Arts & Crafts – a balancing act!
Arts & Crafts really offers an entire universe of options. And perhaps because of that, it can be somewhat daunting! One way to approach the topic could be The Rabbit’s favourite “back to basics”. Ask yourself before you start the mission: Which materials do you have at home (up-cycling may come in handy)? How developed are the motor skills of your kids? How involved do you want to get – is it your project or your kids’ project? Do you only prepare the material and give a prep talk, do you also prepare an example (physical, picture, etc), or do you help or indeed lead your kids?
Remember that until the end of elementary school level, it is rather the process that counts than the actual outcome, particularly for projects at home. Also, allow your kids to find their way to the topic, a straight line might not turn out as one might think!
Cardboard – let’s start with the most obvious: what can one do with cardboard and tissue boxes, kitchen paper rolls, aluminium foil, left-over wrapping paper, glue and sticky tape? You will be amazed and you may even have to sit in it! We have managed to create cars, rockets, robots and the best outcomes were the ones which looked authentic as it was the kids who were in charge of the design, with occasional parental help.
Paper – ideal for flying machines (intriguingly it brings out the competitive streak in male adults), Venetian or animal face masks, greeting cards, decoration items like garlands, lanterns, origami for kids, and the list continues.
Story flip book – no need to have great drawing skills, you just need an easy starter motive, like kids’ facial expressions, a good story (from sad to happy) and you can quickly come up with a minimum of 15 sheets to make a good starter flip book. For the more ambitious it is a good opportunity to check out basic line drawing (get support online, books) and apply it straight away.
Painting – best to go with the preference of your child and if none, carefully introduce new techniques and see whether they are taken onboard. Painting with a sieve and a toothbrush (if you do not have a flat sieve just use a small concave sieve) is fun even if it can get a bit messy. Or painting with handmade seals of any kind using available material can be a rather multi-sensory experience for kids.
Stones – not a standard commodity at home, particularly if no outside space, but easy to get. Decorating stones is fun and there is no limit to the materials one can use, such as cotton wool for beards and hair, crepe paper or standard paper for eyes or noses, pens for drawing. Of course water colouring the stones before using them is itself a rather artistic and fulfilling process.
Knitting – depending on your kids’ age, hand-eye coordination and attention span, it can be simple finger knitting, weaving on very simple and self-made weaving frames. Of course the Easter season is calling for pompoms which can be transformed into rabbits, chickens, eggs and so on. The wool knitted octopus with big eyes is also fun and a playful toy for kids with its dangly bits. If your kid has a favourite book or indeed already a diary why not craft a book cover?
Jewellery making – one of my favourites, as it combines the exposure to different material, shapes, colours and gives an interesting insight into your kids’ tastes. If you have a spare wooden or metal hoop at home, you can also decorate a dream catcher.
Musical instruments – a perfect combination of learning about instruments, arts & crafts and making music and if it is just keeping a rhythm. No limits here either. Use a kitchen paper roll or else, insert something like rice, cover ends properly, add a bit of colour and decoration (bunny ears come to mind here) and let’s start the band!
Doll making and accessories – no need to stop reading here if you think that is too difficult. It is not, if you allow yourself to stick with the basics. Kids all have their heroes. Allow them to make their own hero or an accessory for the hero. That can be any piece of clothing, bags, picnic blanket, the list is endless. Or why not make a puppet for a play? What do you need? Any odd material you have (textile, socks, shirts you do not need anymore), clear instructions how to cut and sew the pieces together (plenty of internet instructions), sufficient motor skills for one or two easy stitches, stuffing material, buttons for the face, wool for hair, aluminium foil for glasses, pearls to make jewellery and so on…!
Easter decoration – spring, sun, flowers, bunnies, chicken, eggs, pastel colours, grass, nests, food, traditions…this alone could be an exercise for your kids, writing down what they associate with Easter. On top of that this can all be made into fun arts & crafts projects, cooking adventures, games and of course reading downtime!
There are many more materials one can use in arts & crafts as there are many more techniques. The Rabbit’s list represents a small excerpt which has proven creative and fun.
The Rabbit wishes a creative time for all!
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