Wake up your kids’ creative instincts with handmade craft projects that rely on common household materials. Packaged craft kits stifle creativity with their step-by-step directions that create identical projects. Whether you are designing craft projects as a summer camp or you are looking for a rainy day activity to keep your kids from driving you out of the house, a few simple craft supplies and the contents of your pantry and cupboard provide all the tools and supplies you need to create handmade craft projects your kids will enjoy.
Purchased Craft Materials
Keep a supply of craft materials on hand so that you can break them out on rainy days or when kids are bored. A basic craft drawer might include a box of crayons, colored chalk, manila paper, construction paper and craft glue. Sequins, glitter, felt and pipe cleaners give you a bit more flexibility. Be alert at craft and grocery stores for inexpensive additions, such as paper doilies, packs of card stock and plastic beads.
Household staples provide a wealth of crafting materials if you use a little ingenuity. Paper plates, plastic lids and aluminum foil are all raw materials for kids’ craft projects. Cornstarch, flour and food coloring combine to make “slime” or baker’s clay for creating beads, plaques or sculptures. A walk outside can provide baskets full of natural materials for use in craft projects–pine cones to make bird feeders, ferns to make leaf prints and stones for paperweights.
Consider your children’s attention span when deciding on craft projects for them. Younger kids may not be able to maintain focus for projects that take longer than 30 minutes. Break up more complex projects over two or more sessions, or take a break halfway through for a snack or a more physical activity. Kids will return to their craft project refreshed and ready to finish.
Look for crafts that involve few steps, or that focus on simple tasks, such as gluing things together, cutting things out or folding simple shapes. Simplify complex tasks by completing preliminary steps yourself. Cut out shapes in advance, or pre-mix ingredients, such as plaster for leaf casts or flour-and-water clay for baked clay ornaments.
Craft projects reinforce creativity and help children develop self-confidence and a sense of competence. When you choose handmade craft projects that use basic materials rather than purchased kits, you’re encouraging them to be flexible in their thinking, an important component of intelligence. A child who can look at a roll of aluminum foil and see its artistic potential will grow into a creative adult who engages in inventive problem-solving.
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