In our modern world, people have their hands glued to their smartphones and tablets, our fingertips continuously tapping away on keyboards as we try to keep ourselves busy in our spare time. Families stay together in one room on weekends, but have their conversations over messenger and viber. This is sad.
Family entertainment unfortunately comes in the form of a movie night for some. Our dependence on these devices have progressed to a level that I even have trouble writing a few sentences using a pen and paper. Writing a letter meant sending an email and a notebook is a small laptop.
A year ago, I was clearing out my sister’s old room in my house when I stumbled on a dusty box of half used crayons, watercolor, scissors, coloring books, markers and brushes. I put the contents of the box on my living room and started to wonder how my kids will react to all these artsy stuff. On normal situations, my kids would put their iPads down and spend a few hours on a new toy but would gradually lose interest and go back to flicking and scrolling their iPads.
To my surprise, the iPads stayed tucked away while my kids got their hands dirty with the watercolor and crayons. They fondly showed me their artwork as if waiting for my wow and smiley faced reaction.
At first, their creations were only stickman-like doodle figures but later became cut out pieces of fish, trees and cars. We had quality family time on weekends when we would all color a page from a coloring book and make a community of clay figures. My kids even got their interest back on using Legos and wooden blocks as an added activity to their art sessions.
Was it messy! Yes! it was messy! There were pieces of paper cutouts on the floor, crayon lines on the table and walls, plus the dirty clothes. If you haven’t experienced the pain of stepping on a sharp lego piece, it really stings i tell you. But the countless hours we spent together on these art projects are simply priceless that is why I am sharing this experience with you.
I know that as parents, there is big controversy about the amount of time our kids can use portable devices as entertainment and as a learning tool versus the the hands-on real-life interactions they can get playing with other kids and adults. It is frightful that too much television can decrease a child’s ability to develop social or language skills. These facts have encouraged me and my partner to be conscious of what we “feed” our children and how these activities will impact their development.
This gave us the concept of what toys to buy and what activities to do on our spare time, and you guessed it right, we had a lot of fun and engaging child conversations while staying busy with arts and crafts. I've also added helpful links below that will help you get these items online.
Here’s my 15 most used supplies when we have our arts and crafts activities.
- Colored Pencils
- Watercolor Pencils <-- (We have these!)
- Yarn and Strings
- Dough or Clay
- Popsicle Sticks
- Copy Paper
- Cotton balls
- Scissors <--(These too!)
P.S. - Be sure to keep a healthy supply of newspapers and rags too. :) Makes the clean up less of a hassle.
5 Favorite Activities with arts and crafts that you should do with your kids today!
1. - Sardine Can Phone!
- Carefully cut the top off 1 side of an empty sardine can and cover the sharp edges with some masking tape.
- Pierce a small hole on the bottom of both cans just enough to let the string through using the hammer and nail.
- Pass the string over the hole you made on the bottom of the can and make a knot. Do the same for the other can.
- Decorate the cans by covering them with colored paper and cut out designs.
- Make sure that the string is taut so that sound will travel to the other can. No internet or data plan needed to make a call!
2. - Paper Plate Clock!
- Glue 2 paper plates together for a sturdy base and cover with your favorite colored paper.
- Draw 2 pointer arms, 1 shorter than the other. Cut out with scissors and cover with colored paper.
- Pin the clock arms at the center of the paper plate and mark the 12 hours using the Marker.
- Decorate with stickers and buttons as you like. This helps in introducing children on how to tell time on an analog clock.
3 - Snowman and Sheep!
- Trace the outlines of your cute sheep and snowman on a piece of white or colored paper.
- Put a small amount of glue on each cotton ball and paste it to your sheep and snowman.
- After covering all areas inside your outline, add details using the buttons for eyes and colored paper for the snowman nose and short arms. Making these put a smile to your face from start to finish. Super Cute!
4 - Spiders and Insects!
- Scrunch and ball up colored paper then wrap in clear tape.
- Cut little strips of paper for the insect’s arms. 6 strips for grasshoppers and 8 strips for spiders. Fold in half and glue to the colored balls.
- Use the Marker for eyes and other insect details.
- Tie a clear string so that the insects and spiders can be hung or dragged along for fun. Real creepy, great for Halloween.
5. - Puzzles!
- Turn over the finished drawing and use a marker to draw puzzle lines.
- Use the scissors to cut along the lines.
- Have a fun contest who finishes the puzzle the fastest!
There are hundreds of other activities to do like, popsicle stick castles, letter blocks, cute picture frames and mood scales. And as a bonus you are guaranteed to get a dozen “I love you Mom” and “Best mom ever” certificates every month from your kids.
BEST MOM EVER!
We need to always try our best to incorporate fun into all the arts and craft activities for our kids. The key is to add value and quality to our spare time and complete activities together. Children will be more adept on looking at real life problems and then finding solutions, much like they do in arts and crafts.
Kids will stay as kids for a very short amount of time in their lives. Let's appreciate these moments and let this be the happiest time in their lives.
Special mention to Evergreen Art Supply for their Super Scissors. These scissors are incredible and cut through paper and all other arts and craft material we've used on our activities. Of course for a very sharp pair of scissors, I only use these scissors myself and leave other cutting jobs for my kid's colorful scissors.
I love using these scissors and I'd highly recommend them because they are very versatile on the materials they can cut and keeps their sharpness for a long time. Definitely a must-have item for every household!