20 New Zealand Crafts for Kids

New Zealand, with its stunning landscapes and rich Maori culture, offers endless inspiration for creative pursuits.

And what better way to explore this unique land than through engaging crafts with your kids?

This list provides 20 fun and educational crafts that celebrate the beauty and heritage of Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud).

Celebrating New Zealand’s Symbols

The Mighty Kiwi:

Everyone loves the flightless Kiwi! Make adorable finger puppets, fridge magnets, or even sew cuddly felt Kiwi softies. Use brown, black, and white felt or construction paper, and don’t forget the iconic long beak! For older kids, try a papier-mâché Kiwi using balloons and newspaper strips.

The Silver Fern:

New Zealand’s national emblem, the silver fern, is a beautiful symbol. Cut fern frond shapes from green paper and glue them onto black card for a striking wall display. For a 3D effect, use rolled paper strips to create a fern frond sculpture.

The New Zealand Flag:

Get crafty with the national flag! Use red, white, and blue paint, paper, or fabric to recreate the design. You can even make miniature flag pins or decorate a bucket hat for sunny adventures.

Exploring Maori Art

Koru Swirls:

The Koru, a spiral fern frond design, is a prominent motif in Maori art. It represents new beginnings and growth. Kids can create Koru paintings, draw them on pebbles for a nature walk scavenger hunt, or even use them to decorate homemade bookmarks.

Maori Poi:

These traditional hand-held instruments used in performance are a fun craft to make and play with. Use beanbags and colorful ribbons to create your own poi. Learn some basic poi movements online and have a family poi-dancing session!

Tukutuku Panels:

Tukutuku are decorative panels traditionally used in Maori meeting houses. Replicate the geometric patterns on cardboard using paint, markers, or even colorful paper strips for a vibrant wall decoration.

Māori Tattoo Masks:

Moko (facial tattoos) hold deep cultural significance in Maori tradition. While not replicating actual moko designs, you can create pretend masks with bold swirls and shapes using paint, glitter, or feathers for a dramatic playtime accessory.

Nature’s Inspiration

New Zealand Flowers:

From the vibrant Pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas tree) to the delicate Kowhai, New Zealand boasts stunning flora. Use air-drying clay or paper mache to create beautiful flower sculptures. You can even paint them with watercolors for a realistic touch.

Sea Creature Crafts:

New Zealand’s diverse marine life is a source of wonder. Make playful paper plate fish, weave colorful seaweed decorations from yarn, or create a mobile featuring whales, dolphins, and playful penguins.

Glowworm Caves:

Capture the magic of New Zealand’s glowworm caves with a simple craft. Poke tiny holes in a black construction paper “cave” and stick glow sticks on the back for an enchanting nightlight.

Celebrating Matariki (Maori New Year)

Matariki Star Charts:

Matariki, the Maori New Year, is celebrated based on the appearance of the Pleiades star cluster. Create your own star charts using cardboard or black paper. Punch holes where the stars would be and place them over a light source to project beautiful constellations on the ceiling.

Weaving the Matariki Stars:

Weaving is a traditional Maori craft. Use colorful yarn or pipe cleaners to create a simple star-shaped weaving that represents the Matariki constellation.

Creative Kiwi Activities

DIY Pukeko Puppets:

The comical Pukeko (Purple Swamp Hen) is a popular New Zealand bird. Make adorable sock puppets with googly eyes and felt beaks for imaginative storytelling.

Kea Kea Collage:

The cheeky Kea parrot is known for its intelligence. Create a collage using colorful magazine clippings, feathers, and buttons to depict this mischievous bird.

Cardboard Haka Masks:

The Haka is a powerful Maori dance. Craft fierce cardboard masks decorated with paint, feathers, and cardboard teeth for your own backyard Haka performance.

Beyond the Crafts

Design a Hundertwasser-Inspired House:

The whimsical architecture of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who lived in New Zealand for a time, is a source of inspiration. Use recycled cardboard boxes and colorful paints to create your own quirky and fantas

Getting Crafty with Recycled Materials

Newspaper Kete:

The Kete is a traditional woven flax basket used by Maori. While weaving with flax requires specific skills, you can create a simplified version using colorful newspaper strips. Braid the strips in an over-under pattern to form a sturdy basket for small treasures.

Driftwood Mobiles:

New Zealand’s beautiful beaches offer plenty of natural crafting materials. Collect driftwood pieces and use them to create wind chimes or mobiles. Hang seashells, painted pebbles, or even bottle caps for a touch of coastal charm.

Recycled Cardboard Kiwi Birdhouse:

Give your feathered friends a cozy home with a recycled cardboard birdhouse. Decorate it with paint and natural materials like twigs and leaves to create a charming kiwi haven in your backyard.

Worn T-Shirt Yarn Creations:

Upcycle old t-shirts into colorful yarn! Cut them into strips and use a crochet hook or your fingers to create braided yarn. This eco-friendly yarn can be used for all sorts of projects, from pom-poms and friendship bracelets to woven wall hangings.

Bonus: Learn a Simple Maori Greeting!

While crafting, why not learn a basic Maori greeting? “Kia Ora” (pronounced kee-ora) is a friendly hello that kids can easily pick up. There are many online resources and children’s books that introduce basic Maori phrases in a fun and interactive way.

Embrace the Kiwi Spirit!

These crafts are just a starting point for exploring New Zealand’s rich culture and natural beauty with your kids. Get creative, have fun, and let your imaginations soar! With a little Kiwi ingenuity, you can turn everyday materials into lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for Aotearoa.

Sohaib Hasan Shah

Sohaib's journey includes 10+ years of teaching and counseling experience at BCSS School in elementary and middle schools, coupled with a BBA (Hons) with a minor in Educational Psychology from Curtin University (Australia) . In his free time, he cherishes quality moments with his family, reveling in the joys and challenges of parenthood. His three daughters have not only enriched his personal life but also deepened his understanding of the importance of effective education and communication, spurring him to make a meaningful impact in the world of education.

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