Friday, August 17, 2012

Toddler Fun Series: The Craft Kit

I've noticed lately that for all the reading and playing we do, Rhys and I actually do quite little in the way of crafty/planned activity type things.  I think this may be a working mom thing . . . I get home from the office and the school run and it is all I can do to put something reasonably healthy on the table and maybe even sneak in a toddler bath before it is time for bed.  We haven't got a ton of time for master planned activities.  Crafting is, however, something that is obviously pretty darn important to me.  It is how I spend about half of my "me time" and something I really enjoy.  And given that  preschool is starting (crazy) soon and considering all the fine motor skills Rhys will be able to pick up by practicing crafty activities, I felt it was high time we get him on a regular craft project rotation.

I stockpiled a list of ideas and, once I'd done so, I realized I needed to put together a basic craft kit for Rhys.  95% of the ideas I'm going to share in this series can be replicated with materials from this kit alone, there are literally hundreds of hours of fun to be had all contained in this unassuming box.  The kit would cost about $30 to replicate in full, but I think most moms have at least half this stuff lying around the house already.  Here's my master list:
1) Drawing paper
2) Construction paper (Ikea sells a huge pack of white and construction paper for about $4)
3) Painting paper (Not strictly necessary, but handy if you have a toddler who is heavy handed with wet, soggy paints)
4) Washable school glue
5) Glue stick
6) Tape
7) Safety Scissors (Ikea sells an set of toddler scissors and toddler pinking scissors for a few dollars)
8) Crayons
9) Markers (washable are ideal)
10) Watercolors (You can pick up a set for around a dollar. Lots of  bang for your buck!)
11) Finger Paints
12) Paintbrushes (Another item I picked up at Ikea)
13) Play doh
14) Play doh toys
15) Stickers (An awesome resource for stickers is the party store.  Super inexpensive sheets in a variety of characters!)
16) Popsicle sticks (For the next 4 items, I discovered that craft store prices were FAR lower than Amazon's prices, for what it is worth.)
17) Pipe cleaners (which might be called "chenille sticks", depending on where you're shopping
18) Google Eyes
19) Pom poms
20) Scraps of yarn (hopefully you or someone you know knits or crochets. If not, a skein of multicolor, variegated yarn might do the trick)
21) Egg Carton
22) Paper towel tubes
23) Paper Plates (The cheaper the better, plain white with no designs are most useful)
24) Paper Lunch Bags
25) Optional: Craft Kits.  Creativity for Kids makes great ones for around $5 (but they often go on sale for $2 or $3 at Joann's.). We've done a Build Your Own Wooden Train kit and a Foam Airplane kit, both of which were huge hits. 
Other ideas:  dried beans, dried pasta, glitter glue, tin foil, tissue paper, sticky back foam shapes or letters, Styrofoam shapes, empty mints tins, old magazines or catalogs, empty boxes, etc. etc.

Now that we have THE BOX all assembled, I find that Rhys and I do art projects and activities together really regularly.  Putting the box together is 3/4 of the battle.  I can't wait to share some of our project ideas here!


Natalie J said...

FYi - Dollar Tree has google eyes, foam shapes (and foam sheets), paint, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, google eyes, etc. They also have little mini craft kits, I've seen ink pads, pony beads. It's really quite ridiculous but I can't wait to utilize it when I have a bebe that's old enough. :)

Tara Espinoza said...

Have you seen the $1 frames at Michaels? They are in our arts & crafts box STILL! They make great gifts. Most of the frames we have hung on our wall are Antonio originals. :)

Amy said...

I love this series! And this is a great list (you're right - I have most of this stuff, just not put together). I need to round it all up and make a box for Tate soon so I'll be more compelled to do daily crafts and projects. Thanks for the ideas and motivation!