Stuck at home with the kids? From puppets to play dough, get creative with these DIY kid-friendly crafts you can make with tools and ingredients around your home.
Don't have time to run to the store? Kid-friendly crafts come easy when you've got a DIY mindset and a few regular household items. Here are some easy and playful ways to get crafy with your kids.
DIY Crafts for Kids
- Moon Sand
- Shrinky Dinks
- Play Dough
- Silly Putty
Let's dive into each craft a little further.
For a fun craft project, have your children make paper lunch bags into puppets. All you have to do is turn the bag upside down, then draw a face on what would be the bottom of the bag. Draw the mouth so that it’s half on the bottom, half on the bag itself—that way, when someone puts a hand inside, the "mouth" can be opened and closed. Give your kids extras from your sewing box such as trim, fabric scraps, and buttons to embellish the puppets.
If your kids need glitter in an emergency (and who hasn’t had a glitter emergency?), you can make your own at home. Just take a cup of salt, add 10-15 drops of your favorite food coloring, and mix it thoroughly. Microwave on high for two to three minutes, then spread it out on a sheet of nonstick foil or wax paper to dry. If you don’t use it all right away, make sure to store it in an airtight container.
3. Moon Sand
If your kids like Moon Sand, that soft sand that can be molded into all kinds of shapes, here’s an inexpensive version you can make yourself. Mix together two cups of sand, one cup of cornstarch, and a half cup of water. Kids can use their beach toys as molds, or you can provide them with cookie cutters, measuring cups, and other baking tools that they can fill to make their sand creations. (For a larger quantity, double or triple the recipe.)
4. Shrinky Dinks
Who doesn’t love Shrinky Dinks? For the uninitiated, they’re plastic sheets of animals and other designs that kids color and decorate. The pieces are then baked in the oven until the plastic shrinks down to a tiny size. We’ve discovered that you can use #6 plastic to make your own version! Usually you’ll find #6 plastic used for take-out containers or for packaging pastries in clamshells at the supermarket. First cut the plastic into the shape that you want. Then, using sandpaper, sand down one side to make it somewhat rough. Allow your child to draw his or her desired picture or image on the rough side, and stick it in a 350˚F oven for about three minutes or until it shrinks down. (Keep a close eye on it. After all, watching it is the fun part!) Remove and allow to cool.
When they were younger, our kids loved making ceramic objects out of clay. Best of all, the clay is easy to make at home. Thoroughly mix the following ingredients in a bowl: four cups of flour, one and a third cups of salt, three-quarters of a cup of white glue, one and a third teaspoons of lemon juice, and one and a third cups of water. When you’ve got it all mixed together, you should end up with a pliable clay that can be either sculpted into different shapes or sliced with cookie cutters. When your kids are done molding the clay, let the creations sit overnight, allowing them to harden and air-dry. Then they can apply paint and/or glaze.
6. Play Dough
Don’t spend money on store-bought Play-Doh; make your own at home instead with the following ingredients: two cups of flour, two cups of water, one cup of salt, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, one tablespoon of cream of tartar, and the food coloring of your choice. Combine the ingredients in a large saucepan and stir continuously over medium heat until a solid ball forms. Remove it from the heat, knead it until all the lumps are out, and you should end up with a finished product nearly identical to the real thing. Make sure to store it in a completely airtight container; you might even want to dab a few drops of water on the underside of the lid before sealing it.
7. Silly Putty
This incredibly easy version of Silly Putty requires only three ingredients and takes just few minutes to make. You’ll need a half cup of Elmer’s glue, a quarter cup of liquid laundry starch, and food coloring. Pour the glue into a bowl, then add the laundry starch. Next, mix together for about 5-10 minutes, until it starts to form a ball. (It may not look like much at first, but keep mixing until a putty-like consistency forms.) Add a few drops of food coloring and knead until the color is evenly distributed. Store in in a sealed container the refrigerator between uses.
Here’s a quick, homemade toy that will keep your boys busy for hours, if not days: Take a large piece of corrugated cardboard and cut it in the shape of a sword (use two pieces and tape them together, if necessary). Wrap the handle with electrical tape and the “blade” with duct tape. Your kids can practice their fencing skills against each other, and since they’re playing with cardboard, you won’t have to worry about them getting hurt.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.