Crafting with small children can be an exercise in patience. Surprisingly, it’s not always the enjoyable, tidy endeavor Pinterest would have you believe.
But we’re here to help. Here are eight crafts you can do with your kids that won’t make you want to scream into a bag of pom-poms. They’re easy to do (I’m not one for tedious labor), fun and cute. Basically, they’re winners, and after you complete them, your children will adore you for being the best.
I love organization, so stashing craft supplies in a mobile shelving unit (like this one from Michaels) is a great way to get started. Now my kids and I just pull our craft cubby up to the kitchen table when we’re doing a project. For more tips on setting up an art space and sorting supplies, check out this blog post from craft supply site Ooly.
Mason jar aquarium
There’s just something cool about making a tiny ocean environment in a jar! Plus, now you have a use for all those Mason jars left over from your wedding. (Or your sister’s wedding or your third cousin's — look, you probably know someone who had a Mason jar-strewn wedding.) Start your aquarium with some rocks or other ground cover, add plastic plants (like from a pet store) and sea life figurines. Tiny whales are the cutest! Then fill the jar with water and blue food coloring. You could also add glitter (and a few drops of glycerin, which makes the glitter move more slowly). Now screw the lid on and voilà — you’ve got an aquarium! Great for the child who’s always asking for a fish. Get the nitty-gritty at Hello, Wonderful.
Felt play cookies
These felt cookies from Life Is a Party have faces and are therefore too cute not to include. If your kids are anything like mine, they love chocolate chip cookies, and they love their play kitchen. Boom, felt play cookies FTW. The embroidered faces may have to be done by a parent (unless you’ve got an older kid who knows their way around a needle and thread). If you want to cut out the sewing, I’ve found that hot gluing felt works well, it just doesn’t look as nice and finished. If you love the way your cookies turn out, get crazy and make felt pizza slices, felt donuts… the sky’s the limit on fake food, guys.
DIY surprise bath bombs
These are so popular right now, but buying bath bombs can get pricey. Why not put your kids to work and make your own fizzies? This is a craft that you’ll actually want to use yourself. Plus, after you use it, it’s gone and you don’t have to worry about sneaking it into the trash. There are so many cute variations out there, but the girl. Inspired blog has a nice tutorial for kid-friendly bath bombs featuring confetti and a surprise inside! Mom will love the sweet orange and rosemary scent.
DIY fairy home & garden
Maybe you can’t have your own HGTV-ready tiny house, but you can make one for a pretend sprite, damn it. Channel your inner Joanna Gaines and put together an adorable abode. OK, you can let your kid help too.
Living Well Mom has a fun tutorial incorporating a Popsicle stick/Kleenex box house into a small container filled with dirt. Add rocks or glass stones for paving stones, glue some button chairs and maybe plant a few little things. You can really customize this and go as crazy as you want, which in my case is pretty crazy.
Good, old-fashioned God’s eye
Remember making these yarn delights at camp? Grab some Popsicle sticks and get nostalgic! Yarn crafts are pretty cool right now, so you could potentially display your child’s handiwork in your home. For instructions on exactly how to wrap the yarn (or ribbon or other weaving material), visit PBS Parents.
What is it about slime? This sensory experience will never get old. Take it up a notch by putting some glitter into the mix! You only need three ingredients to make glitter slime: glitter glue, Borax and water. The 36th Avenue blog has the down-low on this squishy activity. It’s a simple mix, and even toddlers can squirt the glitter glue into the bowl. When you’ve finished playing, you can store your slime in old glass baby food jars or those Mason jars we mentioned.
This craft is great for the littlest ones. Have your child find a cool stick outside, then wrap the stick with masking tape, sticky side out. Gather decorative materials on a nature walk or just a jaunt around your yard. Your little one can simply press their materials to the wand. Feathers, leaves, shiny rocks… anything that strikes their fancy. Speaking of fancy, if you’ve got more of a glam indoor kid (as I do), you could do fairy or princess wands, substituting natural materials for things like plastic gem stones and glitter. Wands come in handy for all sorts of pretend play! Check out the blog Laughing Kids Learn for more details.
So cute! Pom-poms are so hot right now, so your craft-savvy child will enjoy making fluffy bunnies from them. This tutorial and template from Designs by Miss Mandee shows you how to make a garland out of the bunnies, but you could also just play with them or include them in spring decor or Easter baskets.
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