Spend a rainy summer day or a snow day indoors, making crafts with your children. Keep a drawer in your home office, playroom or kitchen stocked with crafting basics, such as safety scissors, markers and construction paper, so that you are ready to get creative whenever your children want.
Crafts for the Littlest Children
Once your child is old enough to hold a crayon in her hands, she is old enough to help you make simple crafts. Crafts suitable for toddlers and preschoolers include fingerprints and hand prints. Help your child press her thumb and fingers into a washable, non-toxic ink pad. Guide her fingers over a piece of paper, pressing down to leave a finger print. Let her scribble and draw around her finger prints to make stick figures and other pictures. You can also roll out a piece of oven-bake clay, and press her hand into the clay, leaving an impression. Bake the hand print in the oven to dry and preserve it.
Older children will have fun making crafts that they can wear. They can shape oven-bake clay into bead shapes, poke a hole through the beads with a toothpick and then string the beads together to make a necklace or bracelet. If you are hosting a birthday party, you can buy inexpensive, solid color T-shirts and fabric paint, such as puff paint and let the children decorate the shirts however they would like. Other simple wearable crafts include decorating hats, making friendship bracelets and tie dying T-shirts.
Take the sting out of back-to-school time by having your child decorate his school supplies. If you use brown paper bags, spend a day a week or so before class begins and decorate 50 or so bags with markers, glitter and sequins. Your child will enjoy having a new, exciting lunch bag nearly every day. Buy plain notebooks and binders and spend another day jazzing them up with paint or markers.
Put on a Show
If you anticipate being indoors for at least several days due to bad weather, plan a project that will take a few days to complete. On the first day, make puppets out of unused brown paper lunch bags, glue, markers and any fabric scraps you may have. On the second day, help the children write a short, simple puppet show. Have them perform the show for any adults in the house. Invite other neighborhood children and parents to walk over and see the show.
Break out the construction paper and cut out holiday-themed shapes, either to decorate with right away or save until the appropriate time. If the children are really young, help them cut out jack o’lanterns and any other holiday shapes. If you prefer to make 3-D holiday crafts, buy cone-shaped foam and wrap it in fabric or felt to make miniature Christmas trees. You can also use a foam ring to make a wreath to fit any holiday.
- markers image by Sean Gladwell from Fotolia.com