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Arts and crafts are not only fun but provide many benefits for your children as they encourage creative and critical thinking skills whilst allowing emotional expression. Involving children in crafts both at home and school builds their self confidence and teaches collaboration as well as helping their fine motor skills and teaching them to follow direction.
Every child comes with built-in tools for art – their fingers. Fingerprint art, as the name implies, involves creating artistic renderings with the use of fingerprints. All you need is paper, anything that can colour the tips of the fingers, and a bit of creativity.
Make sure whatever type of colouring you use is washable with soap and water. If your children are using more than one colour, provide a bowl of warm soapy water and paper towels for cleaning fingertips. You can also provide other materials such as yarn for stems, crayons for leaves and other features, or buttons and ribbons – anything you have lying around.
Try one of the following creations or devise your own.
Have your children draw the trunk and branches with a brown crayon or maker, then add leaves with their fingerprints. They can add fingerprint fruit or use orange, red, yellow, and brown for fall leaves. Pink creates a tree covered with blossoms.
Use bright colours for the balloons and draw (or use physical string) for the attached strings.
Four fingerprints spaced along a line – two on each side – create an interesting butterfly. Add feelers with fine-point markers.
Try suggesting a combination of shapes, such as flowers with butterflies. Once your children begin making creations with fingerprints, they will discover many ways to use them
Paper plates are pretty easy to come by in any supermarket; check your cupboards you may even have some laying around from children’s parties. Paper plates are perfect for creating a variety of interesting projects.
Cut out the centre of a paper plate and tape or glue wax or transparent paper over the hole. Decorate the transparent paper with paint and wax paper with crayons or markers. Add a string or ribbon hanger and place where the sun can shine through and it’ll project whatever colours you’ve used onto the walls.
For younger children learning time, have them create a simple clock using a brad to hold the hands.
All you need to do is fold a paper plate in half, cut a hole in the top middle, decorate, and add a handle. For a larger purse, use two whole paper plates. Cut the top ¼ off and secure the edges with yarn using a blanket stitch or simply staple them together. Decorate and add additional embellishments, such as ribbon, doilies, or buttons.
Many of you will remember using potatoes as a paint stamp, but there are other methods as well. Try other vegetables, such as carrots, celery leaves (make interesting long strokes), or cucumbers. Additionally, cotton balls and sponges will work in a pinch. I have even used balls of facial tissue for “stamping.”
If colour can adhere to something long enough for it to be transferred to paper, it will work. Poster paint works best for this.
Older children will enjoy potato stamping. Since this requires using a knife, you may wish to have younger children use something else for stamping. Wash the potatoes. Cut the potato in half and use a pencil to draw the design. Cut around the design ¼ inch deep. Curved lines are easier to cut then straight lines or sharp corners. After dipping your cut potato in paint, stamp the object being decorated. Paint stamping works well for pictures or on cloth.
Whether you need an activity for a rainy day, or your children have complained they are bored mid-summer, using one of these three crafts can provide a few hours of fun.
Start a craft bag or box. Whenever you have anything colourful, with texture, or that could be used for anything crafty, put it in your craft container. When your children do crafts, pull out the bag or box for them to use and when you’ve finished slide it back under your kids’ bed.