Faemom Crafts for Toddlers, Preschoolers and Kids

I picked up a couple of bead necklace kits because they were a buck and wondered what it could hurt.  Some days I just can’t find a craft I like to do with the boys that I have all the materials.  I think this would be a great activity for older kids but not toddler or preschool age.  The problem is that the picture beads (the skull and cross bones and the monkey) didn’t have big enough holes.  I had to push the elastic thread through the hole with a needle, and I’m just not ready to let my almost-four-year-old handle a needle.  The big colored beads were perfect for little fingers.  But next time I want to make necklaces with the boys, I’m going to spring for more expensive beads.

The back of the packaging/directions.  So damn simple.

The back of the packaging/directions. So damn simple.

 

Cool looking but not for little fingers

Cool looking but not for little fingers

(I have read several places about taking those magnet business cards and doing something with them, like gluing pictures on them.  I decided on art work for the boys to do.  As my b0ys love coloring and stickering, they enjoyed doing this.)

Things you need:

  • Business magnets
  • Craft foam or construction paper
  • Markers, stickers, anything else you want to decorate with
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Glue (craft or hot)

Trace the business magnets on the craft foam or construction paper with the black marker. 

Tracing the magnets

Tracing the magnets

 Have the child decorate the shape.  Cut the shape out. 

The artwork

The artwork

Glue to the magnet. 

The magnets

The magnets

(I have also heard of moms who make a scan of the child’s artwork and print it in business card size.  This would work for the magnets too.)

(I was trying to find a twist on the picture frame idea because grandparents and parents just love pictures.  The boys really liked decorating the frames.  Evan had a unique twist on the stickers as he used Halloween spiders.)

Things you need:

  • Craft foam
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Markers, stickers, anything you want to decorate with
  • Glue (craft or hot)
  • Picture
  • Magnets

Trace out a square for the picture on the craft foam.  Cut out the square.  (I left an inch and a half around the picture for the frame.) 

naked picture frames

naked picture frames

 Have the child decorate the craft foam. 

The frame, Evan, decorate the frame.

The frame, Evan, decorate the frame.

 

Decorate the frame.  Decorate the paper.

Decorate the frame. Decorate the paper.

Glue the picture in the frame.  Glue magnets on the back of the frame.  (I picked up decorative magnets for a buck at Michael’s.)

The back of the picture frame

The back of the picture frame

 

Decorated frames

Decorated frames

(This is a great craft with lots of variety.  The boys and I did this one last year.  They had a blast.  The husband loved it.)

What you need:

  • Unfinished thick picture frame (the thicker the better to give room for toddler creativity)
  • black or white paint
  • finger paints
  • paint brushes
  • sealer or top coat
  • sand paper
  • smock

First sand and prep the picture frame.  Next paint the background color with white or black paint.  Once the background paint is dry, have the child paint the frame.  After the painting is dry, paint the sealer or clear top coat to protect the painting.

Variations:

For older children, a regular unfinished frame works well too.

The child can stain the frame.

The child can paint it black and the sponge paint it with gold, silver, or any other favorite color.

The child can paint it black and put stickers on it.  Glow-in-the-dark stars look really cool.

The child can paint it a solid color and glue rocks, shells or buttons on the frame.

The child can decoupage the frame with material, color paper, magazine articles.

(When it rained the other day, I was so excited because I’d wanted to do this craft forever.  I had to wait until warmer weather.  It also turns out it should be raining, not sprinkling.  It did not work out at all.  I’ll try next time it rains.  I got the craft at Family Fun.)

Things you need:

  • Heavy paper plate
  • Food coloring
  • Rain

Drop several drops of food coloring on the plate.  Take the plate outside and let the rain make patters with the food coloring. 

Food coloring on the plate- check

Food coloring on the plate- check

Out in the rain

Out in the rain

 

Still doesn't look like art

Still doesn't look like art

 

Still looks ugly

Still looks ugly

( I got this idea at this website, but I decided not to float tea candles on them.  I thought we could float frogs, which worked out well.  The boys loved them!  I made a few of them testing out with different glues.  Don’t use school glue, unless it’s a one time use.  Craft glue and hot glue worked well.  Craft glue gets a little soggy, but it will re-adhere when dried.)

Things you need:

  •       2 sheets Green craft foam
  •       A CD
  •       Scissors
  •       A pen
  •       Hot glue gun with glue or craft glue
  •       A toy to sail the boat, preferably a frog

Trace the CD on both pieces of craft foam. 

Tracing circles

Tracing circles

Cut out the circles.  Cut out a triangle out of the circles (best to do it with one circle on top of the other), forming the lily pad. 

Does it look like a lilypad yet?

Does it look like a lilypad yet?

Glue the lily pads together.  Allow the glue to dry. 

