As another school year comes to end, summer vacation begins—and a house filled with antsy kids. There's nothing like arts and crafts to keep their boredom at bay, but when it comes to preschoolers and big kids, you have to up the ante from drawing and coloring books. The answer: these seven creative projects that makes use of their hands, fuel their imagination, and most importantly, can occupy them for hours.
Girls will love this, but we don't see why boys can't do it as well (instead of dress patterns, think pirates, cars, dinosaurs). Create magnetic paper dolls using magnetic sheets and doll patterns available online. Tip Junkie is a great resource for free paper dolls and printable dress-ups. Once your and your child get the hang of making the dresses, you can help him create other patterns to create a world for her (or his) magnetic dolls.
As it turned out, t-shirt printing is easy with sandpaper. Let your child color any shape or pattern on the textured side of the sandpaper. The colors need to be thickly layered so you may have to go over his design and lay on the colors again that he used. When done, insert a cardboard inside the shirt and layer the sandpaper on it but outside the shirt. The design should face the shirt. Place a parchment paper or paper towel on the sandpaper and iron for 30 seconds (detailed instructions here). The coarser the sandpaper and the thicker the color, the more vibrant the design. Don't stick to shirts. Think dresses, canvass paintings, even kitchen towels!
You may think this is probably more for tweens, but even the stick drawings of preschoolers will work as well. Ask them what would they like to see "in action." Then explain that each drawing needs to be slightly different than the last one to make the picture 'move' when the pages are flipped. If they want to show slow movement, they will need to draw scenes with very small differences (fast movement means larger differences in each drawing). It's a great way to show kids how basic animation works.
Big kids and tweens will find this challenging and (hopefully) fun. With woven paintings, the kids draw the same image twice (they traced the first image onto the same sized paper) and then paint them slightly different colors. They can start with shapes and then move on to simple patters, and who knows, maybe you can help them with portraits. Know more from the blog A Faithful Attempt.
Playing with clay already spells endless fun for kids. But with today's smartphones and tablets, they can make their own simple stop-motion animation with the help of apps (see a list here). If he sees the finished product, he may even be motivated to to make a background set for his clay creations. If he prefers taking photos, intoduce him to ABCYa.com, a web-based and desktop tool where he can make animated GIF (moving pictures like the above) with his photos.
No sharp tools required—just 10 fingers! Finger-knitting is usually the first step to knitting and crochet. It's a good practice to hone fine-motor skills as well. Think friendship bracelets or armbands out of yarn or DMC threads. When the kids get the hang of it, they will not stop at just one wearable art piece but do more necklaces and headbands for themselves and their friends.
This is a form of street art that involves covering or wrapping public objects with, what else, but yarn! (Detailed instructions here.) Start with something small, maybe a back of a chair or a stair post. Once you get a feel of it, you and your kids can try incorporating patterns (some adults weave, crochet or knit their yarn-bomb designs) and go bigger, like trees or playground equipment in your friendly neighborhood park (but ask permission first!).
Do you have a unique art or craft project you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.