Remote learning is the name of the game as we shelter in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. But as kids suss out the difference between scalene and isosceles triangles or dive into “The Phantom Tollbooth,” regular breaks are necessary.
When the time comes to put down the books, devices aren’t the only answer. Try unplugging and turn to crafts to keep your children occupied.
“Being creative is important right now because most of us really need an outlet,” says Julie Coraccio, a professional organizer and author of “Got Clutter? 365 Journal Prompts.”
And aside from being an activity that can fill an hour or two, art projects can be helpful for your children later in life.
“Creativity is an important skill to have as it teaches us to solve problems and gets us out of our regular thinking pattern,” Coraccio adds.
You won’t need much in the way of special supplies, especially for crafts projects for young kids. Scan your junk drawer, recycle bin, and wrapping paper station for bits that can be upcycled into something beautiful.
Check out the following ideas that go beyond rock painting and macaroni necklaces. Most crafts can be tackled by the kids alone, though adult supervision might be required.
Got fruit? To create a pomander (a type of sachet), all you need is a piece of produce, like an orange, clementine, grapefruit, or apple, along with whole cloves and some string or ribbon.
Cover the rind completely or stud the fruit with the cloves in any pattern (e.g., stripes or small circles). Then attach the string, leaving a long piece for hanging it on a hook. Pomanders can be placed inside a coat or clothes closet to perfume items and banish musty odors.
2. DIY dollhouse
Sure, the Barbie DreamHouse or an old-fashioned Victorian with working lights is a fab toy, but there’s a lot of satisfaction to be gained from a structure you build yourself.
“If you have a bunch of cardboard boxes from stuff you’ve been ordering, the kids could make a cool house for dolls or action figures,” says Coraccio. Shoeboxes also make great structures for a DIY dollhouse.
Gather the boxes, along with scissors for cutting out windows and doors, and markers, paint, or stickers to decorate.
3. Fabric kite
You may have used up all your fabric scraps to sew face masks for friends and family, but if there’s a large piece left, making a kite is quick and easy.
“Scrounge around in the garage or the backyard for wood or sticks to make the frame,” suggests Coraccio.
Gather wire or twine and glue, and then cut one piece slightly shorter than the other. Lay the shorter one on top in a cross shape, and secure the sticks in the middle with twine or wire. Use twine to create an outline of the kite’s frame, knotting it at each point of the sticks. Lay the fabric over the frame, and glue it securely. Fashion a tail from colorful pieces of leftover Christmas ribbon or yarn.
4. Fishbowl terrarium
Fish don’t live very long, but their accessories linger (seemingly) forever in the basement. Unearth an old glass bowl, and line it with pebbles and a layer of dirt. Pieces of moss can be added next, along with leaves and twigs. And if you have a succulent to donate, transplant it here.
5. Tape raceway
Tape is a crafts lover’s dream, whether it’s masking, packing, or gaffer’s. Any color and width will do to create a racetrack for your kids’ toy trucks and cars.
Or, have your tot lay out a set of tape tracks for a train set. A whole town can be made from small boxes; cover them in wrapping paper and arrange them around the track’s edges.
6. Homemade version of Skee-Ball
We may not be able to go to the arcade right now, but you can still get your Skee-Ball fix with an at-home version of the classic game.
Line up laundry baskets—either on shelves, in a closet, or on the ground—with each container worth a certain amount. The farther away it is, the higher the earned score.
7. Paper bag puppets
You’re not packing lunches for school right now, so dig out some small paper sacks along with crayons, glue, yarn, and pieces of felt. Center the puppet’s face with the bottom flap as its mouth, and then add eyes, a nose, and teeth. Glue on pieces of yarn for hair and felt shapes for a bow tie or collar.
8. Decorated pencil cups
Home schooling and remote work mean you’re probably running out of pencil cups at each work station. Solve it by making colorful holders out of aluminum cans, yarn or fabric, and glue. Wash the can to remove any label, and then measure and cut pieces of yarn to match the can’s circumference. Squeeze a thin line of glue around the can and add a piece of yarn or fabric over it, continuing until the can is covered.