I am a huge fan of Pinterest, anything I can do one handed, quietly in the middle of night whilst breastfeeding to entertain myself is a winner in my books. Last year when I was very ill I spent many days on the couch, bored with day time TV, mentally renovating my house. During this time I started collecting lots of kids craft activity ideas and to be honest I was pretty disappointed with so called mess free craft ideas, most included glue, glitter and in most cases adults had to do half the project as it just wasn’t suited to preschool or early primary aged children. I modified a couple of projects to include in the project pack I gave as a present. Here are my favourite FIVE mess free craft activities for young children which I compiled as a birthday present for a friends daughter recently. We gave the instructions printed off in a booklet along with all the craft items needed to complete the five mess free craft activities (except toilet paper rolls, I figured they could easily collect a few of their own!).
Top craft time tips for stressed parents
1) Keep all mess free kids craft supplies in a sealed container away from reach. Even the most mundane item can create a whole pile of mess in the wrong hands (or puppy’s teeth!)
2) Use bag seal clips from ikea HERE or snap lock sandwich bags for cheap storage and easy access to small items like googly eyes.
3) Set aside a specific time for a regular crafting session so you won’t constantly feel like there is big bucket of mess hiding in the cupboard ready to attack your house at any moment. I find if I know when it’s coming then we actually use the stuff, in the past it has sat in the cupboard unused as I’ve been terrified to let the kids near all the messy goodies inside.
4) Plan ONE activity each week (or session) and set it up while the kids are occupied elsewhere like playing outside, eating lunch or taking a nap. Don’t give them free access to everything in the box or you’ll quickly run out of supplies and craft time will become a messy, expensive, disorganised nightmare.
5) Set aside enough supplies for you to make a project as well. Many parents, especially us older Mums, find it hard to sit back and watch our children make their projects ‘wrong’. Watching you helps them to learn new skills, it also keeps your hands busy so you are less tempted to grab their project and stick the eyes on straight. DO NOT under any circumstances help them unless they ask for it, only guide them with your words and by demonstrating with your own project. Interfering robs them of confidence and their ability to learn from you.
project 1: Hungry little caterpillar
Adapted from ABC and 123
Download information sheet CATERPILLERS
My little 2.5 year olds version (she didn’t want a different coloured head)
Project 2: Flapping Bugs
Adapted from Handmade Charlotte
Project 3: pin wheels
Adapted from Paper Source
Download information sheet PIN WHEELS
Project 4: pom poms
Adapted from Kungen & Majkis
Download information sheet POM POMS
Project 5: Pencil sketch Pictures
My own idea! Made using Picasa and the ‘Pencil Sketch’ option in the blue tab
I’ve used bunny as an example but what kids love most is a picture of themselves or other family members to colour. Picasa is free picture editor from Google, I have not included a link as it is upgraded to newer versions all the time, simply google Picasa to find the link for the latest free download.