Instead of leaving your trusty hole punch at the office, let your young artist use it to create imaginative projects. As an added bonus, hole punch activities for kids can help your child to develop fine motor skills such as hand strength, hand-eye coordination and dexterity as she exercises her creativity.
If your child isn't old enough to sew, or you simply shudder at the thought of handing over a sharp needle to him, substitute a hole punch and yarn for the real thing. Help your child create a mock paper purse by folding a piece of paper in half to make a pocket or "sew" the edges of a faux quilt together. Have your child punch holes at 1- or 2-inch intervals along the edges of construction paper or card stock. Give your child a piece of yarn to sew through the holes in an over and under pattern.
Hole punches don't just come in the standard circle variety. Craft and art supply stores sell themed hole punches in shapes that feature holiday favorites such as a Valentine's Day heart or a Christmas tree. Have your child use the themed punches to create a festive border along the edges of a holiday card. When she's finished, have her save the punched out pieces of paper and collage them onto a cardboard base, creating holiday art that you can give away as a gift or display.
Help your child to create his own name or write a special greeting using a hole punch. He can use the tool to punch out the letters or use the discarded punch pieces to make glue on words. For the first project, which helps increase hand strength and hand-eye coordination, have your child write individual letters onto index cards or index card-sized pieces of paper. Punch holes over the letter lines, leaving small spaces in between. Line the letters up on a new sheet of paper to create a word. If you want to focus on fine motor control, have him glue left over punched pieces on to written words, covering all of the lines completely.
Hold on to all of the discarded punch pieces that you and your child create during other activities or work projects. Have your child separate the pieces into piles of different colors. Prepare a piece of cardboard or card stock to use as a mosaic base, then have your child draw a simple design out of basic shapes. Fill in each section with glue -- use a paintbrush to spread clear drying, non-toxic school glue across the space -- and stick the punch pieces down using a different color for each section. For example, use green pieces for the grass of a landscape or blue pieces for the sky. Leave slivers of space in between each punch piece to make it look like a real mosaic. Your child will get to work on her creativity, fine motor control and hand-eye coordination as she places the pieces on her mosaic.