It's time to sail.

It's time to sail.

Take the lily pads out to the pool or bath.

So the green one is the life guard?

So the green one is the life guard?

(My boys are into pirates.  So we had to make a pirate craft.  We made spyglasses.  The boys loved painting them, stickering them, and playing with them.  Some stickers don’t bend well around the paper towel, which is just silly, so you can have some freak outs.  My boys had the plastic wrap off within seconds of playing with them.  Arrrr!)

Things you need:

  • Empty paper towel roll
  • Smock
  • Paint or markers
  • Stickers (optional)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands

Have the child decorate the paper towel roll with the markers or paint. 

Finger painting?  Didn;'t I give you a brush?

Finger painting? Didn;'t I give you a brush?

If the child uses paint, let the roll dry. 

Drying

Drying

Have the child decorate it with pirate stickers. 

Looks more pirate-y!

Looks more pirate-y!

Cut a piece of plastic wrap big enough to cover the end of the paper towel roll.  Wrap a rubber band around the plastic to make it stay.  Repeat with the other end.

There be a mighty fine spyglasss, mateys!

There be a mighty fine spyglasss, mateys!

(We recently moved to Arizona, and the house we have moved into has lizards EVERYWHERE.  I’ve never seen so many lizards converge on one spot before.  Obviously this has stirred up some curiosity, so I decided we needed to make a lizard since the boys were not fast enough to catch one.  This was a lot of fun.  You can make this complicated for older children by having them do designs on the lizards, or you can make this very simple even for a young toddler.)

Things you need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Lizard cut out
  • Black marker
  • Crayons
  • Scissors

I found some cool lizard color sheets here.  Print one out and cut it out of the paper to make a template.  Trace the lizard onto the sandpaper with the black marker.  This will ruin the tip. 

Tracing lizards

Tracing lizards

Have the child color the lizard.  Cut out the lizard, which will sharpen the scissors.  (My boys refused to let me cut out their lizards.)

The finished product . . . sort of

The finished product . . . sort of

So now I’m thinking every Sunday night I should complain about a terrible craft, try to warn you about it before you try it.  When I worked for the Girl Scouts, we had to do all the crafts ahead of time so that we didn’t look like fools in front of the girls, loosing their attention, their respect, and our patience.  We met every quarter to do a week of crafts to make sure we worked out all the kinks.  We don’t have that luxury as parents.

So this last week I tried making rock candy for the boys from a book called EcoArt!: Earth-Friendly Art and Craft Experiences for 3 to 9-year-olds by Laurie Carlson.  This recipe calls for 4 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water, which ended in totally disaster.  I got the first two cups dissolved, but after stirring for forty-five minutes, I couldn’t get the last two cups of sugar to dissolve.  I finally gave up and poured the sugar water into glasses.  Big Mistake.  Huge Mistake!  I ended up with two glasses filled of hard candy that I have been trying to dissolve away for four days.

After talking to a few experts (my mom and grandma), they assured me that there was too much sugar in the mixture.  After looking online at the other recipes, I have to agree.  Apparently this recipe was to speed up the crystal growth, which didn’t work in my case (which I think is like trying to bake a cake faster at 500 degrees and that always works out well).  The recipe said nothing about boiling like the online recipes too. 

So stay away from crystal rock candy recipes with a lot of sugar to water ratio.  I’ll keep working on this recipe.  I also will try a few more crafts before returning this book to the library.

(I got this idea off of Family Fun.  But I decided to do it using coffee filters, which was more fun and messy.  The boys loved building these and playing with them.  It makes walking to get the mail more fun.)

Things you need:

  • Smock
  • 2 coffee filters
  • Markers
  • Bowl of water
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Yarn

Have the child color the coffee filters with markers.  The more color, the more fun. 

Colored coffee filters

Colored coffee filters

After the child is done decorating the filters, have the child paint them with water, making the colors run. 

Water painting filters

Water painting filters

Let the filters dry.  Fold the filters in half to cut out half a butterfly making the wings even on both sides.  (I wish I could have found a template.)  Do not make a head or tail because the pipe cleaner will do that. 

Butterfly cutouts

Butterfly cutouts

Have the child fold the pipe cleaner in half and slip the butterfly wings between it. 

The bodies are forming

The bodies are forming

Cross the ends of the pipe cleaner to form antenna.  You can bend them into little nubs if you like. 

Almost done.  Now where's that yarn?

Almost done. Now where's that yarn?

Tie a piece of yarn to the pipe cleaner, long enough to fly the kite behind the child.  If the child wants to flutter the kite, tie two short pieces of yarn to the pipe cleaner.

Nursery Rhymes

Many teachers have told me how important nursery rhymes are for child development. Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. Jack jump over A candlestick

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