Creativity and expression are important parts of a child’s development, and often the first things to come to mind when we think about creativity are drawing or painting. These are wonderful forms of expression for many kids, and can, by themselves, provide hours of enjoyment.
But what if your child doesn’t enjoy them, or gets tired of them? Or what if you just want something a little different you can better share with your child? The following are a few craft alternatives to the old pencil and paintbrush that you may both enjoy.
Collages are a classic art project that only require a sheet of poster board or a thick sheet of paper, some glue, and whatever you and your child want to put together! All you have to do is cut pictures or words out of magazines or newspapers and glue them onto the board in whatever way you like best. Feel free to experiment – pasting colored paper in shapes or patterns, or using bits of ribbon or string are both great ideas as well.
Sculpting with clay can be fun, and it’s very easy to pick up! Working with clay is a little more hands-on for the child who may prefer to be a bit more active with their art forms, and you can even make your own completely safe clay at home with the things you likely already have in your kitchen. The internet has plenty of recipes for homemade clay, as well as a suggestions for projects. Personally, though, I prefer animal figurines!
Paper mache, or papier-mâché, is another classic of the classroom. This one is a bit more complicated to do at home, but the materials required are still fairly simple and inexpensive – all you really need are strips of paper (ideally newspaper), flour (or paste) and water, something to use as a mould (a balloon is simple and useful, or dishes if you use a little care), and whatever you want to decorate the finished product with. If this article gave step-by-step instructions, it would go on for far too long, but this resource is extensive and a great place to get started.
Design your own clothes! This is a little more expensive than the other options here, but can create something lasting and distinctive for you and your child to enjoy for some time to come. All you need is some puffy paint and a shirt from your local Target or Wal-mart and some paper and cardboard to help set up a clean work area. There’s not much more to say – paint whatever you like! Try pinning the shirt to the cardboard to keep it from slipping around, and make sure you let each color dry before you move onto a new one.
Finally, there’s the often-overlooked origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. This may be a little difficult or strange to many kids, but it offers simple, inexpensive, and unique projects that you can work on together with only a square of paper. Origami instructions has a nice kids section that makes for a wonderful starting point.
Of course, if none of these sound appealing because of budget, time, or interest constraints, why not try putting a twist on the old classic? Instead of trying to do something fancy, put some time into learning to draw with your child. This works even better if you’re a beginner yourself – as the two of you improve together, you can share any little tricks you find, or give each other ‘homework’! You could also challenge your child with small competitions – see who learns to draw a beloved family pet (cat or dog?) faster, or who can find and draw a more interesting animal, for example. You could even work together to try and draw one of every animal in the world! Having someone to work with will push you both to find ways to improve and keep things fresh.
Looking for more creative fun with your kids? Check out ActivityHero’s class listings in your area for art, music, sewing, and much more!
Written by Kathleen Wilson, saving the world one cute doodle at a time. If you consider doodling an activity, then she’s definitely your hero!