Preschoolers are innately creative, and giving them opportunities to make things with their hands and expand their imaginations is a great way to boost their development. Here are some innovative craft ideas suggested by Circle of Moms members. All of these require minimal supplies and can be done at home, indoors or out. No need to wait for a rainy day!
1. Trace a Body Puzzle
Circle of Moms member Sylvie M. has loads of fun with her kids tracing their bodies on paper. All you need for this activity is an inexpensive roll of paper, scissors, and a marker or pencil. For the paper, she recommends using the brown-paper rolls often used in restaurants, which are available at drugstores or restaurant-supply stores.
Once you've gathered your supplies, have your child lie down on the paper and trace each section of her body: hands, feet, head, torso. Trace them separately rather than the body as a whole. Then, cut them out and have your child match them together to form the whole body.
Fitting the puzzle pieces together teaches anatomy, geometry, and problem solving, and Sylvie reports that many kids like doing this exercise over time to see how much they've grown.
2. Make Potato Jewelry
Another activity that's both fun and easy to clean up is potato jewelry. Member Linda O. loves to do this activity with kids of various ages because it engages multiple senses and allows even the youngest kids to make things they can actually wear. It also gives kids a chance to explore their own budding aesthetic sensibilities.
Other than potatoes, you'll need wooden skewers, paint, and string. Linda recommends stretchy string "so you don't have to worry so much about getting [potato necklaces] over your head."
Linda cuts peeled potatoes into 2-inch cubes, then allows them to air-dry on wooden skewers for three to four days. Once they're dry, let the kids paint them with craft paint. After that dries, spray them with clear spray paint. (The trick to easy clean up is to place paper behind the skewers when you spray them.) Then, once the clear coat is dry, "carefully twist them to loosen them and slide them off the skewers." They'll have convenient holes for stringing into necklaces and bracelets.
3. Create an Indoor Garden
Another fun idea, courtesy of Krissy M., is to help your kids create an indoor garden. All you need are some paper towels, wide-mouth jars, potting soil, and seeds. This is a multi-day project, so it's best for preschoolers who've developed a decent attention span.
First, germinate the seeds by placing a few in a wet paper towel. Once they've sprouted, pour some dirt into a jar, and plant the seeds, several in each container. Remind your child to check on them every day. Do they need more water (is the soil dry)? Do they need more sun? This project will not only help your child practice responsibility, but it will also help her develop confidence in creating and caring for other living things.
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