Fostering creativity in our children is something most parents strive for. But if you don't feel crafty yourself, how can you infuse them with that spirit? Here are five categories of easy and inexpensive crafts that are great options for what to do on a school PA day (sometimes known as a PD day), rainy weekends or other holidays. Even if you are generally a non-crafter, these ideas are sure-fire ways to help you help your children unleash their inner crafter.
Crafts with String/Yarn
• String art: Tap small nails into a wooden board and let your kids go crazy wrapping them with string or yarn to make shapes, letters or just abstract art.
• Jewellery making: Make knotted, braided or beaded bracelets, headbands, necklaces and more.
• Pom-poms: Once they learn the simple wrap-and-tie technique for making pom-poms (you can find instructions for making them on the Internet), there will be no stopping them. Make garlands, wreaths or other decorations, or add googly eyes and bits of felt to create pom-pom animals.
Crafts with Cardboard
• Props and costumes: You may have to supervise the use of scissors, but cardboard has no limits when it comes to a child's imagination. Add duct tape and it can become anything from masks, swords and shields to restaurant or theatre backdrops, cars, rocket ships or boats.
• Develop a hamster maze.
• Create a marble run with empty papertowel and toiletpaper tubes.
Crafts with Paper
• Papier-mâché: Make paste by mixing flour with water and then cover an inflated balloon with torn-up newspaper pasted on in layers. When dry, pop the balloon and paint it up!
• Make and decorate bookmarks.
• Cut out paper doll shapes and "dress" them with clothes and accessories cut from newspapers and magazines.
• Fold tissue paper flowers.
Crafts with Food
• Make homemade salt dough ornaments: The dough requires only flour, salt and water. Just shape, bake, and paint!
• Prepare homemade bird feeders with seeds and peanut butter.
• Glue pasta together to make shapes, people and animals, or string together macaroni necklaces.
• Build structures with marshmallows and toothpicks.
• Make potato prints by carving shapes into a halved potato, dipping it in paint and stamping it onto paper.
Crafts with Found Objects
• Melted crayon art: This craft is better suited for older children because it involves heat and a potential splattery mess. Hot-glue crayons side-by-side onto the top edge of a canvas then tilt it and heat the crayons with a hair dryer until they melt down the canvas.
• Decorate picture frames with stickers, small stones, sequins, feathers, shells or other small objects.
• Paint canning jars.
• Create colourful pictures using glued-down buttons.
• Add pipe cleaners to the centre of coffee filters painted with water colours to make beautiful spring flowers.
• Cover unattractive binders using fabric remnants (such as strips of cloth from old clothes) and hot glue.
More detailed instructions for these crafts (and many more) are easily found online, and your local Loblaws store can help provide many of the supplies you'll need to get started. Let's get crafting!