For many years, flying saucers and other UFOs (unidentified flying objects) have been popular with children in preschools and arts and crafts groups. Very easy to make and incorporating recycled household items, they allow youngsters' imagination to run wild and no two creations ever quite the same.
With paper plates being so cheap and easily available, flying saucers are particularly hassle-free, and with a few essential items (such as sticky tape, craft glue, scissors and paint) and other common household bits and pieces, you'll be ready to start in no time.
Although I've listed particular requirements for this activity, apart from the paper plates, you can use what is easily available in your home and incorporate your own ideas. There is no right or wrong way to make a flying saucer: the more individual they are, the more appealing.
Time: About two hours, including time for the paint to dry
Age: 5 - 10's
2 dinner-sized paper plates
1 plastic cup, cut down to half size (for your flying saucer's cockpit)
1 soft drink lid
Several pipe cleaners in various colours
A small piece of coloured cardboard for your alien
Acrylic water paints (I used gold metallic ones, but any colour is perfectly alright)
Coloured beads and craft stones
Glitter glue and / or glitter
Small, wobbly craft eyes
Black felt-tipped pen
Clear sticky tape
Using paper masking tape, attach the two paper plates to each other so they have a hollow space inside. To give my flying saucer a bit more height I also taped a plastic lid to the top which would later serve as a seat for my alien. Alternatively a paper bowl could also be taped on top, to provide more bulk.
Paint your flying saucer. Personally, I feel that metallic paints provide a more extraterrestrial appearance. However, if you don't have any at home just use what you have. Pastel or rainbow coloured flying saucers are also very attractive.
After painting your saucer, leave it until the paint dries.
When the paint has dried, use a black felt-tipped pen to draw windows and some patterns, if desired.
You can now start decorating the saucer with glitter glue, glitter and various kinds of beads and craft stones, if desired.
Using clear sticky tape, you could also add some pipe cleaner antennae.
Using some coloured cardboard and a black felt-tipped pen, draw your alien and cut it out. If you have wobbly craft eyes, these add a humorous touch.
Place your alien on top of the saucer, and sticky-tape the cut-down plastic cup, which will serve as its cockpit. Your flying saucer is now complete.