Make: Paper Faces from Simple Shapes

Drawing faces is something kids (and the rest of us doodlers) love to do, but sometimes find challenging when staring at a blank piece of paper or drawing prompt. Today we’re making faces a little easier by taking out the drawing piece and using some simple cutout shapes to make paper faces! Minimal prep and supplies make this an easy but creative collage activity that’s endlessly entertaining for kids (and adults playing along). By adding the limitation of using only a few simple shapes the challenge becomes more of a game that can easily blossom into an afternoon-long play experiment.

Materials:

  • Paper (I just used newsprint and some scrap construction paper)
  • Scissors
  • Glue (Optional)

Instructions:

For younger children, start with some precut shapes cut out of a thicker paper or cardstock. I’ve included the link to download our shape template below – in addition to the basic shapes we used in our example, it includes a bunch of mini-patterns for those who want to make more of a game of it! Any simple shape works well, but I’ve found its best to have a few different sizes of circles, some triangles or squares, and a few irregular shapes. We cut out 2 of every shape so we could have some matching sizes (for eyes and stuff) but also be able to have some backups in case of rips, tears or spills. We used newsprint to add some subtle texture, but younger kiddos are going to appreciate bright colors and the shapes more than anything else.

Make endless faces with a few simple shapes! A creative activity for kids via barley and birch

For older artists, its fun to give a few visual examples along with papers of different textures and patterns for them to cut up on their own. I can’t stress the importance of providing a few examples as an introduction FIRST enough. Some kids will be content to just experiment, but others are going to want or need a visual cue. Like a small-scale Pinterest or Google-ing, seeing some references can open doors to ideas and make free exploration feel a little more fun and comfortable.

Make endless faces with a few simple shapes! A creative activity for kids via barley and birch

BONUS:

No matter what age your maker is, watching them go through the process of observation, experimentation and ultimately creating something that’s 100% a product of their own perception is absolutely thrilling. Am I being dramatic? Ok, maybe a little. No though – actually no – its freaking thrilling. Frankly, I get just as enthused watching adults go through this process – its a great reminder that there are endless possibilities and surprises in life. No matter how tired a path or idea seems, people will always surprise you – and those surprises are what make us all smarter, more creative, more empathetic, more connected to each other.

And as an extra bonus, here’s yet ANOTHER super fun face-making game for you and the littles to try…(a word to the serial doodlers out there…its addictive)…