Fun Project Ideas for Your Kids - Part 1 - The Artistic Side
A few years ago, I asked all my friends and family to contribute their favorite kid activities. I ended up with a wide variety of great activities. This is the first of the bunch that I'll be posting this summer. Yes, I realize that we are mainly a site about wall stickers and wall stencils, but it is summertime and heaven knows that we could all use a little help entertaining the (whining and energetic) children. So, thank you for indulging me a bit, as I veer from kids wall décor and provide you with this:
THE ARTISTIC SIDE
Make homemade cards for friends and family when a birthday or special day is approaching. Use your child's artwork. Stick on foam letters from the craft store (this can easily be a good lesson in spelling and letter identification). Collect flowers, leaves, grass, etc. from outside and glue onto cardstock. This is also a good opportunity to teach your child how to properly address and stamp an envelope. After the card and envelope are complete, place in the mailbox together or go for an outing to the post-office.
Shaving Cream Painting
Use shaving cream to fingerpaint on a table or other smooth surface. You can go one step further and use food coloring or fingerpaints to color the shaving cream. If your child does not like to get her hands messy, give her a stick or paintbrush to draw in it. For an easy clean-up, take this activity directly to the bathtub.
Put some marbles in several different bowls, each with a few spoonfuls of paint. Put paper in a baking pan and spoon the marbles onto the paper. Roll around the marbles until you have a beautiful piece of art.
Buy some inexpensive canvases from the art supply store and let your little artist fill it up. Then hang it on your child's wall as her own canvas wall art. If it is a larger canvas, help out and try to fill it. If your child is young, give her one color at a time and work on it over several days.
Buy some big roll paper and trace your child's body on it. Then draw in the eyes, mouth, ears, fingers, clothes, etc. For younger children, this can be especially useful for recognition of body parts, hair and eye color, etc. If you don't have big paper on hand, take it outside and trace with chalk. Older kids could draw themselves as astronauts, cowboys, doctors, or whatever.
It's never too early to bring out the artist in your child. Give him a handful of crayons and sit him in the highchair for some coloring fun.
To inspire your child to draw at all times of the day, place a basket of drawing supplies (crayons, markers, chalk, colored pencils, etc.) on your dining room table. Keep the table covered with butcher paper or white Kraft paper. During meal times, just cover it up with a waterproof table cloth. He can draw on the same paper over the course of the week. At the end of the week, sign and date the artwork, and hang it up in the house somewhere. This is a great activity because you can be involved by making suggestions and helping to draw, or just let your child to himself and see what 'magic' he creates.
Gift for New Baby
If a new baby is joining the family, let your older child decorate cloth diapers with fabric paint. Concentrate on the edges, rather than the middle, and these can be gifts for the baby (use as burp cloths, etc.) from big brother/sister.
Add an interesting element to coloring by adding craft stencils or wall stencils to the mix. Give your child a large piece paper, coloring supplies and watch how much fun she has with this simple yet entertaining activity.
Go to a teacher supply store and buy a big piece of the paper they use to do theme bulletin boards. They have picket fences and gardens, falling leaves, ocean scenes, etc. Then let your child make a mural using the same themes and his own ideas.
A special thanks to the wonderful mothers who contributed their ideas and activities: Aimee, Alyson, Carolina, Carrie, Celeste, Elise, Heather D, Heather I, Jane, Keely, Laura E, Laura H, Laurie M, Laurie WH, Martha, Nan, and Shelly.
- Stephanie Goins