If you crave parent-child activities that stretch minds and develop skills, but crafts just aren’t your thing, fear not! These low-maintenance ideas won’t break the bank or your sanity. 1) Hodgepodge Collage
Just the thing when your child’s room is overrun with accumulated “stuff.” Begin with poster board, construction paper, or an easel paper pad, then collect lightweight trinkets from your child’s room along with fabric scraps and a stack of old magazines. Keep it random or try a theme: nature, sports, a favorite color or favorite vacation spot can inspire hours of creativity while tidying up a cluttered space! To try:
- A fall leaf collage is as close as your back yard. Gather different shapes and sizes and create your own “leaf people” with hand-drawn arms and legs.
- Create a 3-D collage with simple paper sculptures from our Cut-Crease-Create collection.
2) Eat Up
Sometimes it’s okay to play with your food! Using a blank sheet of paper, create scenes and pictures while introducing your kids to new food! Try raisins, cooked spaghetti, olives, popcorn, or even shredded cheese, along with your fruit and vegetable favorites, and see what silliness sprouts! For a mess-free food-themed project, try food-themed stickers or even play food!
3) Water Painting What could be better than a toddler craft project requiring only water, a bowl, easy-grasp paintbrushes (don’t forget those old brushes from the garage, too), and a clear sidewalk or driveway? Sit with your child and paint letters, shapes, and pictures while enjoying the late summer weather. Bonus: no clean up! 4) Cotton Crafts Cotton balls and swabs take the place of traditional brushes in this free-form approach to painting. Pinch cotton balls in a clothespin for greater control and to keep little fingers clean. Poster paints and watercolor paints work equally well for these projects. 5) Homemade Lint Clay (Really!) Who knew all that dryer lint was good for something? Turns out, the fuzz has a ton of practical and crafty uses. This is one of our favorites:
- 2 cups packed dryer lint
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 6 tablespoons white school glue
- 1 tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid (soap)
- Food coloring (optional)
In a mixing bowl, combine lint and all other ingredients, one at a time. Mix thoroughly with your hands until you have a uniform consistency. The clay works great for shaping figures and objects as well as ornaments, jewelry, and other trinkets. What non-crafty crafts have you tried? Tell us in the comments section or start a conversation on Facebook.