Look what I made!
Think tearing kids away from electronic games and devices is an uphill battle? Try luring them away with some old-fashioned crafty fun! It’s almost impossible for kids to resist stacks of colored paper, glitter and glue. As an added bonus, some studies actually show that engaging in artistic pursuits can train children’s attention and improve cognition.1
But all they need to know is that it’s just plain fun to get a little messy and make pictures with finger paints!
You can simply purchase a random supply of arts and crafts materials like glue, washable markers, paper, sketch pads, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, craft yarn and stickers and let your child or grandchild be inspired to create an original work of art. But it’s also fun to do a little research and choose some pre-planned projects you know your kids will enjoy making.
Consider the age of your children or grandchildren when choosing the projects. Sometimes you can “scale up” a project meant for a younger child by adding different, more difficult or elaborate techniques. This way one project can appeal to all your kids, not just one, which makes planning and buying simpler.
For example, small children love to finger paint. Usually they end up being swirly, colorful, impressionistic masterpieces! Older kids can work on making actual shapes and forms instead of going for swirls and squiggles. Or they can make “thumbprint people”! As the name suggests, kids simply make multiple, distinct thumbprints on paper using finger paint. Once dried, they can add arms, legs and faces to the thumbprints using markers, then add backgrounds and context for the round little thumbprint community they’ve created!
Another fun craft that can be scaled up is the paper plate pumpkin—perfect for fall. Find orange and yellow paper (it could even be scraps of paper from flyers or old wrapping paper) and have the kids rip it into small squares. Then comes the fun part! They just glue the squares onto the back of a paper plate, making sure to layer and overlap to make an interesting, mottled look. Once all the paper is applied and there are no bare spots, “paint” a thin layer of white glue over top of the paper. This will seal all the edges that may not have been properly glued down. A green paper stem glued on top completes the project! Older children may wish to design and add a jack-o-lantern face to the pumpkin using black paper, or embellish their pumpkin with glitter accents, ribbon or stickers.
Create an ever-changing art gallery in your home by putting up a corkboard in your kitchen or family room where the newest pieces of art can be proudly displayed for all to see. It may remind your kids that art is both fun to create and beautiful to look at—and might even inspire more artistic endeavors from your budding Monets and Van Goghs!
410145 CAN/US (04/15)