Doing crafts with your kids can be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, but if you’re like me, you don’t have obscure crafting items sitting around the house and you don’t have a very big budget to be spending on supplies. These four craft ideas are easy enough for the non-artsy moms among you (me included!) and will hopefully create items that are fun and worthwhile.
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1. Homemade Play-Doh
Play-Doh can be a Saturday afternoon staple, but chances are your stock has become mixed with colors, full of dirt, or all dried out. Try this easy, homemade recipe to make your own, and replenish your stock as often as you need to. Here is what you’ll need:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar plus enough boiling water to make 2 cups
- food coloring
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then knead on the countertop for several minutes until it reaches the desired consistency. Add food coloring (and glitter, if desired). Store in airtight plastic bags or containers.
2. Homemade envelopes
In today’s world of emails, text messages, and other forms of electronic media, handwritten letters have somewhat become a thing of the past. Once you make these easy envelopes, encourage your kids to write a letter to someone (a friend, grandparent, soldier, prisoner, etc.) and package it up in their new colorful creation. Here’s how to do it:
- Purchase (or find at home) some patterned, colorful scrapbook paper. If you can’t find any at home, it’s sold quite inexpensively at most arts and crafts stores.
- Take a plain envelope and unfold it so it lays flat like a regular piece of paper.
- Trace the outline of the unfolded envelope on the scrapbook paper.
- Cut the scrapbook paper around envelope outline and fold edges like original envelope.
- Glue flaps of new envelope down in the same style as the original envelope.
Voila! You now have colorful, handmade envelopes to use for a variety of purposes. As an alternative to scrapbook paper, you could also use an old piece of music, a map, or another decorative piece of material you find around your home.
3. Rubber stamps
Easy and versatile, homemade rubber stamps can be a hit with kids of all ages since they can be personalized according to what each child wants. You could make stamps of letters, animals, flowers, designs, and more. You will need:
- Rubber bands
- Thick cardboard
Sketch the design you would like for your stamp on a piece of cardboard. Using different sized rubber bands, create your stamp by gluing pieces of the rubber bands within the lines. Finally, test the stamps with a stamp pad to make sure they come out even. That’s it! Your kids can create as many as they want with items that are probably already sitting around your home.
4. Bubble bath
Since bath time is a daily routine in most households, making homemade bubble bath is a simple, inexpensive way to make something you know you’ll use while letting the kids be creative, too. Another benefit is that you probably already have most of the materials on hand.
- ½ cup clear or lightly-colored shampoo
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- food coloring
Combine shampoo, water, and salt in a bowl and mix well until the mixture thickens. Slowly add food coloring until it is spread evenly and the mixture reaches the desired color. Store in an empty bottle or jar.
So next time you have a few hours to kill with your children, give some of these projects a try. Not only will you all enjoy the process, but you’ll come away with items that can be put to good use around your home. Do you and your kids have crafts you particularly enjoy? Share them with us here!