You can help the young children in your life make their own pretend flashlights, complete with a reflective lens, using basic craft supplies that you likely already own. Or, start with real flashlights and make them even more fun by placing cutout shapes over the end of a bulb or making a mask to slip over the entire flashlight. Whatever you choose, imagination and a bit of light can make flashlight crafts fun.
A Paper Flashlight
To make a paper flashlight you'll need a toilet paper roll, a small disposable foam or plastic cup, scissors, tape, fun wrapping paper and a shiny sheet of scrapbooking paper. Attach the base of the cup to the toilet paper roll using tape. You may need to make small cuts into the toilet paper roll so that you can bend the end to fit the cup better. Then, carefully trim the top of the cup to resize the head of the flashlight, if desired. Cut your reflective paper to size and tape it to the top of the cup, being careful to tape over just the edges and not over the reflective paper, which serves as the "lens" by refracting other light sources. Cut your wrapping paper to size and tape it around the outside of the cup and the tube. With this craft, you're encouraging imagination and removing the worry of giving small children something with batteries in it. If desired, you can even add a lanyard by cutting and shaping a piece of cardboard for the opposite end of the toilet paper tube. You then cut two small holes in the end and thread through a piece of yarn.
For older children, you may want to start with real flashlights and create crafts that enhance the experience of using light. One craft involves cutting out round circles of heavy construction paper or light foam that are slightly larger than the head of a flashlight. You may wish to add a small tab or handle to hold onto, making the initial shapes look more like light bulbs. From there, children can draw stars, swirls, triangles and other shapes on each circle in marker. An adult or child, depending on the age of your craft group, cuts out the shapes. Now simply hold each disk in front of a lit flashlight to display the designs on walls and other surfaces.
You also can help children create “masks” for their real flashlights. Start by having them draw a large face on one paper plate. Then, cut out the shapes and staple the paper plate to another paper plate to create a cavity large enough to hold a small flashlight. A child can then finish the mask by coloring it, adding sequins, glitter, ears, whiskers and other features. This craft works well with crayons and markers or paint, making it a good option for groups with children of different ages. After the masks are complete, simply slip the flashlight into the center cavity and turn on the light to illuminate each fun design.