Your kids are out of school for whatever reason, and you need something to keep them occupied. Sometimes they can be entertained by a container or two of Play-Doh. Well, as long as you don’t mind them breaking every single unspoken rule, like mixing colors or smashing the beautiful spinach salad you just created before you can even take a picture of it. (Let’s be honest, we all love making kid crafts after the children are in bed).
Depending on the age of your child, many crafts can help you keep them focused and happy, and therefore not prone to mutiny. You may even have fun yourself while getting to spend time with your kids and creating a craft that you can keep as a memory. (The other option is to cover the floor with a tarp, give them the craft supplies, sans scissors and glue, and close the door behind you.)
Tips and Tricks for Arts and Crafts
If your child likes to do things on their own, try not to get frustrated when they don’t place the googly eyes exactly where they’re “supposed” to go. Allow them the artistic license they deserve. It gives them the freedom to do as they like and it lets you relax. Spending an hour trying to convince a child that snowmen don’t have buttons on their forehead is a challenge no one should have to endure, and it usually doesn’t work, anyway. Ten years down the road when you find that funky snowman in a box, you’ll have a good laugh over the memory.
Have fun. Art is messy. That’s one of the main reasons children love it. If you need to prep ahead of time, get them in old clothes that can get tarnished permanently. There will be times when you have to ignore the mess and just focus on the fun. While the crafts are drying, have them bathe and let them play while they wait for the completed project. You’ll avoid fingers covered in paint and glue and phrases like, “I just wanted to see if it was done yet!”
Modeling Dough or Clay Handprint Ornaments
Modeling is a great craft option for all ages. You can purchase individual containers of it in stores, usually for a pretty good price. You don’t have to buy the spaghetti makers and specialized tools for cupcake frosting if you don’t want to. If you have a few molds, the kids will have fun with them. If you’re going to make a keepsake or decoration out of modeling clay (are we all just picturing Play-Doh right now?), there are a lot of options for you.
What You Need
- Modeling clay, Dough, Play-Doh, etc.
- Cookie Cutters are not required but helpful if you’re looking for a theme or specific shape for holidays. (Be ready for requests of their favorite TV Character or toy.)
How To Make It
- Roll out the dough, and shape it into a heart, an oval, or whatever your kid desires.
- If you want to make this craft into something that goes with a holiday theme, you can use holiday cookie cutters.
- Poke a hole in the top middle portion of the shape that is big enough for fishing line or yarn to go through.
- Have your child place their thumb or hand into the dough, making a print.
- If there is space, use a toothpick, pencil, or pen to carve your child’s name or any other message you’d like.
- Leave the dough out to dry. Put it somewhere high…very, very high. And out of sight, if possible.
- Once it’s dry, you can put a string through the hole at the top and tie it, allowing it to hang where ever you’d like.
*For older children, have them build animals or people using the same process. Once the clay dries, your child has a figurine they can enjoy.
Rice Krispies Treats Holiday House
Gingerbread Houses are always a fun option for the holidays. Try using Rice Krispies Treats Original Bars instead of making a batch of your own. It is a fun and easy way to build a house that tends to be a bit stronger and therefore, more suited for smaller kids. The original recipe calls for specific green and red colors, but using an array of colorful rainbow candies and edible decorations will make your house craft an option for more than one month out of the year.
What You Need
- 32 Rice Krispies Treats Original bars
- Nine graham crackers (cinnamon flavored can add a fun look for the roof)
- White frosting, green frosting, red frosting
- Vienna fingers cookies (race track shaped creme-filled sandwich cookies)
- Pop-Tarts Mini Crisps (Frosted Strawberry)
- Keebler Right Bites Fudge Shoppe Brownie Minis
- Assorted cookies for extra decorations
- Assorted Candies
- Peppermint sticks
- Small gumdrops
- Large gumdrops
- m&ms or Skittles (Pick out green and red or keep the rainbow)
- Jelly beans
- Regular marshmallows
- Round peppermint candies
- Chocolate sprinkles or red sprinkles (Get rainbow sprinkles if you’re feeling adventurous)
- Candy Canes
- Twizzlers Pull & Peel
- Shredded coconut flakes
How To Make It
- Front and Back of house
- Stack two of the Krispies bars on top of each other, long sides together (totals 4 bars)
- Roof supports/house peaks
- Cut two squares in half diagonally, making four triangles
- Place two triangles (long sides together) back to back on the front part of the house
- Repeat for the back of the house
- You should now have two house-shaped pieces
- House sides
- Stack four bars on each side to make the outside walls.
- Lightly press all the pieces together.
