Papercraft football games to inspire you to stay active

Score a hit with the family this summer and try your hand at handmade paper football games with Creative Park.
A little girl cutting out a template to make a papercraft football.

Summer is here, and naturally, parents are eager to find activities that the whole family can get involved with. Handcrafted games that you can both construct and play together are a brilliant source of fun, and with Canon Creative Park the process is simple and affordable.

Creative Park is packed with free, colourful papercraft activities ready to be discovered and printed out straight from your home printer.

Blogger Fariba Soetan lives in London with her husband and three children and runs the Mixed.Up.Mama blog. Here Fariba explains how she used Creative Park and a Canon PIXMA TS8340 printer for a hands-on sporting family activity day.

1. Choose your kit and templates

Two girls sitting at a table using a laptop.

Whatever your craft skill level, and however long you have to get creative, you'll find a template to suit you on Creative Park.

A Canon printer on a bookshelf next to some houseplants on it, printing out a set of instructions.

It's important to use quality paper, to ensure your creations are strong enough to play with.

Firstly, choose some sturdy paper to print out your games on. Canon Matte Photo Paper is perfect for crafting, as its matte texture makes it ideal for vivid images and graphics.

"The thickness of the paper is really important, to make sure that the cutouts are sturdy and stay together," says Fariba, whose daughters are aged six, eight and ten. The Canon PIXMA TS8340 is ideal for this sort of printing, but any PIXMA printer is suitable.

Fariba says that choosing your football game templates can also be an engaging family activity, with each one displaying how long they take to assemble and their difficulty level, so you can decide if they're suitable for your children.

"The girls were really excited about looking through the website at all the things they could make," she adds. "If parents are browsing with their kids, they just need to note how long each will take and the level of difficulty.

"We settled on the basketball and football games, partly because they looked really fun and also because I thought the level of difficulty was good for a first attempt – to get our heads around how you put them together."

2. Make your mini-game

Using the Creative Park App or downloading from the Creative Park website straight to your computer, you can select your favourite paper art designs and print them directly from your home printer for assembly before the big kick-off.

All you need for your team of crafters is some scissors, glue, a ruler to create the folds, an old ballpoint pen and your game instructions. Then just follow the scissor lines, folds and glue spots to get started.

Two girls gluing targets on a paper football goal.

"My kids are really creative, and these games are a really good way of satisfying that need to create," says Fariba.

Two girls showing off their football papercraft creations.

Discover papercraft family games that are fun both to make and to play - the sense of achievement once you've finished your papercraft creation is second only to the fun you'll have playing with it.

Allocating tasks can help to ensure everyone gets involved. "When we printed out the games, they had really good graphics and the instructions were really straightforward," Fariba says. "The girls were excited about being able to cut out each of the shapes, and it was a good level of difficulty, as I have three girls of different ages and different cutting abilities. The more intricate one was the ball, so that's where my 10-year-old really applied herself. There were bigger pieces, for the goal net, that my six-year-old could cut out.

"It helped that we all had a task that we were working on, and we were all chatting while we were doing it. It means that everyone has something to contribute, which keeps everyone engaged – and stops any fighting about who's doing what!"

3. Host your tournament

A girl preparing to throw a paper football.

"Once we'd completed everything, we took a break, stretched our legs and had a snack, and then came back to play," says Fariba.

Once assembled, it's time to let the games begin! Why not organise a group of friends to keep track of points, or even make your own scorecards to bring your tournament to life?

Creative Park is packed full of other paper templates ideal for arts and crafts sports tournaments – from photo booth props and banners to cheer on players and teammates, through to party hats and megaphones to help create that team spirit atmosphere.

Youngsters can get an extra sense of achievement from playing with something they've made, while also gaining helpful practical skills. "The girls really enjoy painting, sticking and colouring, so the added benefit of having something they can play with afterwards was really great," says Fariba. "There are so many benefits: the cutting, obviously, for motor skills, and just being able to see something being created does a lot for their confidence.

"My oldest was really pleased that she'd created an intricate 3D object such as a ball by cutting it out and putting it together herself. She had a lot of fun throwing it at the target."

4. Make a day of it

A family gathered around a camera, looking at images.

Paper projects such as Fariba's are an inexpensive way to keep your family entertained for hours during the summer holidays. "We made notes of what we want to do next time," says Fariba. "If we've got a couple of hours on a Saturday, or if it's raining, that's the kind of thing we'll be looking to put together."

Three young girls kicking a football around their garden.

After you've made your papercraft games and played them, why not get outside and have a go at the real thing.

Whether you're paper crafting at the weekend or in the school holidays, it's a brilliant idea to make a day of your project and introduce elements such as half-time snacks or a paper trophy for the winner. Why not even document the fun you have on the day by taking pictures and playing together.

And for those family members who really want to get creative, it's a fun idea to personalise the paper cutouts, especially if they want to keep them up after the activity day.

"The football target is still on our wall," says Fariba. "Every once in a while the girls will find the balls and have an impromptu game. The goalkeeper in the football game is a silhouette, but children could draw a face on it or cut out a different outfit. There are loads of things you could do."

If your family needs some creative craft inspiration or is simply eager for something to make and do away from a screen, there's a huge range of fun Creative Park templates just waiting to be discovered and made by you.

Written by Lorna Dockerill

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