Shrinky Dink Magic

January 9, 2013 at 16:33 | Posted in Crafting, Kid's Arts & Crafts | 6 Comments
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kid arts and crafts, kids activities

My kids had a fantastic time making these “Cool Stuff” Shrinky Dinks! Shrinky Dinks are made out of a special “paper” that shrinks down in the oven, so it’s like making your very own toys! This particular kit has fun robots, vehicles, and other pre-cut shapes to color. The colored pencils come included, so it was a simple project to pull out on a dark, rainy afternoon – and it was also a quick enough project to let the kids do as a reward for getting ready for school really quickly in the morning!

kid arts and crafts, kids activities

It was interesting to watch how my three kids approached this project. My son Johnny (four years old) enjoyed matching the colors to those on the box, while Emma (six years old) and Lily (three years old) took a lot of artistic freedom. Lily sang “The Wheels on the Bus” as she colored this piece:

Kids arts and crafts, kids activities

We do a lot of crafts, but my kids had never seen Shrinky Dinks before this! They were very surprised to see me turn on the oven, so I thought it would be fun to ask them what they thought would happen when we put them in the oven. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: What do you think will happen to them when we put them in the oven?
Emma (6 years old): They’ll burn?
Johnny (4.5 years old): They won’t be like paper any more.
Me: What do you think they’ll be like?
Johnny: Cardboard.
Emma (excited): Wait! Do they shrink?
Me: Why do you think that?
Emma: Because they’re called Shrinky Dinks!

This was a great chance for my kids to practice using their observational skills to make predictions, and to then see their hypotheses tested out! Emma was, of course, correct that the pieces would shrink – here’s Lily playing with the same bus she colored in the previous photo, after it had baked in the oven:

kids acvitivies, kids arts and crafts

Lily’s bus was pretty scribbled together – it’s a very small thing for a three-year-old to color, even pre-shrinking – but the scribbles looked beautiful as a tiny plastic charm. I had heard about Shrinky Dinks from my friends, and after watching my kids enjoy them it’s easy to understand why they are a popular, timeless toy.

All three kids loved how quickly the pieces shrank down to size! It was truly magical for them, and I plan to have the kids make some of these at my son’s fifth birthday party so that his friends can bring home a souvenir they made themselves! Using colored pencils to color the shapes makes this a very low-mess activity, which is always a bonus.

The kit we tried had lots of favorite shapes, and the kids’ favorites were the bugs with pipe cleaner legs – here is a spider that my son made:

kids activities, kids arts and crafts

Several of the other pieces came with hole punches for hanging, also, and my kids are enjoying using these as zipper pulls on their backpacks and lunch boxes.

We have a few shapes left to make, and the kids are planning to make a wee Shrinky Dink town for their creations to wander through, soon! A simple, quiet craft that turns into a creative toy – that’s my kind of project for kids!

Thanks to MaryAnne from Mama Smiles for today’s post. MaryAnne lives near Boston, Massachusetts with her husband Mike and their four children. Before having children she spent most of her time teaching and learning; she has degrees in Music, Education, and Medicine and has taught everything from piano lessons and French to research methodology and ethics courses. She is now a stay-at-home mother, and enjoys the learning, creativity, and play that happens naturally in a young child’s everyday life, which she shares on her blog, Mama Smiles. Follow Mama Smiles on Twitter and Pinterest for creative inspiration!


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  1. I really need to get some of these. They were so much fun as a kid.

  2. Love the spider! And I love how the Shrinky Dinks lead your kids to lots of wondering and discovery.

  3. We love shrinky dinks! Great post…we’ve never thought to add legs.

  4. I love this! Shrinky Dinks are so magical and remind me of my childhood. My kids love them!

  5. These look like so much fun! I love the addition of the legs!

  6. I used to love shrink sinks – why have I not done this with my girls yet? I know they would find it pretty awesome. I must get some.

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