Provide some materials, heck let them find their own materials, and all sorts of creations will appear. The creative process is a personal one so I try to leave what they create and how up to them. We have basic craft supplies on hand with occasional special material (for as long as they last). Simple materials have the potential to become anything. Take paper for an example: sketch or paint on it; fold a sheet of paper into a plane, a sun catcher, origami figures; cut them into snowflakes, paper doll chains; coat strips into paper mache. Sculp with clay, scented play dough or why not fondant for a change of pace?! Whittle away at a piece of wood or nail them together. There are tons of materials I didn’t even mention too!
Kids crafts are simple so that they are within their abilities while providing a chance at mastery, an opportunity to be in control and have fun. No wonder art is often used in therapy! Join them creating something yourself. Model the attention to detail and dedication to your own project. A mess is practically unavoidable, but it’s a good sign folks are doing things! Honor their efforts even if the results aren’t quite a “masterpiece” (or even recognizable). Ask questions about what they made and why they choose to do what they did. Finally, put their (and your) work on display for others to see and be inspired by.
This past weekend my best friend held a birthday party for her two little ones. They’re the same age as my two oldest and have a lot of the same interests. My boys and I collaborated to make them each a gift. We decided they might enjoy a portable art kit, complete with crayons, paper, scissors, glue stick, and colored glitter glue.
For the younger of the two (a girl) the boys picked out a fleece cat print. Our friends recently got a kitten and my boys LOVE their cats so the cat print was voted the obvious choice. The fleece was thick so this was a “no-sew” project. Just cut slits, not too wide or the art supplies will slip out, and fold/ roll it up. To keep it closed I sewed on two buttons and cut to tiny slits in the far edge.
For the older of the two (a boy) my boys picked out batman fabric. All the boys love batman, and superheros, ninjas etc. Since this fabric was thin cotton I padded it so the crayons wouldn’t break and the kit wouldn’t be flimsy. I sewed on a pocket to hold the paper and little “tubes” to hold the rest. This one folds in thirds and ties closed.
Ready to go: in the car, to an appointment or restaurant, outside or just around the house.