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10 Fun Projects for Your Kids Using the Computer and Printer
So often we think of the computer and printer as office tools meant for work and work alone. You may use it to make a budget, a grocery list or manage your finances, but the thought of doing something fun with your office equipment may never cross your mind.
So often we think of the computer and printer as office tools meant for work and work alone. You may use it to make a budget, a grocery list or manage your finances, but the thought of doing something fun with your office equipment may never cross your mind. You can show the real versatility of your computer and printer to your kids by trying out some of these fun projects. They’re easy, cheap and a lot of fun to do—for both you and your kids! Color It In A simple project is to do a search online for “coloring pages.” You should find some simple outlines of images. Save them to your desktop, print them out and let your kids have fun! Make sure you show them the process of finding and printing the images though, because that’s half the fun! Make sure to use draft printing mode from your printer software if you want to save on your printer ink. Calendar If you have an older child, making a calendar on the computer together might be a fun project. Select some pictures together. They can be some fun pictures you find online or maybe some family photos. Come up with a layout for the calendar, there are many templates available for this in programs like Apple iPhoto or even Microsoft Publisher. Once you have finished the entire year, print it out on some nice glossy or matte photo paper and either bind it or keep the sheets separate to hang up. Scrapbooking This is another project for older children and it’s really quite involved. In fact, if they enjoy it, it can be a hobby they’ll continue into adulthood. Start by using some template pages in your favorite photo editing program. Or, search online for some template you can use in Word or what have you. Once you have some templates, find images and decorative borders you can include. Finally, select the family photos you’d like to incorporate and get to work. Write a Book Okay, so you don’t have to write a novel here, but it can be a fun way to have fun with your kids. Come up with a fun story together. Prompt your kid to come up with an idea for a character. Once you have a great character in mind, think of all sorts of fun adventures this character could have. Write out these ideas with your child or have them do it if they’re old enough. Finally, type if all on the computer, add pictures and print it out. You can make a little flipbook as a keepsake. Playing Cards This one’s easy and a lot of fun. Get some thicker printer paper and do a search online for playing card images. Print them out and cut them out. Or, you can come up with your own card game. Print out each card and enjoy playing for a long time thereafter. Make Your Own Stickers If you have some label sheets for your printer you can easily design your very own stickers. Take some of your favorite images or maybe even draw some of your own. Have your child draw some pictures, scan them in and then print them out on stickers. It’s a great way to make a lasting imprint of your child’s artwork. Origami One fun way to use your printer and challenge both yourself and your kids is to print out some origami patterns. Sometimes, those written instructions can be confusing so a printed page with folding instructions can be helpful, especially for origami beginners. Make a Mask Have your child design a mask on the computer. Come up with an outline for the mask. Just the basic shape will do. Then, have your child add pictures of their choosing, or maybe even scan in a few drawings of theirs. Once your child gets everything on the mask outline as they like it, print it out. Punch some holes on both sides and add a string to tie it on with. Voila! Instant mask! Paper Dolls Draw a simple outline of a person either on the computer or on paper and then scan it in. Have your child add features to the paper doll person. And then print it out. Design some clothes on the computer too. Again, it’s simple, just draw some simple clothing shapes and have your child fill them in with color, or it can be more elaborate with designs. Programs like Paint works well for this. Next, print out the work and attach it to the dolls! It’s fun and simple. With so many different colors, shapes and sizes, this can be a great project that can take hours. Just make sure that your child does not end up wasting a lot of printer ink cartridges and photo paper by not using all those images they print with your printer. 3D Models This one is for the older child or the more dexterous of children. Do a search online for 3D models that you can print out. I know there are some great ones for the Star Wars series. You can print out the various parts of the model, cut each one out and with some careful folding (and gluing) you can have a realistic looking model made just out of paper. Again, this isn’t for the little ones, but it can be a fun and inexpensive project to tackle with your older kids. Here are some good