Making crafts with a toddler or preschool-aged child is a great way to bond with her. Doing crafts will also keep her occupied, preventing her from becoming bored and getting into mischief. The benefits of craft projects also extends beyond keeping a child busy. Children who make crafts develop good motor skills as they learn to take pride in making things.
Little Kid Craft Supplies
You never know when a rainy day or a sick day will strike, so it is a good idea to keep craft supplies on hand at all times. Coloring books, washable markers and crayons, construction paper and child-friendly scissors are all essential crafting materials. You may want to also keep pipe cleaners, pom-poms and googly eyes on hand for making silly puppets and toys. Store the craft supplies in a drawer or cabinet that a small child can easily reach.
Construction paper is inexpensive and provides plenty of crafting opportunities for little children. At Thanksgiving, you can trace a child’s hand onto a piece of construction paper, cut it out and decorate it to make a turkey centerpiece. You can also use the paper to make Christmas, Hanukkah or Valentine’s Day decorations or cards. Use cookie cutters to trace shapes, cut them out and hang from a wire hanger to make a mobile. You can also fold paper to make a silly sailor’s hat or cut it out into a crown shape.
Crafts Made of Clay
One great thing about modeling clay and craft clay, such as Play-Doh, is that a child can use it over and over, as long as it does not dry out. Children can use clay to make little figures and act out play scenes with them. They can also use modeling clay to make jewelry. They can also use oven-bake clay to make permanent shapes, such as beads. With adult supervision, a child can watch the clay as it dries out and hardens in a regular kitchen oven.
Preschool-aged children can handle beads with large holes. You may want to skip working with small seed beads or other delicate beads, since a child could have trouble threading them. Tube-shaped pasta is a fun alternative to beads. If the child is still at the age where he puts small objects in his mouth, it may be a good idea to make bracelets and necklaces from ring-shaped pieces of cereal. You can also teach small children how to braid and tie knots by showing them how to make simple friendship bracelets.
Trash to Treasure
Don’t throw out empty paper towel or toilet tissue tubes. You and a child can turn them into pretend telescopes or binoculars. Cover one end of an empty tube with a piece of tissue paper and secure with a rubber band. Fill the tube with dried beans or small beads and cover the other end with tissue paper to make a simple noisemaker. Cut the cups out of egg cartons and thread onto pipe cleaners to make recycled flowers.
- kid’s red heart cutout image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com