft paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, fabric remnants
- Ribbon, buttons, rickrack,
- Glitter pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils
- Stickers, decorative tapes and punches
- Provide one working flashlight per child. You may want to have extra batteries on hand to prevent a meltdown when someone’s flashlight goes out.
- Gather materials you have at home. Prompt children to use their imaginations. No need to restrict yourself to the list above.
- Make a field trip to a craft store or drug store for extra supplies.
- Choose a location for the fun and lay out your supplies. Lay down an old tablecloth, butcher paper or newspaper if desired. This will not only protect your surface, but also allow for testing with markers and glitter pens before application to the final product.
Assembling the Flashlights:
- Allow each child to select a flashlight and base cover material. This cover can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Older children may like to have layers of paper striping around the flashlight. For younger children, the easiest is to select a single piece of tissue paper or fabric that’s large enough to cover the flashlight completely.
- For paper, make a piece to fit the flashlight by laying it on the paper and rolling it around, drawing a line and cutting away excess paper. For fabric or tissue paper, stand the base of the flashlight in the middle of the material and pull up all around the flashlight. Cut away excess or fold it in towards the inside of the light to create a finished edge and eliminate the need for cutting.
- Before attaching the cover material, allow children to decorate and draw on the fabric or paper as desired.
- Attach the base material by rolling and gluing the paper around the base or pulling the paper or fabric per the instructions above. See the picture for an example of each method. A ribbon was used to secure the tissue paper example.
- Be sure to mark the on/off button on the flashlight so that little hands can find it. Our examples usedFlashlight initial a sticker to mark the spot. You can also use a marker or cut a hole to expose the switch.
- Further decorate flashlights with more ribbon, stickers and glitter pens as little or as much as youlike.For additional ideas in our examples, we used a star sticker on the face of the ight to create a star projection and added an initial with a glitter pen.
- If you plan to remove the materials from your flashlights after the fun, take pictures so that young ones can enjoy their craftwork later.
Important note: Keep your child’s age in mind when selecting the right flashlight. Construction varies widely. Although you can find flashlights for as little as $1, this may not be a good choice for children under five. You will want to make sure younger children do not have access to batteries and that the top does not come apart easily, exposing children to pieces of glass and light bulbs. If budget is a concern, you can superglue an inexpensive flashlight top closed for safer use. Be aware that if you choose to do so, this flashlight is now for temporary use and you will not be able to change the batteries.