How to Craft With Kids (Even if You’re Not Artistically Inclined)
Even parents who don’t consider themselves the crafty types are now being forced to embrace their creative sides, as they work to find new engaging ways to entertain their children at home. It’s kind of an overwhelming thought for those of us whose heads are sent spinning at the mention of “decoupage” or the sight of pom-poms and pipe cleaners.
Fortunately, even the least artistically inclined moms and dads can successfully lead their kids in craft project at home…it just takes a few supplies and some pro tips! To help you get your at-home art projects started, we consulted the ultimate crafty mom—Erica Domesek, the creative mind behind DIY blog PS – I Made This. According to her, all parents have what it takes to lead arts-and-crafts time.
The first rule of thumb is that anyone can make things, Domesek stresses. “Do not forget that. It’s not so much about the final project (as much as we all love a feel-good finish), it’s really about the process,” she says. “Using your hands and a little creativity is what it’s all about—especially now.”
Here are some of her practical tips…
I’ve never crafted before—where do I start?
First, make sure that your arts-and-crafts area is covered. Use craft paper, wax paper, cardboard, deconstructed paper bags, or even a baking tray. “This is not the time to ruin your dining room table!” Domesek says.
Next, choose a project that you feel confident doing…in other words, do not attempt to recreate the Mona Lisa with your toddler. “Pick an easy project to start with, baby steps… literally,” Domesek advises. “See what materials you have at home and think of—or Google—ways to craft with them.”
Finally, consider getting the whole family involved! “Doing projects as a family is more fun—it allows you to all enjoy some quality time without screens,” she says.
Which basic craft supplies should I keep on hand?
Here are the basics Domesek recommends keeping around the house—though she notes that your stash may look different, depending on the age of your child. (Or to take the guesswork out of what you'll need, PS - I Made This is selling pre-packaged craft bundles, available for pickup for Los Angeles-based families, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Meals on Wheels!)
- Rolls of craft paper (white and/or brown)
- Washable markers
- Paper tape
- Paint and paintbrushes
- Pipe cleaners
- Construction paper
How much time should a project take?
In contrast to our everyday lives, where it feels like we’re constantly in a hurry, Domesek suggests embracing a slow and steady approach to crafting. “We all want to rush through life, but slowing down a little to do art is a beautiful way to entertain your children and also keep them learning,” she says.
Generally speaking, spending one solid hour of making is a massive win, she says. But, if you can create something for your kids that they can use to entertain themselves later, even better, she adds. “If you are using elements such as paint, or glue, keep it mind it takes time for things to dry so you have to factor that in.”
How do I know what projects are appropriate for which aged kids?
Think your little one is too young to craft? Not so fast. While, yes, a 9-month-old cannot yet wield a glue stick, they can partake in creative activities. “Any child under 12 months old can get involved with art projects that focus on sensory takeaways,” Domesek says.
“It’s not about creating with them, it’s more about the parent giving their little ones something to touch, grab, squeeze, and play with.” She suggests DIY sensory shaving cream projects and colored gel bags.
Once your tot is able to firmly grasp things, such as large washable markers or finger paint, you’ll have even more options. “Just be careful of allowing children that are too young to use scissors, hot glue guns—or basically anything that could result in a boo-boo,” she says. “Parents, use your discretion!”
5 craft projects to get you started from PS – I Made This:
- DIY Karaoke Machine: Amp up your family sing-alongs with a mic and karaoke machine…made of entirely everyday materials!
- Cereal Box Puppet Theater: This DIY does double-duty: It’s crafting…and a show!
- Watercolor Coffee Filter Art: You need just three items to make these pretty art pieces.
- Scratch Art: Got crayons? Then you have most of what you need for this engaging project.
- Tie-Dye Eggs: Get ready for the big bunny’s visit with some stunningly decorated eggs (this project is probably better suited toward big kids with steadier hands).
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.