Phtoto by Aaron Webb via Flickr
Need some arty ideas for March Break? For kids with fine motor or learning challenges, many commercial craft kits can be frustrating. After years of teaching hundreds of kids in parent/child classes, I have a few crafts known as my "greatest hits.” They require everyday, inexpensive items and kids of all ages and abilities enjoy them. For the craft supplies, look in your kitchen cupboards or visit your local dollar store. Here are two favourites:
1. Coffee filter suncatchers
You’ll need: basket-type fluted coffee filters, food colouring, cotton swabs, paint brushes or medicine droppers
Cover your table with plastic placemats or an old shower curtain. Open a basket-type fluted coffee filter and lay it flat. Place several drops of food colouring in a small container and dilute with a few drops of water. Try yellow, red and blue. Use cotton swabs, paint brushes or medicine droppers to paint the food colouring/water mixture on the coffee filters. Overlap the colours to magically see new colours appear. (A great way to learn about colour mixing.) Allow it time to dry, then tape the filters up on your window. Or make flowers by poking a straw or pipe cleaner up through the middle and securing it with tape. There — it’s looking a lot like spring!
2. World’s best fruity playdough
You’ll need: all-purpose flour, cream of tartar (from the grocery baking section), salt, salad oil and a small packet of fruit flavour crystals
Mix 500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour, 20 ml (4 tsp) cream of tartar, 250 ml (1 cup) salt and 30 ml (2TBsp) salad oil in a large microwave safe bowl. Add two cups of water mixed with a small packet of fruit flavour drink crystals. Microwave on high for three to five minutes, stirring every minute. When it’s cool, knead it until smooth. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature. No worries if your kids eat some. Keeps well for a month.
For fun pretend play (and to sneak in fine motor skills practice), break out the kitchen utensils. Use an old garlic press to make wormy hair. Roll out snakes and practice cutting it into pieces with scissors. Use cookie cutters to press and make fun shapes. It's all soothing fun for big kids and parents too!
What are your favourite kid-friendly crafts?