photo by Dragos Gontariu via Unsplash

Fun Family Crafts

February 19, 2021

by mikkie mills, guest contributor

Most kids spend so many hours glued to technology that they forget how to be creative in more traditional and artistic ways. If you’re interested in engaging with your children away from screens, gather the supplies to embark on one of these fun family crafts. Not only will your kids get to spend quality time with you using a different part of their brain, but you might end up with a nice gift or useful item for your own home as a bonus.

Fleece Tie Quilt

Fleece fabric is one of the most forgiving fabrics to work with. It’s thick and stretchy enough that even small hands can work with it without frustration. Let your kids help choose two 1 and 1/4 cuts of contrasting fleece fabric. Lay them on top of each other (pretty sides out) and trim the edges. Cut a three-inch square notch out of each corner. Using a rotary cutter or fabric scissors, cut the fringe about three inches deep through both layers all the way around the two pieces of fabric. Now your children can help with the tying. Show them how to double knot a top and bottom piece of fabric together. Everybody can work on a different side at the same time. When you’re finished, you will have a nice sofa blanket to keep or give away.

Wrapping Paper

Homemade wrapping paper doubles the delight of the gift! Buy a couple of rolls of brown craft paper or plain brown gift bags. Roll the paper out or lay the bags flat on the sidewalk or deck. Poor a little tempera paint in seasonal colors on a paper plate. (Include a bowl of rinse water and old rags for rinsing.) There are several ways you can create a print. Cookie cutters work well, especially if you have more than one in a theme such as animals or Christmas. Regular household sponges cut into shapes look good but be sure to have your kids practice on newspaper to understand how to get the right amount of paint and how much pressure is needed to get a good print. If you don’t mind things getting a little messy, handprints and footprints are especially fun for kids. Let the wrapping paper dry and then roll it up and use as needed.

Tie Dye Sheets

Letting kids tie dye their own bedding might get you a little help next time you need to change the sheets. No need to use the messy hot water dying process; instead, pick up a few bottles of spray tie dye available at craft stores. Watch a tutorial to teach you how to create tie dye designs. Gather up all the household rubber bands and start twisting and folding your sheets and pillowcases. Spray outside into a cardboard box or plastic bin. Kids love to tie dye, but sometimes they are too enthusiastic about applying color, and items end up with a mottled look. To avoid this problem, buy a package of white athletic socks and let everyone practice on a couple of pairs to see what certain colors look like when they run together.

Painted Tote Bags

Fabric paint comes in tons of color and sheens such as glitter, puff and neon. Mix a plain reusable tote bag, with fun fabric paint, and voila, you have a great present for grandparents! Give your child a simple picture as a guide such as a horizon scene, a bowl of colorful fruit or an apple tree and watch them conceptualize how to recreate the picture onto the tote bag with paints and brushes. What they paint may or may not look anything like the original, but chances are you will get some beautiful artwork. Have your little one sign and date the bottom with a Sharpie marker.

Art is mostly about the process when kids are young, so make sure they have plenty of opportunities to turn off the iPad and work with their hands creating something. If the whole family can do the project together, you will really be creating something truly memorable.

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