Arts and crafts activities are great for children to partake in. Not just because it's fun, but because it improves their coordination as they often have to use both hands. It also helps them solve problems, practice patience, tolerance and persistence. Most importantly, it helps them release their creativity and express themselves. Allowing them to get creative can get pricey when you need to buy paintbrushes, clay, glue, glitter, tape, pencils, crayons, ribbons and everything else. And kids are notorious for giving up their old hobbies and replacing them with something new in a blink of an eye. So, affordable arts and crafts are something every parent needs. These crafts will give them all the benefits of arts and crafts without the massive price tag.
Paper mâché is the art of mixing together some gloopy stuff, dipping strips of newspaper in it and using the soggy paper to build something interesting. When dry, the final product can be quite pliable. If you want the result to be more rigid, simply add a tablespoon or two of wood glue to the gloopy mix. Remember that paper mâché needs a long time to dry, so start your project a few days before you need it completed.
What you need: 1 cup water, 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons wood glue (optional), a base and strips of newspaper.
Method: Mix the water and flour, add glue if using. Mix until it is mostly lump free. Make a base shape. Dip the newspaper strips in the gloopy mix and attach to the base. Continue until you are happy with the project. Allow to dry. Decorate as desired.
Check out this page for some paper mâché ideas to try out.
Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into various shapes, objects and forms. This can be used to make anything from extravagant animals to simple book marks. Younger kids and beginners can start with the easier projects while older kids and adults can do something a little more complex.
What you need: Sheets of multi-coloured paper
Easy, Peasy and Fun has some great origami templates.
Clay is a fun way for kids (and adults) to have a lot of squishy fun. They can spend hours building whatever they want and if they are not happy with it they can just tear is apart and start again. Clay can get quite expensive, so we have found this home-made recipe that can be made in all the colours of the rainbow. This clay will also dry hard so you can keep your children's works of art for years to come.
What you need: 1 cup corn flour, 2 cups bicarbonate of soda, 1 1/4 cups water, food colouring
Method: Mix a few drops of food colouring with the water. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Cover with a cloth. Allow the mixture to cool. Knead and use.
Recipe sourced from Education.com
This colourful string is an easy way to keep your kids busy for hours and to teach them patience and resilience. Trust us, there is nothing that can be quite as frustrating as a wild ball of yarn that won't behave. But once this string as been tamed, it can create beautiful crafted pieces.
What you need: yarn, wool or string, glue, other; depending on project.
Find some fun yarn projects here.
Decoupage is similar to paper mâché as it also involves a glue-like substance and paper to make a project. However, decoupage glues paper onto objects for decoration. This is a lovely way for kids to personalise some of their belongings or to make extra special gifts and cards for others. The kids will be busy for hours, combing through newspapers and magazines looking for pictures for their decoupaging.
What you need: 1 cup white craft glue and 1 cup water for the glue as well as pictures; cut out from magazines or newspapers, stickers, photos etc.
Method: Mix the water and glue. Brush this mixture on the back of the pictures. Stick the pictures onto your surface of choice. Seal the front of the photo and object with more of the glue mixture. Allow to dry.
Look at Crafts By Amanda for some cute decoupage ideas.