Arts & Crafts for Kids

SALT CLAY

Simply playing with clay reaps many benefits.[1] Modeling with clay can improve hand-eye coordination, promotes healthy relationship with trial and error, helps develop fine motor skills, teaches the power of creativity, and has calming effects on the body.[2] Below are the ingredients you’ll need to make salt clay.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
  • 1 1/2 cups of salt
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
DIRECTIONS

Mix together the above ingredients in a large bowl. While mixing, a dough-like substance will start to form. Knead the clay and add water if it becomes crumbly. The finished clay can then be molded into various shapes and designs, or simply squished around for fun. Optional: Children can bake their salt clay creation. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees and place the clay on a baking sheet. Bake the clay for a few minutes, occasionally checking for cracks. Once cooled, the clay can be painted and decorated, too.

HALLWAY LASER TAG

A great way to burn off some energy indoors as the months become colder, children can navigate through a unique arrangement of crepe/streamer paper any way they see fit. Transform the hallway of your home into a laser maze for children, teens, and even the whole family with just two supplies.[3]

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Masking tape
  • A roll of crepe/streamer paper.

DIRECTIONS

To start, tape the paper in a zigzag patten, back and forth and high and low, making your way down the hallway. The maze should be complicated enough so someone cannot just army crawl underneath, but also expanded and roomy to allow momentum and strategy so as to not touch the paper (like a real laser maze seen in science fiction or action films). Family members can take turns or even keep track of who can get through the maze the fastest.

FAMILY MAILBOX

By describing your day, creating a story, or just solely expressing feelings of love and gratitude, family and friends can develop and reinforce connections through reading and writing letters to each other. This activity provides various learning opportunities as well, such as enhancing confidence with word usage, spelling, and grammar; fueling the imagination; improving focus and thought comprehension; and strengthening communication skills.[4,5]

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
  • Shoe box, small box of some sort, or manila envelopes,
  • Paper,
  • Marker
  • Crayons
  • Paint
  • Optional: Glitter, beads, or anything else for decorating.
DIRECTIONS

Decorate your boxes or envelopes and write either the family’s or child(ren)’s name and address somewhere on them. (Each member of the family can have one, or your family can use one collective “mailbox.”) Choose a designated area of the house to place the mailbox so family members and friends will know where to put (“mail”) their letters. After the area is established, write letters to each other and deliver them to the box. At a certain time of day or week, everyone can check their mailboxes and share the letters they received.
Tip: Drawings, recipes, and photos can also be shared!

FAST FACT!

Based on collected data from several studies, researchers observed that a significant increase in arts educational experiences had significant positive impacts on the academic, social, and emotional outcomes of participating students. In terms of developing compassion, students “who received more arts education experiences are more interested in how other people feel and more likely to want to help people who are treated badly.”[6] 

SOURCES

  1. Childfun site. Nutrition Activities & Fun Ideas for Kids. https://www.childfun.com/themes/food/nutrition/?fbclid=IwAR3-SPdV7yraCtho6mTk8rA3IF28HS27pFdmKuOQeh06x3bIYbUhm9FSaeo.
    Accessed 30 Sept 2020. 
  2. Lee S. Art Benefits and Why Clay Art is Great for Children. Nature for the Future. https://www.figur8.net/2013/03/05/clay-modelling-and-the-benefits-of-art/. Accessed 30 Sept 2020.
  3. It’s Always Autumn site. DIY hallway laser tag. 28 Dec 2017. https://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/diy-hallway-laser-maze-indoor-fun-for-kids.html.  Accessed 30 Sept 2020.
  4. Hands on as We Grow site. DIY family mailboxes for all ages. Art Projects. https://handsonaswegrow.com/diy-family-mailboxes/. Accessed 30 Sept 2020.
  5. Smith C. The benefits of writing. https://www.niu.edu/language-literacy/_pdf/the-benefits-of-writing.pdf. Northern Illinois University: Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy. Accessed 30 Sept 2020. 
  6. Kisida B. New Evidence of the Benefits of Arts Education. 12 Feb 2019. Brown Center Chalkboard. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center- chalkboard/2019/02/12/new-evidence-of-the-benefits- of-arts-education/. Accessed 30 Sept 2020. 

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