When it’s a rainy Sunday afternoon and you are starting to get a bit stir crazy, it’s the perfect time for a craft project.
You don’t need to be a particularly “crafty” person yourself to help your child indulge their creative side. In fact, most of the action should be the child’s responsibility, with your role limited to preparation and cleanup. There are all kinds of projects you can do from simple, to complex and neat to messy.
Pick whatever suits your mood and allow your child to use their imagination to put their own style on the project. Kids can be engaged with surprisingly simple activities. Less structured projects provide the opportunity for imaginations to grow.
Drawing – white paper and some coloured pencils. Let them draw whatever comes to their minds. Coloured pencils work better than crayons for this, as the drawing can be more detailed and gripping the pencil properly helps develop their fine motor skills for writing.
Cutting and Glueing – child safe scissors, coloured construction paper and a glue stick.
Kids love to cut and glue. Help them choose a piece of paper to be the base of the project. Then they can cut out various shapes and glue them on it. Help them work on properly gripping their scissors and encourage them to cut various types of shapes.
These activities are easy to do and they help kids develop their creativity, dexterity and allow imaginations to grow. It can even help boost their confidence.
If you want something a bit more complex, here are 10 more involved projects you can try with your child.
1. Straw Painting: paper, tempera style poster paint, and a drinking straw.
- Place the paper on a flat surface. Allow the child to place drops of paint onto the paper.
- After the drops are placed the child blows the paint around the paper using the drinking straw.
- You have created a miniature Jackson Pollock!
2. CD Suncatcher: old CD, tacky glue, fishing line and rhinestones or sequins.
- Take an old CD and let your child glue the rhinestones in any pattern that they chose on one side.
- Wait for that side to dry then flip it over and complete the other side.
- When both sides are dry, tie the fishing line through the centre and you have a glittering sun catcher.
3. Salad Spinner Art: old Salad Spinner, paper plate, tempera poster paint.
- Remove the basket from the salad spinner and place the paper plate on the bottom.
- Replace the basket and have your child dribble some paint into the basket.
- Close the lid and have your child give the basket a spin.
- Repeat with other colours of paint until your child is satisfied with their creation.
4. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper: heavy, plain craft paper, tempera poster paint, newspaper or sponges.
- Crumple the newspaper into a ball and allow your child to stamp a pattern onto the craft paper.
- For a more advanced technique have your child help you cut sponges into various shapes and then use them to create a special design.
- Grandma will love it when her birthday present comes wrapped in this special paper!
5. Alphabet Sensory Bottle: empty and clean plastic water or soda bottle with labelling removed, corn syrup, water, A-Z craft beads, glitter, sequins and a glue gun
- Dump the letters on the table and have your child place the letters into the bottle. You can make it a game asking them to find the letters in alphabetical order.
- Add sequins and glitter to achieve your desired level of sparkle.
Fill the bottle half with water and half with corn syrup.
Reseal the lid. If you want to make it less likely to leak or accidentally get opened the adult can use a glue gun to seal the lid closed.
This idea can be adapted by simply using other types of contents.
The alphabet letters give the filled bottle options for games using letter recognition. Sensory bottles are even supposed to help calm your child down.
6. Binoculars: 2 toilet paper tubes, tempera poster paint, string or yarn
- First have your child paint the toilet paper tubes. Any design is fine or you could provide, brown, green and black paint and encourage them to go with a camouflage theme.
- After the paint is dry, cut about 100 cm of string and wrap it in a figure eight around the centre of the tubes to join them together.
- Look for birds or see what you can spy around the house.
7. Key Wind Chime: 5-10 old keys, acrylic paint, stick, string or fishing line
- Have your child paint the stick and each of the keys. The paint must dry on one side of the key before you flip it over and do the other side.
- Use the string to tie each key to the stick, so that the keys dangle and hit each other when vibrated.
- Tie another piece of string around each end of the stick to create a large loop to hang the chime from.
8. Toy Boat: Wide plastic lid (like from a tub of margarine), a drinking straw, construction paper, stickers, scissors, a single hole punch, a small wad of modelling clay.
- Have your child cut a triangle from the construction paper (draw it for them beforehand if they need to follow lines to cut.)
- Decorate the triangle with stickers
- Punch 3 holes along one side of the triangle
- Weave a drinking straw through the holes.
- Put the modelling clay on the plastic lid and stick the end of the straw into it to make the mast of the boat.
- Let them float it in the sink or in a puddle outside.
9. Paper Bag Octopus: tempera poster paint, paper lunch bags, googly eyes, glue, scissors or pinking shears.
- Paint the paper bag and let it dry. Let the child show their creativity and make a whole octopus family.
- Cut the main part of the bag, up to where the bottom is folded over, in strips. Your child can use regular scissors or create a different look by using pinking shears. It is also possible to buy special child craft scissors that cut different borders that could be used for this and many other projects.
- Glue on the eyes and let dry.
- You can display as artwork or use as a puppet.
10. Button Art: Sturdy card stock, coloured pencils, glue, buttons (you can buy bags of assorted buttons at craft stores or online)
- Draw a design on your paper. You could make a tree or flowers or something plain like a heart.
- Glue the buttons on to make the leaves of the tree, the petals of the flowers or simply fill in the heart.
- To make it more durable you could use a canvas panel from a craft store and use paint instead of pencils. A canvas of button flowers would make a nice mother’s day gift.
So the next time you are faced with a rainy day do not despair. These craft projects are fun for kids and can even be fun for parents. Most use items that you are likely to have around the house anyway.
A few basic purchases like coloured pencils, child sized scissors, glue, tempera paint and construction paper can be mixed and matched to complete lots of different kinds of projects. Kids don’t need lots of expensive, specialty craft items to have fun. A little imagination from them and a bit of assistance from you is all it takes.