I am not a fan of public speaking!!! When I was asked to fill in and speak to our MOPS group about activities to do with your kids I decided to go ahead and give it a try. To my surprise it was not as scary as I thought it would be. After speaking one of my friends asked if she could e-mail my power point to some of her out of town friends. I told her that I could put it on my blog, sadly that was about 2 months ago. But better late then never right? I hope it encourages you to try a few new ideas with your kids.
I know I did not need to add this slide of my boys but I just love this picture. Its so hard to get a good picture of three little boys and they are just so darn cute here!
Here is a list of my must have craft supplies. There are so many different kinds of craft items (and I have bought a LOT of them) but these are our tried and true. Most of them are self explanatory but I will add a little more information about a few:
- Tape: I would recommend buying the cheapest tape possible. I found a bunch at a garage sale once and it was one of my favorite finds. My boys love to tape everything.
- Shaving cream: not general considered a craft supplies but its very versatile. Here is a link I just found for 20 activities to do with shaving cream.
- Table cloth: I bought a thick vinyl table cloth that I always throw over the table when we are doing a messy craft. Its truly a life saver for me because I do not need to worry about what might happen to the top of our table.
On a side note I want to recommend not spending money on the color wonder products. The idea behind them is great but we have tried a few and my boys do not like them because there is such a delay in the art showing up on the paper.
If you are not using Pinterest you should! Even if all you do is pin fun ideas to do with your family its totally worth it. There are more ideas then you can imagine on Pinterest. Here is a link to what NurtureStore thinks is the top 10 pinterest board for parents. But watch out because it is addicting!
Letter of the Week! This is one of my boys favorite craft activities. We started following the amazing step by step instructions from notimeforflashcards.com. Now my five year old enjoys coming up with his own ideas for each letter.
Hand and Foot Print Art. I do not think there is anything sweeter then using your kids hand and foot prints to make gifts and cards for family. Plus my boys get a big kick out of painting their hands and feet.
Use what you have around the house. You do not need to buy lots of extra stuff for kids crafts. Let them use their imaginations!
- My boys love to decorate houses for their toys by cutting pictures out of used magazines and gluing them to the inside of an old cardboard box.
- When you have left over pasta throw it in a bag or box and let your kids use it to make their own pictures or draw a picture and have them over it with the noodles.
- My son loves going through our recycling box and pulling out anything that catches his attention and making all sorts of amazing stuff. (This is where you want to have lots of cheap tape on hand).
- Use items from around the house to paint with. Noodle painting, cars tire painting, bottom of a bottle painting, kitchen utensil painting, pasta stamping.
- The snowman was made with a fun puffy paint made my mixing glue and shaving cream.
- Paint with water. This sounds so simple and not super excited but my boys always love it. It works well on colored construction paper, chalk boards, a wood fence, driveways and sidewalks. Its also great when you have a little one who wants to paint but is not quite trustworthy enough to have paint.
What do you do with all the art you make? We like to hang it up in place of honor for a few days (like our masterpieces wall) and then throw it away. For my boys I think that the process of making the art is more important then the finished product. However, if you want to hold onto it for a while get some clean pizza boxes and slide them under your sofa. Then you can put their art in the box and when its full go though it and pick out your favorites to keep. I also love the idea of taking pictures of your kids art, and them uploading them to a digital picture frame so you can continue to appreciate the art without all the clutter. If you want to be creative with your kids art I found a site that has 30 ideas to Upcyle Toddler Art.
Its also important to remember that the craft does not need to end up looking like you envisioned it. I am a perfectionist so it was hard on me at first not to “help” things turn out like I wanted them too. But I have discovered that even though something might look “wrong” to me my boys normally have a good explanation as to why they did it the way they did.
Fun gift idea! Its always nice to give a loved one a hand made gift but sometimes you also want it to be something they are proud to hang on the wall. My boys loved helping me make this for a family friend for Christmas. I blogged about making it and linked to the tutorial here so you can check out directions if you want to give it a try.
Busy Bags! This is a great group project. A few of my friends and I decided that we wanted to make some busy bags for our kids. The first thing we did was pick a date to meet and what projects we were each going to do. We had eight kids between all of us so we each picked two different busy bags and made eight copies of them. Then the best part was we meet for a Mom’s night out and dessert one night and exchanged our bags. Now I am slowly bring out the activities when I need a few minuets of undisturbed time. For some busy bag ideas check here, here, and here.
Cheerio Towers. Who know that little boys would spend hours playing with play doh, cheerios, and spaghetti noodle? If you want to know more check out my previous blog post about cheerio towers.
Some of the hardest time with little ones is when you are stuck inside the house. I have found its always good to some activities set aside for when cabin fever sets in.
- I love this “laser beam challenge” that was part of a super spy training birthday party created by chicken babies.
- Marshmallows and toothpicks! I never would have thought of this but my boys loved it (but expect a lot of the marshmallows to magically disappear into your little ones tummy’s)
- Balloon ping pong from The weekend homemaker.
- Something as simple as a flashlight can keep kids entertained for hours. My boys love to “look in dark places” around our house.
- A straw and a feather. Have some races to see who can blow the feather from one spot to another first.
- Have a letter or color scavenger hunt.
- Play hot lava with all of the cushions and pillows in your house.
Chances are if you are stuck inside your house will be a mess. I recently found a quote that I love (and plan to put up in my house soon):
Please excuse the mess. The children are making memories.
Bath time is not just for getting clean. On a really bad day I find the best thing to do is throw my kids in the bathtub. My boys favorite thing to do in the tub is glow sticks. Everyone that I know that has tried using glow sticks in the tub say their kids have to be pulled out of the tub after an hour of playing. My boys also enjoy painting in the tub. And you can add some food coloring ice cubes for color fun in the tub.
I personally do not like painting with sidewalk paint but my boys beg for me to make it. When you start painting the color is a little dull but it brightens up after a few minuets. The first time my boys tried the sidewalk paint I was surprised how easily they cleaned up afterward with a wet wipe. However, the last time they did it my littlest spent more time painting his hair then the sidewalk, so they had to take a bath when they were done.
My boys love going on walks and having scavenger hunts. An easy one to do is take an old egg carton and color each of the holes a different color with marker. Then have them try to find something that matches each color (I do not advise doing this on a windy day because things will blow away). We also did the brown paper bag scavenger hunts and that was a little better because they did not lose their “treasures” to the wind.
- Fun sidewalk activities
- Freeze toys in large ice blocks for the kids to play with outside on a hot sunny day.
- Making your deck into a game board.
- Here is a link to 75 great activities to do with your kids. I really love this list and can not wait to try out some of the ones we have not done yet.
Sometimes I think its important to take a day and make it memorable. My boys love theme days! We have only done a few but they can’t stop talking about them. Our big day was a Pirate day and we spend the whole day being pirates and doing pirate activities. (I hope to blog about it someday but have not had time too). We also did a smaller theme day and acted out The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle. The boys made caterpillars out of pipe cleaners, puff balls and googly eyes. Then we went outside and read the book. After that the boys ran around the yard “feeding” their caterpillars.
Crafting is something I enjoy and therefore enjoy doing it with my boys. I know that not everyone feels the same way, but I think its important to figure out how you can take what you love and do it with your children. If you love it chances are they will too.