The best part of creating crafts with children is that while kids are simply having fun, they may also be developing their fine motor skills, their visual motor skills, their grapho-motor skills, their attention skills, (reference1) as well as enjoying creating with others. The trick to successful craft projects for preschoolers is that they are simple enough for the child to create, perhaps with some adult assistance, but that they also present a challenge for the child.
In their book, “The Little Hands Big Fun Craft Book: Fun for 2-6 Year Olds,” Judy Press and Loretta Trezzo Braren suggest craft ideas representing various countries. For Vietnam, they created easy-to-make Swinging Lanterns. In a small bowl, you’ll need to mix some white glue with a little water. Kids use a paintbrush to glue some small torn pieces of colored tissue paper onto white construction paper. After the tissue paper has dried, help them fold the paper in half lengthwise and cut slits, about an inch apart, on the folded edge, stopping about an inch before the edge of the paper. Then they unfold the paper and staple the ends of the paper together to create the lantern. A handle made from a strip of paper is the finishing touch.
Decorated Lunch Bags
Preschoolers will have fun carrying their lunches to school in a bag they’ve decorated themselves. And they’ll also enjoy seeing other family members using them as well. Decorated lunch bags, suggested by Grace Jasmine in her book “Preschool Arts and Crafts,” gives kids a chance to use their imaginations, as well as a variety of art techniques. Possibilities for creating decorated plain white or brown paper lunch bags include drawing on the bags with crayons and/or markers, sponge painting them, and decorating them with stickers or magazine cutouts. Preschoolers who are learning to write letters can write their own names on the bags as well as their family members’ names.
The ladybug creation from Enchanted Learning can be used as a toy or a puppet. After kids paint paper plates red, they decorate them to look like ladybugs with googly eyes, black marker dots, black construction paper legs and chenille stems for antennae. An adult may need to help staple the ladybug together. If the ladybug will be used as a puppet, you’ll need to leave an opening for a little hand.
These basic puppets can turn into any character or creature a preschooler can dream up. The project starts by kids painting, with acrylic paint, a 2-inch Styrofoam ball in which you have poked a child’s finger-sized hole in the bottom and a small slit at the top. While the paint is drying, kids can create their puppets’ head, arms and legs. The head is made from a small circle of craft foam onto which kids can draw a face with markers or paste a picture of a family member. The head, with a line of glue on the bottom, goes into the slit on the top of the foam ball. You can show kids how to make arms and legs by stringing beads onto chenille stems, knotting the bottom and pushing the other end into the foam puppet body.