Craft time!

It’s a rainy day today, so I thought I’d share a little ‘art’ project our children like us to make. Something that uses up any old newspapers, junk mail or pamphlets.

I’m no artist or craftsman so don’t expect some kind of Art Attack or intricate origami. This is just a stick – a newspaper stick. But my kids love them – they’re everywhere in our house!

My grandfather used to make these for kindling in his coal fire and I used to love playing with them (much to his annoyance), recreating Star Wars with my brother. We don’t have a coal fire so my kids can run wild.

Here are the instructions. Brace yourselves!

Follow carefully
Follow carefully

Fold over one corner of the newspaper.


Fold it over one more time.

I knew what I learned at university would come in handy someday.
I knew what I learned at university would come in handy someday.

Then start rolling the newspaper up. Nice and tight. The tighter the better. The tighter it is, the longer it’ll last, the stronger it’ll be and the more satisfying the sound it’ll make when you hit something / someone. My granddad used to fold it super tight. I’m trying to get to his level but it’s a long journey.

Keep rolling.
Keep rolling.

When you get to the end, tape it up to keep it in place.


And you’re done!

Your powers are weak, old man!
I am your father!

It’s pretty weak, isn’t it? But bear with me – it’s a multi-functional entertainment toy! As a stick, it can be a sword, a gun, or a light-sabre.


Make two and you’ve got drumsticks, skis, or helicopter blades.

On the piste.
On the piste.

Educationally, we’ve used them to make shapes and letters, incorporating the total physical response technique to building vocabulary.

Trust me, it's a Z.
Trust me, it’s a Z.

Most importantly, it has allowed me to kindle in my kids a shared love for the awesome Dick van Dyke.

Gor' blimey, Mary Poppins, step in time!
Gor’ blimey, Mary Poppins, step in time!

And when they’re done, throw it on the fire or bin it.


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