We have so much love for creative kids. But we know that their imaginative minds and crafty little hands can sometimes be hard to keep engaged and occupied. This is especially true if your family has been staying at home and there’s not much environmental stimulation, children with artistic inclinations can become a little stir-crazy.
If you’ve exhausted all the ideas in your parenting book and your children are looking for a new challenge, we’re here to help! Check out our list of 11 arts, crafts, and creative activities that families can do with children, or that kids can enjoy on their own. Many of these craft ideas and at-home art projects for kids make use of materials you might already have on hand, so you can set up a creation station and set your kids to work right away!
1. Create Papier-Mâché Animal Masks
This is definitely one of the messier at-home art projects for kids, but it can keep your little ones occupied for hours as the project continues to take shape. And the great thing about papier-mâché is that it’s one of the most impressive art projects with household items your kids can do.
Mix up a paste of roughly one part liquid glue and one part water, then have your kids help you tear up a bunch of newspaper pages. Blow up a balloon and stabilize it in a bowl so it doesn’t roll around while you’re applying the papier-mâché.
Your kids can lay strips of glue-soaked paper onto one side of the balloon to achieve a gently curved mask, building up layers. To add three-dimensional details — like ears, a bird’s beak, or a snout — cut these pieces out of a cereal box and papier-mâché them onto the base. Once the mask is dry, your kids can pop the balloon, cut out their mask shape, and decorate it with acrylic paints.
2. Make and Send Handmade Cards
While phone calls and video chats with extended family and friends are great, there’s just nothing like a handwritten note to show someone you care. And card-making is one of the easiest at-home activities for kids since you can get started with just a few basic materials.
Encourage your children to think of a few people they’d like to mail handmade cards to. Then, gather up blank cards, scrapbook paper, markers, rubber stamps, glue, scissors, and any other craft supplies you can think of — and let your kids’ imaginations run wild!
3. Perform a Shadow Puppet Theater Show
Forget character figurines from the toy store — your kids can make their own characters for a homemade shadow puppet theater! Check out this tutorial from the Nashville Public Library to learn how to make the theater itself out of cardboard and a piece of vellum.
Your kids can draw the silhouettes of their characters and props onto black cardstock, cut them out, and tape them onto skewer handles. Turn the lights down, point a spotlight at the back of the theater, and watch the magic unfold.
4. Work Through Coloring and Activity Books
Coloring pages and activity workbooks are tried-and-true solutions for keeping creative kids occupied. Print off a copy of our Perfect Kids Coloring and Activity Book so your little ones can color in a crew of superfood friends and solve word puzzles. These fun at-home activities for kids will keep their minds as full as their tummies are during snacktime with Perfect Kids protein bars!
5. Explore Your Family Tree
Creative projects can double as learning opportunities. For instance, we’re fans of using food to teach your children about everything from math and science to history and culture — and we’re also big into passing along family stories. Have you ever spent time teaching your kids about your family tree?
Slightly older kids can really get excited about their ancestral histories and family stories — and might even want to dive into their own research through old photos and records or through online genealogy sites. In exploring and uncovering their past, your kids might want to create a special keepsake like a photo album, an illustration of the branches of your family tree, or some other meaningful art projects with household items and family stories.
6. Paint with Vegetable Stamps
Here’s a fresh idea for enjoying seasonal produce — vegetable stamping! You and your kids can carve designs into halved potatoes and apples to use as homemade stamps with acrylic paints. It’s also fun to see what kind of textures you can make with these awesomely easy at-home art projects for kids. For instance, rolling corn on the cob in paint and onto paper leaves a really cool dotted pattern. The base of a celery stalk you used for ants-on-a-log will create a beautiful rose-like design, too. (Who says you shouldn’t play with your food?!)
7. Assemble a Funny Faces Flipbook
Raid your office supply drawer and you’ll have all the materials you need for this silly project! You can check out the step-by-step instructions from I Heart Crafty Things, but here are the basics: Your kids can cut cardstock sheets into thirds and bind them together on a stiffer piece of cardboard using a hole punch and three book rings.
Once the book is assembled, your little ones can get to work adding personality to their funny faces. On each page in the top third, they can draw eyes. The middle is for noses and the bottom third is for mouths. As they flip through their goofy mix-and-match faces, they won’t be able to control the giggles!
8. Learn a Textile Craft Like Knitting or Needlework
Textile arts and crafts are great at-home activities for kids who could use some time winding down, focusing, and working quietly on something cool. There are a lot of ways to get started, too!
Kids tend to enjoy making friendship bracelets with embroidery thread, so why not encourage them to take the next step and try learning basic embroidery stitches or macrame knotting techniques. Knitting and crocheting are also great for creative kids of all ages. You might even try learning these skills along with your little ones!
Check out books and online videos to get the basics down. Before your kids move on to bigger projects, have them start by making samplers while they’re still practicing.
9. Plan a Cardboard City
If your home is overrun with cardboard boxes from online orders and your most recent Perfect Snacks delivery, give them new life before they head to the recycle bin. Challenge your children to decorate each one like a building. Affix them all to a big, flat piece of cardboard so your city planners can paint or draw in the roads, parks, and other features. You can kick off endless hours of playtime if you choose boxes that are at the right scale for your kids’ favorite toy cars or figurines, too.
10. Take Sidewalk Chalk to Another Level
Get inspired by Good Housekeeping’s sidewalk chalk ideas and your home will be by far the coolest on the block! Favorite ideas include illustrating a chalk backdrop for a fun outdoor photoshoot and using tape to mark out shapes or letters to color around.
11. Get in the Kitchen for Cooking and Baking
Last but certainly not least, get your kids involved in the kitchen! Children of all ages can participate in food prep activities, but slightly older kids might enjoy the creative challenge of choosing and following a recipe or baking and decorating desserts. Cooking and baking are not only great at-home activities for kids, but they are lifelong skills your children will benefit from learning.
While their masterpiece is still in the oven — or on the drying rack, or in the yarn basket — keep your creative children fueled up with Perfect Kids!
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