Weekend Fun: Craft Ideas for Kids
As a child, one of my favourite memories was making crafts with my mother. She would pull out the craft chest full of fanciful art supplies and spare ribbons, and we would create away! Little did I know that hours crafting were having a positive effect on my fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, decision-making, and concentration. Arts and crafts are a great way to engage your child’s brain and enhance their development, as well as boost self- esteem and self-expression. You don’t need fancy equipment to inspire creativity and reap those positive benefits at home. A few simple, common tools and a little patience is all that’s required to turn your weekends into works of art!
CRAFT KIT BASICS
Crafting has unlimited possibilities: it can be reimagined by changing just the materials, the theme, the difficulty level, or the creative process. Keeping a few items on hand means that the sky’s the limit when it comes to crafting fun!
Cutting shapes out of paper to make collages or mosaics are simple and fun to do. For more advanced paper crafts, try rolling paper to make beads, weaving paper into baskets, or folding origami flowers and paper lanterns. And newspaper can make a million different papier mâché objects!
Make your own paper lanterns at ecoparent.ca/paper-lanterns
Homemade stamps from found objects or large brushes make painting easy and satisfying, while paint-by-numbers can be made more challenging by reducing the scale or using patterns to fill in the space. Paint your food with edible paint for a memorable meal!
Creating with clay provides a great tactile and sensory experience. Sculptures, ornaments, beads, or pendants can be made using any kind of “dough.” Homemade play dough and salt dough are great pantry-staple options, but edible dough (1 c almond flour, ½ c almond butter, 2 Tbsp honey) makes for a yummy adventure too!
Beads and String
Beads can be made from clay, paper, buttons, or even pasta. Younger children can create strands to develop simple arithmetic and pattern skills, while older kids can create more elaborate projects like chakra bracelets.
Just as with camping, preparation is the key to successful crafting! Plan for an entire crafting weekend, or even just a designated crafting hour: the amount of time you spend can be geared to your child’s interest level. Pick a theme (superheroes, rainbows, or nature) and base your craft(s) and snacks around it, and you’ve got a totally customizable event your child won’t soon forget!
CRAFT THE DAY AWAY
This plan is meant to take up most of the day but go with the flow! If your child loses interest, move on to the next thing, or try again at a later date. Most of all, have fun, be in the moment, and don’t be afraid to get messy!
Pick your favourite woodland animal and sculpt it out of clay. Use books or the internet for some inspiration.
For a simple, naturally scented clay you can make at home, visit ecoparent.ca/play-dough
Bear Cub Chow
Make snack time fun time with a bowl of “bear food”! Have your child mix together small handfuls of dried berries, granola, and their favourite nuts for a tasty woodland treat.
Fresh Air Finds
Head out on a nature scavenger hunt! You don’t have to go far—even your backyard will do! No matter the weather, have your little one look for natural treasures. Leaves, fallen flowers, rocks, or feathers, let their imaginations take the lead! (Make sure to grab some fallen sticks and evergreen branches for the crafts below.)
Teddy Bear Picnic
Toss a blanket on the floor in the family room, the back deck, or the back yard and turn lunchtime into an adventure! Let the kids help in the prep and go with classics like ants on a log and finger sandwiches!
For more on planning a zero-waste picnic, visit ecoparent.ca/zero-waste
Use some of the found objects collected on the nature walk and make a beautiful collage. Feel free to add in other upcycled objects like newspaper, old fabric, string, or dried pasta.
Make Your Own Glue!
Combine 1 part flour with 1 part water and mix well until smooth. If the glue is too thick, add a bit of water until desired consistency is reached.
Turn snack time into an opportunity for artistic expression. Chop colourful fruits and veggies into very small chunks, placing each variety in its own bowl. Have your child smear a plate with edible “glue” like yogurt, honey, or tahini. Offer the bowls to your child and allow them to create a mosaic design on their glue. Then enjoy the fruits of their labour!
Stretch the Imagination!
Alleviate some of those hardworking crafting muscles with a few minutes of gentle stretching. Stick with the theme and try to see how many “nature-inspired” yoga poses you can come up with (there’s a ton!) Tree pose, cat’s pose, downward-facing dog, and butterfly pose are all kid favourites!
Check out Year of the Ox: Yoga Exercise for Kids for more on introducing kids to yoga practice.
Make Your Own Masterpiece
You don’t need store-bought paints and brushes to let your imagination run wild. Turmeric (yellow), cocoa powder (brown), matcha (green), beetroot (red) and butterfly pea (blue) powders, mixed with a little water make gorgeous naturally hued paints. Thicken with a little cornstarch if you’d like them to dry a little faster. And you can make your own paint brushes with the sticks and boughs you collected on your nature walk!
For more on making your own paintbrushes visit ecoparent.ca/natural-paint-brushes
MUSE ON THIS
Remember, crafting is unpredictable and may not go as planned. If the resulting art is not what you envisioned, that’s okay! It’s the process, not the product, of crafting that’s important. If your child doesn’t like their creation, ask why, and discuss ways to change or modify it, start over (more crafting—yay!), or leave it as it is. There are valuable lessons in accepting your art and letting go of perfectionism. Challenge your child to craft out of their comfort zone by exploring a new skill or using a different colour palette or even using their non-dominant hand. Working through the frustration of a difficult craft builds resilience, creativity, and confidence. End the time with storytelling or self reflection. What was their favourite part? Most difficult part? What would they do differently next time? What does the craft say about them or what is the story behind their craft? Lastly, congratulate them, and yourself, on creating a great crafting day!
You may also enjoy: Eco-Friendly Travel Activities For Family Road Trips, Crafting Fairy Houses and Habitats, and Gifts Kids Can Make.