Cactus plants are a great inspiration for craft projects. They have a fairly simple shape and can complement themes such as a cowboy party or a lesson plan about deserts. Your kids can get creative adding spiky items to make their cacti prickly, or adorning the finished cacti with flowers for a more decorative touch.
A painting of a cactus is the simplest type of cactus craft. Provide pictures of various cacti plants and let your kids go to town drawing their own renditions of cacti. Once each has outlined her cactus plant, mix together special paint for the project. Use green tempera paint and add salt or sand to create a textured cactus paint that will make your finished pictures a little prickly. Small pieces of tissue paper can be used to add flowers to the cacti, and extra sand can be glued to the bottom of the picture for a realistic backdrop.
A relatively easy craft with impressive results is making a faux cactus plant. The finished project is attractive enough to double as a party favor if you use this craft project as entertainment at a cowboy-themed birthday party. Each cactus plant is made from a small Styrofoam egg painted green.
Stick craft wire or pipe cleaners into the cacti to make each one appropriately spiky. You can stop here, or add a tissue paper flower to the top of each cactus. Place the cactus plants in small paper cups painted brown to resemble terra cotta pots and tie a raffia ribbon around each pot for a decorative finishing touch. You can also have each child paint his name and a decorative design onto his cactus pot to keep the crafts from getting mixed up before it's time to take them home.
This cactus craft is perfect for children who are interested in learning the basics of sewing. Not only does the project itself require some very basic sewing, but it also serves to create your child's own pincushion to add to her sewing supplies.
Cut out four oval-shaped pieces of felt to make the cactus. Sew the long side of the first oval on to the second. Sew this onto the third, and so forth until you are attaching the fourth piece to the first one to make a finished cactus shape. Sew the pieces together all the way to the top, but leave a small opening on the bottom. Turn the finished cactus inside out to hide the seams and fill it with stuffing before sealing the bottom.
Prop the cactus up in a miniature terra cotta pot. Fill the bottom of the pot with rocks or sand to keep it from tipping over. When the pot is heavy enough to support the pin cushion, glue the bottom of the cactus to the inside of the pot. The pins and needles that are stuck into the pincushion will serve as the cactus's spikes.