Crafts to Keep them Having Fun
By: Amanda Formaro
Preschoolers are busy, busy, busy! Often going in several different directions, it can be challenging to find things to keep them busy while sitting in one spot. Whether it’s a play date you are planning, a birthday party in the works or your youngest is stuck at home while older siblings are at school, you need ideas to keep them engaged. Here are several suggestions for hours of fun with little expense.
You've finished off yet another roll of paper towel, (who wouldn't with preschoolers in the house!) and you are about to toss the empty cardboard tube in the trash. Stop right there! There are probably hundreds of craft projects born from recycled cardboard tubes that children will love. You can try our Clown Ring Toss Game that kids can make themselves, or make a fun Rain Stick for those dreary days you are stuck at home. Save cardboard tubes and store them in a plastic container, then on boredom days, pull out a few, some glue, construction paper, markers, stickers, glitter, and whatever else you have lying around. Unleash your child's imagination; you may be amazed at what they create!
Check out more crafts made with cardboard tubes.
With preschoolers in the house, construction paper should be a basic staple. Combine them with cookie cutters and your kids will be entertained for quite some time creating things they couldn't do yet free hand. Fun plastic cookie cutter sets can be purchased for under $10 and usually include 100 different shapes and sizes. Generally these sets include basic shapes, letters and numbers, as well as holiday shapes, sports and animals. Show your child how to trace the cookie cutter onto construction paper. Have them decorate their shapes with glue, glitter, crayons, or paint, then when they are dry, cut them out to create a mobile or glue to craft sticks for a puppet show!
Felt comes in a variety of colors and is available at most discount department stores and all craft supply stores. The selection at your local craft store will be better and the price is usually comparable to discount stores. For approximately 20 cents per sheet, you can put together a large selection of colors to appeal to your child's tastes. You can also purchase glitter felt that shimmers in the sunlight. Felt easily glues to most objects, so it's perfect for little ones. Help them cut out shapes, glue to cardboard tubes or jars, or simply create a fun and colorful felt collage. Try our fun Felt Snakes, a cute pair of gloves like these Turkey Gloves, or put together some easy puppets like our Ghost and Ghoul Party Puppets.
There are so many different kinds of beads; preschooler favorites include the pony bead. They are easy for small hands to manipulate and have large holes making it easy to thread yarn or string through. Kids love to make jewelry they can wear, so beads are a given! Buy a large variety bag that includes several different colors to use for different occasions and holidays. Chenille sticks are the perfect size for pony beads and you can form them into fun shapes like this pretty Snowflake or try these Beadie Buddies. You may be pleasantly surprised that you don't really need a craft idea or pattern, simply give your child a few chenille sticks and several beads and they will have tons of fun threading on their favorite colors and creating fun designs.
Remember play dough? We all loved it when we were kids, squishing it between our fingers, forming fun shapes and little creatures, it provided hours of entertainment. You can make your own play dough at home following our recipe. There's no preplanning needed for this activity, just sit them down and let them create! Another fun dough to make is salt dough. Made from three simple ingredients, water, flour and salt, you can form endless shapes and mold fun characters, then bake and paint! This dough is perfect for cookie cutter creations as well. Some great examples include our Leaf Magnets and Gift Toppers that are easy and fun to make.
Whether it's a party or just a lazy day, keeping several fun and inexpensive items on hand will make for an enjoyable afternoon for you and your preschooler.
Amanda Formaro is the crafty, entrepreneurial mother of four children. She and her husband live in sunny Nevada with a houseful of kids, dogs and cats. They enjoy traveling in the RV, swimming, and riding their four wheelers.