The start of school means the start of homework and the return of a daily routine for children around the country. Help kids take a break and spark their creativity with simple craft projects after school. Easy after-school crafts give your kids something to do while mom and dad make dinner, or while the babysitter helps older children with homework.
The start of school doesn’t mean summer memories need to fade. Sit on white bar stools at your kitchen counter and help your kids create jars full of vacation time and other memories. Use a clean, wide-mouth glass or plastic jar, such as an empty peanut butter or mayonnaise jar. Remember to peel off the label. Fill the jar with trinkets and souvenirs from your children’s summer travels, such as seashells, small toys, and dried flowers. Use clear tape to attach a photo from the summer to the back of the jar, so that the picture faces the inside of the jar.
All you need is an iron and ironing board, wax paper and some old broken crayons to make a beautiful piece of art with your children. Give each child a 12-inch square of wax paper and an assortment of crayons. Help the kids sharpen the crayons so the shavings fall into a pile on the wax paper. You want a big pile on the paper.
Let each child arrange the crayon shavings into a pattern on the paper, then place another sheet of wax paper on top. Use low heat and no steam to iron the two sheets of wax paper together. Place a cloth napkin between the wax paper and the iron to prevent it from sticking. When the wax paper has cooled enough, let the child hang the art in the window.
Turn craft time into set the table time by having the kids make creative napkins just in time for dinner. Supervise young children as they cut paper napkins into fun patterns, such as a heart, star or daisy. Martha Stewart has some simple and fun templates to try out.
Let kids decorate plain No. 2 pencils so they have something to smile about while taking tests. Look for thin masking tape in fun colors and patterns. Have each child wrap the pencil with the tape, creating a candy-cane-like pattern or completely covering the pencil. You can also wrap the pencils in thin, colorful paper. Cut the paper to the length of the pencil and run a thin line of white glue along its edge to secure it to the pencil. Martha Stewart recommends sharpening the pencil after the glue has dried to keep the paper in place.
Fruit and Vegetable Stamps
Kids’ imaginations can run wild when you let them create their own stamps. Use a starchy fruit or vegetable, such as a potato, for the stamp. Cut the potato in half and carefully carve a pattern into it, such as a heart or circle. Give your kids some non-toxic, washable paint and paper and let them go stamp-wild. Use extra-heavy paper so you can use the stamped results as a table cover or placemats.
Crafts don’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to reserve these projects for after school. However, if the projects are too easy for your kids, try something a little more creative with 3-D crafts that come to life. Spend some quality time with your children by creating one or more crafts today.