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girl finger painting

Arts and crafts are not only fun, but provide many benefits for your children, among them:

  • Encouraging creative thinking
  • Developing critical thinking skills
  • Allowing emotional expression
  • Building self-confidence
  • Introducing pride in the ability to create something original and personal
  • Teaching collaboration
  • Following directions and working toward completion of a task
  • Helping with fine motor coordination
  • Providing fun!

Fingerprint Art

Every child comes with built-in tools for art – their fingers. Fingerprint art, as the name implies, is creating artistic renderings with the use of fingerprints. All you need is paper, anything that can color 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.

  • Tree

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.

  • Balloons

Use bright colours for the balloons and draw (or use physical string) for the attached strings.

  • Flowers

Provide pictures of flowers for inspiration and ideas. Your child can either create a bouquet, put their flowers in a row (draw stems and leaves), or draw an arrangement in a vase.

  • Animals

Encourage your children to create dogs, cats, and other animals using fingerprints. You will be surprised at their creativity.

  • Butterflies

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 Plate Crafts

We all have paper plates, and they are perfect for creating a variety of interesting projects.

  • Faces

Draw a face on the paper plate and add string hair and any other decoration you wish.

  • Sun Catchers

Cut out the center 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.

  • Clocks

For younger children learning time, have them create a simple clock using a brad to hold the hands.

  • Masks

Use either a half or whole paper plate to create a fun mask. Cut eye holes and decorate. Girls will enjoy making a princess mask with glitter and feathers if available. Other ideas are animal masks or spooky mask at Halloween.

  • Frisbees

Cut a hole in two paper plates. Paste them together with the rounded sides facing out. Let your children decorate them with paint, crayons, or markers. You will be surprised how well these Frisbees fly!

  • Purses

Your girls will love this one! All they 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.

Paint Stamping

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.

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 diversion to create and even more if they choose to create a Frisbee, mask, or another project that elicits creative play.


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.

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