Whether you live where blustery winds and snow are frightful or rain has soaked the outdoor play areas, have no fear. Creative crafts and activities will quell children’s cabin fever. With just a few art materials and recyclables, these ideas should entertain your group.
Create With Clay
Children love to mold and create items with clay. The use of air-dry modeling clay is perfect for a craft at school or at home, allowing the child to make a treasured craft to save. To make this decorative bowl, you will need the following materials.
- Store-bought air dry modeling clay
- Waxed paper
- Embellishments to decorate the bowl (buttons, sequins, faux jewels, etc.)
- Place a sheet of waxed paper in front of each child to protect work surfaces.
- Give each participant a portion of modeling clay. Have them form the clay into a ball.
- Instruct them to push one thumb into the center of the clay, but not through it to make a pinch pot or bowl.
- Cup one hand underneath the clay. Use the other to turn the clay and pinch it with your thumb and forefinger. The opening of the bowl will get larger and larger as you work the material.
- When the pinch pot or bowl is to the child’s liking, it is time to push decors inside the opening. Present a variety of baubles such as buttons, sequins, faux jewels or beads to decorate the bowls.
- After the designs are finished, leave the art project on a table in a warm area to dry. They may take a day or two to harden.
Note: This activity can be open-ended. Give children permission to make objects of their choice.
Air-drying clay can also be made with kitchen staples. Check the “References” section for recipes.
Design a Paper Bag City
With a handful of brown paper bags, some markers and some crayons, children can design a paper city complete with buildings such as markets, school, hotel, homes, and more.
For each building, you will need:
- 2 bags of equal size
- Markers and/or crayons
- Take one bag and design a building that is positioned either vertically or horizontally. Color the bag and add architectural elements such as bricks, doors, windows, shutters, window boxes with flowers – the list is endless.
- Take the second bag of the same size and stuff it with crumpled newspaper. Carefully slip the decorated bag on top.
- Tape the bottom of the bag building securely so the bottom is flat and can stand on its own on a flat surface.
- Continue with the first three steps to make as many buildings as the children wish.
Set up the city on the floor or tabletop. Add a few toy cars and people dolls to create a fun cityscape and engage in dramatic play.
Dictate Flip Stories
Young children can learn the basics of storytelling by creating these story line booklets. Get as silly as you like as you flip through each booklet to build a story using the “who,” “what,” and “where” technique.
You will need these materials to make the flip booklets:
- Construction paper
- Safety scissors
- White glue or glue stick
- Old magazines/catalogs
- Hole punch
- Brad fasteners
- Black marker
- Read a story to the children and discuss the book in terms of who (characters), what (events or activities) and where (places).
- Now, create a set of flip booklets that will help the child create stories with this concept; some may even be silly and amusing.
- Search through old magazines to find pictures that fall into each topic. For example, who (kitten, baby, or parent); what (making a craft, driving a car, baking cookies); and where (in a house, boat, park).
- Cut sheets of construction paper in half. Label the front page with who, what, or where. Glue the pictures, one per page, onto the papers in the correct category. Assemble the booklets and fasten them together with a metal brad.
- During storytelling time, have the child pick a picture from each booklet and dictate an original story. Make it fun by closing your eyes and pointing to a page (sight unseen). See how silly the story becomes.