Creating art and building toys are amazing methods for encouraging children to make choices, problem solve, and get inspired. Every step involves making a decision, from choosing a color palette to interpreting a build pattern. With each choice they make, the creation becomes more and more their own.
Multiple studies have found that the encouragement of arts and crafts provide a myriad of short and long-term benefits to children. Sadly, most public school systems across the country are facing extreme, mandatory budget cuts. Oftentimes, as one superintendent so bluntly put it, “Music program at the elementary, Art at the elementary are the first to go”.
As a parent, you have the ability to step in where the school system falters and go even further to inspire creativity and real world engagement in your child. The following are a few of our favorite kids arts and crafts projects that you and your child can do with just a few household items. But don’t forget, even just a paintbrush, paper, and some paint are all that’s need to inspire hours of engaged activity away from a computer screen.
3 Great Kids Arts and Crafts Projects
Making a catapult with your child is an excellent way to encourage them to experiment with building materials to build their own toy, a simple machine with the benefit of ending in a whole new series of activities. Invite one of their friends over or craft with a sibling to build multiple units that can be used competitively or collaboratively in future games. There are a variety of plans available for kid-friendly catapults that range from the simple to the more intricate.
Periscopes are an old-school arts and craft project that never gets old. Every child who loves to play as a spy, pilot, or submarine captain will love to build their own seeing-eye tool to play around with. This one gets bonus marks for being exceptionally easy to make and customize as well as for its re-playability. Check out this tutorial by Red Tricycle to get an idea of where to begin, but we recommend getting artsy — think paint, construction paper, glitter, or all of the above — with the outside for a bonus art-centric activity.
Mini Mars Rover.
If your child is a bit older and looking for something a bit more complex, then what about building a mini Mars Rover? Like the catapult creation, you can opt to follow simpler instructions or go for the sophisticated, complete with circuitry and all. The latter option is a great toy build that will teach your child (and maybe yourself!) the basics of motors, electrical circuitry, and lighting. Such a project is a great door opener to other complex toy builds. But no matter which toy project you choose, you will open the door to space inspiration, encouraging your child to see everyday landscapes in new and exciting ways.
Whether you choose one of these or another kids arts and crafts project with your child, working together to create something new is a great bonding experience. Encourage them to express their feelings, ideas, and own creativity on a project and join with them to see where their thoughts lead a project. Years from now, it won’t matter which projects were chosen or what artwork was made, all that will matter is that you did it together.