Fun Arts and Crafts Projects to Do With Your Children

By Mary Ann West

Rarely does a child exclaim “Mom, I’m bored!” and not suddenly change their mind when mom replies, “OK, then let’s do an arts and crafts project, together.”

Perhaps what the child is actually saying is that they would like mom or dad to spend a little time with them. Now that you have gained their attention, and they yours, here are some ideas and tips for getting started on that arts and crafts project.

Let’s begin with a few ideas for materials that may be used, many of which can be found around the house. Other supplies may be purchased from your local craft store.

Basic Craft Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Glue
  • Paper Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Magic Markers
  • Clay
  • Play Dough
  • Foam Craft Sheets
  • Plaster
  • Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Tape
  • String
  • Felt
  • Yarn
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Wooden Clothes Pins
  • Pipe Cleaners

Recycled & Household Items

  • Packing Peanuts
  • Dryer Sheets (unused)
  • Coffee Filters (unused)
  • Hair Ribbons
  • Bottle Caps
  • Fabric Remnants
  • Cardboard Canisters (Oatmeal, Grits etc.)
  • Plastic Soda Bottles
  • Coffee Cans
  • Buttons
  • Wall Paper Scraps

Kitchen Cupboard Items

  • Dried Beans
  • Dried Peas
  • Raw Pasta (macaroni, spaghetti, rigatoni, shells etc.)
  • Flour (for home made play dough) Cookie Cutters
  • Food Coloring

Nature’s Items

  • Stones
  • Small Rocks
  • Sea Shells
  • Pine Cones
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Flowers

Decorate with Beads

1. Find objects around the house or from the dollar store, such as a picture frame, beauty hand mirror, vase, or anything that can be fancied up.

2. Spread glue on the surface to be beaded, a white glue works best.

3. Sprinkle or place the beads onto the glued surface and allow to dry.

4. Shake off any loose beads.

String Beads

1. Use colorful plastic string and thread beads to make necklaces, bracelets, and key chains.

Fun with Foam

1. Purchase colorful arts and crafts foam sheets from the craft store.

2. Draw shapes of butterflies, ladybugs, flowers…anything at all on the main sheet.

3. Cut out the shape and choose various color sheets for the different parts to be added to the main piece i.e.: eyes, antennae, designs, etc.

4. Use a hole puncher to punch out black foam for the eyes.

5. After all pieces are cut out, glue each piece on top of the other.

6. Cut pipe cleaners and glue them on for antennas or flower stems.

Foam Refrigerator Magnets

These fun and colorful bugs and flowers make adorable kitchen magnets, simply glue a magnet on to the back. You can find magnetic strips at the craft store.

Foam Greeting Cards

Foam art also makes a very special greeting card. Just fold a sheet of card stock in half, Have the child write inside of the card and use the foam creation as a cute embellishment for the front of the greeting card.

Dryer Sheet Butterflies and Flowers

1. Take a dryer sheet and hold it the long way. Scrunch the middle by pinching with your fingers and clip it together with a clothes pin to form a butterfly.

2. Use pipe cleaner’s for the antennas and glue felt dots on the peg shaped head of the clothes pin for eyes.

3. Use water color paints and make random marks on the wings

4. Repeat for flowers except use the pipe cleaners for stems.

5. Makes a great magnet or are fun to hang using yarn or twine for as a decoration or ornament.

Coffee Filter Butterflies and Flowers

Repeat above steps except substitute unused coffee filters for the dryer paper.

Packing Peanuts

Save a few packing peanuts you get from ordering products.

1. Paint the peanuts with craft paint.

2. Allow your child to glue packing peanuts to construction paper.

3. Use the ones with holes to string a necklace with yarn or twine.

Bottle Cap Magnets

1. Paint bottle caps different colors and allow to dry thoroughly.

2. Lay the caps down on a table painted side up. Use your imagination and form a shape, pattern, flower or car with the caps.

3. Once you have a shape that you like, glue the caps side by side, allow to dry and then use felt as a backing by outlining the bottle caps on to the felt. Glue to the back of the caps and trim.

4. Glue a magnet to the felt for a refrigerator.

Macaroni Picture

1. Glue macaroni or any raw pasta to card stock or construction paper to make unique art designs. The pasta may then be painted different colors.

Macaroni Necklace

1. Paint macaroni different fun colors.

2. Use yarn to string through any pasta that has a hole. Make fun bracelets and necklaces.

Wall Paper Fan

1. Cut a piece of wallpaper into a rectangular strip, or use left over wall paper border.

2. Fold like an accordion and fold in half

3. Glue gun the bottom folds together. Allow to dry.

4. Spread open and you have got a lovely fan.

Rock Painting

Make fun things with rocks or stones Search the back yard or buy smooth stones at the dollar store.

1. You could paint funny faces on them

2. Glue felt legs and a head to make a turtle paper weight.

3. Paint on hearts or flowers for a valentines day gift.

4. Glue on glitter or sequins for a really pretty design.

Baby Doll Cradle

Make a cradle for a small baby doll with an oatmeal canister.

1. Parent simply cuts out about 3/4 of the box into a square with a small paring knife.

2. Have child assist with painting inside and outside of canister.

3. Glue lace around cut edges of box. Use fabric remnants for pillow and baby cover.

4. The child may like to place hearts and flower stickers on the baby cradle.

5. Now place a small doll in the cradle and have child rock the baby doll to sleep.

Toy Soldier Ornament

Use the type of wooden clothes pins that do not have a spring.

1. Cut out strips of black felt and glue to bottom of pin for pants, and a smaller piece for arms and glue.

2. Wrap a piece of red felt to the upper body for the jacket and glue.

3. Glue a black pom-pom on the top of peg for a hat.

4. With a fine tip magic marker make two black dots for the eyes and use a fine tip red marker for the mouth.

5. With string or braided cord glue a line going down the sides of each leg. Use the remainder of the string as a loop to hang on the ornament on the Christmas tree or any place that your child may enjoy.

Fancy Pencil Holder

Put to use those plastic canisters for iced tea and powdered drink mixes. You can also use the plastic soda bottles but an adult will have to cut off the top half.

1. Glue Popsicle sticks all around the entire periphery of the plastic container.

2. Paint the sticks and allow to dry.

3. Add some decorations to them, such as silk flower petals, old buttons, or use dryer sheets and paint with soft pastel water colors. Glue the dryer sheets over the sticks gently to form a decoupage look.

4. You could also embellish with sequins, beads, sea shells or glitter glue.

Just a reminder that some projects are best suited for older children. The idea is that the parent and child spend time and work on a fun arts and crafts project together. Parental supervision was in mind when suggesting these craft projects. Never leave small children unattended with small objects that may be swallowed or with scissors and glue.

Let your child give away some of their creations to grandparents, aunts and uncles as a way of saying I love you. The recipients of your child’s small labor of love will certainly be much appreciated.

These simple and fun activities will hopefully spark a host of other ideas that you can come up with to make with your children. Allow them to use their imaginations and realize that it’s OK if everything does not come out perfect the first time. Reassure them that with more practice, your works of art will turn out just fine.

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