Family fun: Bring out your inner artist

Apr 1, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. ET

If you're looking for some fun for the entire family, try a little creative expression. Not sure you have the knack? No sweat! You don't need a degree in art to bring out your family's inner artists.

Mother and daughter doing arts and crafts

Photo credit: Jupiterimages / Stockbyte / Getty images

Art offers a great opportunity to bond, encourage imagination and create new memories when family members participate together. Child development expert Maureen Healy emphasizes the importance of art, especially for children. "Art is the language of children," she explained. "A child learns to communicate, understand and discover his world initially through expressing his unique creativity."

Here are a few ways you can spend some quality time with your family while nurturing their creative side:



Preschool-age kids love to get their hands dirty. Luckily, turning their handprints into pieces of art can be a snap:

  • Use children's clay and Plaster of Paris like one blogger did at Love, Laughter and Literacy.
  • Create and frame simple metallic handprints, like over at Make Life Lovely.
  • Follow the lead of the Trendy TreeHouse and create a bouquet of handprints. Make them on canvas or frame the paper to make sure they last a lifetime.

Grade school

Grade school

Once kids enter grade school, the key message is independence. Through art, they can express their individualism while developing concentration and creative-thinking skills. Here are a few projects they can do with you or on their own:

  • There's a lot you can do with craft sticks. We love The Suburban Mom's idea of making a craft stick picture frame, and your grade-schooler can do it all on her own.
  • Use paper plates to create wind chimes or dream catchers, like you'll find over at The Craft Train.
  • Do you have a little princess or Harry Potter fan on your hands? If so, she'll love to create her own magic wand. Find out how over at Momtastic.

Junior high school and high school

Junior high school and high school

As children get older, getting them to jump onto the family-fun bandwagon gets harder. Pique their interest with projects that offer a bit of challenge:

  • Armed with a bar of soap and a paring knife, your family can whittle their way through soap carving. Get a tutorial at The Wonder Years.
  • With supervision, candle making can be fun for older kids. Chickens in the Road shows you how to make easy container candles.
  • The trial and error of creating a mosaic can be challenging enough to intrigue even a resistant teen. Start by breaking your own glass, like they did at Over the Big Moon. Your teen will probably love breaking the glass just as much as (if not more than) making the mosaic.

Proud of the work you and your family have created? Don't limit your artwork to a wall. Pick up some printable iron-on paper from your local craft or office supply store, scan your artwork and iron it onto a T-shirt for all to see!

More on family activities

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Make-ahead snacks for play dates
Quick snacks for busy kids