My four-year-old celebrated her birthday this year with all the fanfare and a party, a Superhero-Mermaid birthday party to be exact. She loves celebrations, having her friends over to play, and parties that sparkle as much as her personality. Now that she's four, she has lots of ambitions to do big girl activities; she learned how to ride her bike in a matter of 30 minutes thanks to the hours she spent practicing on her Strider balance bike. My daughter loves baking and helping mommy cook in the kitchen. She loves painting and doing crafts. My 4-year-old is also an amazing older sister to her two younger siblings. With all the activity in our house, it can be challenging to come up with activities for her to do. Here are some of the fun kids' crafts we've done recently that are perfect for toddlers and kids!
Do you have a 4 year old? If you do, you know there's a huge difference between what "sounds fun" on Pinterest and what's actually doable with a 4 year old, at least without destroying an outfit, the floor, and spending then next 3 hours cleaning. While I'd love to try the DIY rock candy, 30 science projects for 4-year-olds, and the "how to encourage your toddler to become the next Picasso" art projects, I know very well what my preschooler can actually do. Baking muffins usually looks like this. Finger painting looks like the picture above. So here are some actual projects that an actual mom with a preschooler, toddler, and 6-month-old baby has accomplished, and enjoyed for the most part.
This apple tree craft was a lot of fun. My 4-year-old had been asking for a few days to do an apple tree craft. What she meant, I had no idea. However I printed off an apple tree and some forest creatures, and with a little glitter and some glue, it was a huge success! The floor stayed clean, my kids enjoyed their 15 minutes of crafting, and we didn't have to hose them down in the yard afterward. Yay!
Another winner, combine a fun preschool project and snack time into one! I helped my kids cut out "seaweed" from green construction paper, which they glued onto blue construction paper along with a handful of goldfish. These playful goldfish are happy because they found a new identity as imaginative art! I would say this easy DIY ocean scene is decorating our fridge, but my two year old ended up peeling off her goldfish crackers and eating them anyway, glue and all. Our ocean scene project was fun, simple, and easy to clean up; my kind of project!
Paper cutting crafts offer great development skills!
Homemade play dough is another easy kid's craft Mix together flour, water, cream of tarter, and a salt over medium heat until it becomes dough. Add in food coloring, glitter and a fragrance if you want. Easy sensory success! Homemade play dough also lasts a long time if you store it in a Ziplock bag. DIY play dough is fun for kids to sculpt and practice their motor skills with a play knife, cookie cutters, or rolling pin. Homemade play dough is pretty much a preschool essential and you can mix it up in minutes.
Combine the water, salt, vegetable oil and cream of tartar in a saucepan and heat until warm. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, kneading until you create dough. Add any optional food coloring colors, glitter, and fragrances or essential oils to make scented play dough! Your homemade play dough will last months if you store it in an airtight container.
Glitter Goo is also a fun and easy kid's craft to make and play with; pretty much just cornstarch, water, and glitter. We used fine glitter, but a courser glitter or even sequins would be much better.
Mix water and cornstarch together in a sauce pan, heating it on warm until it thickens. Add a douse of glitter, sequins, or even small beads and allow to cool before squishing it around. Simple, fun to play with, and if homemade glitter goo gets on the carpet or floor it's easy to wipe up.
Sensory boxes are also fun for kids, especially if you already have one assembled and ready to go. Water beads or play sand make a great sensory medium for DIY sensory bins. Discovery Boxes by Revelae Kids offer all-in-one portable sensory bins that include small creatures, jewels, tiny trees, and miniature sensory accents; available in themes such as Ocean Exploration, Butterfly Garden, Rainforest, and Creepy Crawlers. Discovery Boxes cost about as much as it would cost to buy all the items individually, an easy sensory bin option for a birthday gift or a rainy afternoon kids' activity.
So you see? It is possible to have a lot of fun with your kids, creating some cute age appropriate crafts, without driving yourself crazy or making a mess. My daughter inherited my "Creative ADD" so I have to find ways to engage her in creative activities that are simple to set up and enjoyable for all, including mommy!
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