- Reinforce the Roof
- Use graham crackers to cover the roof
- Should take four small rectangular pieces
- Use frosting to attach it to the house peaks and walls
- Steps in Front, Awning, and Door
- Stack three graham cracker parts to make the steps
- For the awning, place a Krispies Treat at the top of the steps and use frosting to stick it to the front of the house (standing tall and skinny)
- Place one small rectangular graham cracker piece at an angle on top of the Krispies Treat to create a roof for the awning
- Cut off one rounded end of a Vienna Finger to make it flat on the bottom. Put the flat piece on the top step, and you have your door. Use small gumdrop, m&m, or Skittles to create the doorknob.
- Cut the corner off a Krispies Treat
- Place Treat on the roof.
- Decorate (Can use frosting to create brick outline)
- Use frosting, candies, and any additional cookies to decorate the rest of the house.
- You can use the coconut flakes as “snow.”
- Twizzlers Pull & Peels can be used to make bows.
- Green gumdrops with dollops of frosting in between can be used to make snow-topped trees
- Round peppermint candies can be windows
Feel free to make your house longer, or even taller. Show your kids a picture of what you’ll be doing then take them to the store with you. Let them pick out candies and cookies, coming up with ideas on how they want the house to look. (Obviously, you’ll want the power to veto, especially since you’ll be paying for all of it.)
If you’ve ever been to the bird food section of a store, you’ve probably seen a square of suet and a little green cage to place it in. You buy it, thinking it’ll be the perfect treat for the cute little birdies in your yard. You put the square into the cage and find the ideal place to hang it. Then you make a cup of coffee and sit looking out your window. You watch in dismay as the squirrels tear the cage down and obliterate the suet in under two minutes while your cute little birdies fly away to avoid the ruckus.
Making birdseed ornaments is not only a fun project for you and your kids, but it also allows you to create a large batch of different shaped “ornaments.” That means there will be plenty of birdseed for all living creatures that hang out in your yard. Your kids will enjoy making the ornaments, and they will know that their project helped to feed the animals.
What You Need
- 4 cups of birdseed (You can get any kind you want, including bird seed only or with added sunflower seeds)
- ¾ cups of flour
- ½ cup of water
- 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
- 3 tablespoons of corn syrup
- 1 lb of lard
- Cookie cutters (candy cane, tree, snowman, gingerbread man, etc.)
- Cookie sheet
- Parchment paper
- Cooking Spray
- Two or more straws
How To Make It
- Follow the instructions for the gelatin, then add the flour and corn syrup and mix until it becomes a smooth paste.
- Slowly add the birdseed to this mixture until the birdseed is thoroughly coated.
- Melt lard and add to mixture.
- Place the cookie cutters onto the parchment paper and fill with the birdseed mixture. Pack as tight as you can using the back of a spoon to press the blend into the cutter
- Cut straws into 3-inch segments. Push straws into the top ¼ of the cookie cutter, making hole for string
- Leave to dry for 3-4 hours
- Remove straws, and place in freezer overnight
Side note: Cookies should stay solid in temperatures up to 55°F.
If you’ve ever created a project using glue and glitter, you’ll understand why this craft can be so much fun for you and your kids. If the thought of 8 billion pieces of glitter stuck in your carpet or on your dog for the next two years scares you, then this is the project for you. Salt is much easier to clean up, and if you miss a few particles, at least the dog won’t be sparkly purple.
What You Need
- Table Salt
- Paper (Black brings out the colors, but anything dark will work as well)
- White glue
- Cookie Sheet with raised sides
How To Make It
- Put your piece of paper on the cookie sheet so you can contain the salt.
- Draw out your design with a white crayon or colored pencil (Finally, a reason to use the white Crayon!)
- Trace the outline with the glue (make it thick.)
- Sprinkle salt over glue before it dries. (Use a lot since you can use any excess salt for another drawing.)
- Make sure the watercolors have plenty of moisture.
- Lightly paint color onto the salt.
- You can use food coloring and an eyedropper if that’s easier for you.
- Don’t drag the brush over the salt. That will make it smear.
- Get your brushy very drippy, and you’ll barely need to touch the salt with the brush to color it.
- Let project dry COMPLETELY. If you’ve ever used glitter on glue, you understand there’s nothing worse than a kid touching a wet project and smearing it all over the place. (Okay, let’s be honest…this is more traumatic for the parents).
- Spraying the completed project with hairspray will help it last longer.
There are so many different craft ideas available, and we are ever so grateful that most of them are easy and fun to create. Cover the kids up with old clothes, throw a tarp down, and let them have at it. In the end, the loud noises, weird smells, and the big mess will be worth the fun opportunity you gave your children. Soon, they will be begging to create “Best Mom of the Year Awards” and decorating the house for the upcoming ceremony.