Guest piece from Annabelle Short
What are your feelings about doing craft activities with your kiddies? Maybe you think they’re fun and you love the quality time they give you. Or perhaps you can’t imagine anything more stressful than glue, glitter and bits of paper set free in the hands of your son or daughter!
Whatever your opinion on them, amazing things can happen when you engage your children in crafts. Imagination ignites as your creativity, and theirs, is set free. Language develops naturally and hopefully laughter will flow as you enjoy your precious time together.
So to lessen the potential stress and get those creative juices flowing, we’ve come up with a list of crafts that are guaranteed to be fun to make!
1. Erupting Volcano
An absolute favorite with children from 3 and up is the volcano that actually erupts! Not only is this a fun activity but it’s also got the added bonus of helping to bring geology and science to life. Having a good amount of spare time is essential for this activity, especially considering the 24 hours needed for the papier mache to dry! It’s a good idea to make it outside but if you do choose to do it inside, you might want to use a high sided tray to catch the “lava”. Wherever you decide to build your volcano, be prepared for explosive fun!!
2. Thankful Hands (and feet) Turkey
With Thanksgiving getting closer, why not make a thankful hands turkey – a great way to get the little ones to think about being grateful while you get to keep a memento of their early days! You don’t need a lot of resources for this, just some construction paper, googly eyes, pencil, scissors and glue. Follow the link to the basic pattern but use the cut out fingers to record exactly what your child says when you ask them what they want to say “thank you” for.
Creative tip: If you want to make it more interactive for your son or daughter, let them make hand and footprints with paint and cut them out when they’re dry. Be prepared for squeals of delight!
3. Felt monster
Hallowe’en just got cuter with these imaginative monsters! Making a felt monster is a fantastically fun way to get your kiddies sewing. Being as creative as possible, they’re free to bring their imagination to life with the only rule being that the monster needs to be unique! This pattern from It’s Always Autumn is brilliant as it also gives you tips to adapt the activity for older or younger children making it fun for everyone.
4. Nursery Rhyme Finger Puppets
Young children love rhymes … and they especially love being creative with the rhymes they’ve learned! Enchanted Learning has links not only to templates for the paper finger puppets but also the rhymes they relate to. The fun can go on and on with this craft activity – you and your child are going to love it! You could start with introducing the rhyme then making the characters for your little one to join in. Then encourage them to retell the rhyme to you or even make up their own version. If you’re feeling especially creative, you could make a puppet theater like this one from First Palette.
5. Food Groups Mobile
Nobody can ignore the importance of teaching our kids about healthy diets and keeping fit. A food group mobile is a great way to get them thinking about the foods they’re eating while you’re being creative together. DLTK have these fantastically easy-to-follow basic instructions that you could easily adapt.
- Tip #1: If you’re looking to up the ante on the fun and interactivity element, think about using a variety of media. For example, cheese would look great if you used a sponge to decorate with yellow paint.
- Tip #2: For older children, use all the food groups and see how many foods they can think of that belong to each group.
- Tip #3: Take the opportunity to make it purposeful. Tell your little ones that you need them to help you make the mobile to hang in the kitchen for you to check all the meals have a healthy balance.
6. Finger Paint Family Portrait
Who doesn’t love a picture of the family painted through the eyes of a child? My favorite one so far has to be my daughter’s wonderfully creative image of us playing in the park with Daddy snoring on a nearby bench! So this activity takes it a step further. Finger painting creates a tactile learning base for children and makes fantastic pictures that you can frame and display. Use primary colours for your child to choose to dip their fingers into to make heads and bodies. You could add the finishing touches or if you’ve got an older child they can draw on the legs, arms and faces with a fine tipped marker – they could even write the names of the family members under each one. Remember to include the pets too!
7. Laced Christmas Stocking
All Kids Network feature this effective, yet simple personalized laced stocking for children to make. Lacing the edges of the stocking not only allows children to be detailed in their decoration but also helps them to develop essential fine motor skills. Every child is proud of themselves when they write their own name, and they’ll feel even better when it’s displayed on their very own homemade stocking with the rest of the Christmas decorations. For an extra touch you might want to add some unique labels to the stocking for added flavor. Children are sure to love sticking the cotton wool topping on the stocking and there’s plenty of room to add in more creative decorations.
- Tip #1: Make your own Christmas themed stampers by cutting into potatoes and set your child printing patterns in paint on the stocking.
- Tip #2: Add a little festive sparkle. Put a sheet of paper under the stocking to catch the spillages then add a pattern with glue and sprinkle with glitter.
Remember that crafts with your children can be a fun, positive learning and bonding experience.
The more organized, positive and creative you are, the better that experience will be!
About the Author
Annabelle Short is a mother, traveler, seamstress, and blogger at Wunderlabel UK. She enjoys cooking with the family and getting everyone into the van for summer road trips across the US. She has a special place in her heart for chevron quilts.