If you’re anything like me, you love the idea of getting crafty with your kiddos – but may not be a fan of the cost of craft supplies. Let’s be honest – kids are costly and crafts can be too. But, I’ve found a few not-so-daunting kid crafts under $5 that have become favorites at my house. And, now that my daughter Ella is almost five, she’s a little better equipped to tackle some crafting roadblocks of years past (scissors and glue sticks, for example). So here’s our list of our most loved together-time activities:
PROJECT ONE: CREATE YOUR OWN BOOK
With the help of Target’s $3 bins, we are big fans of creating our own stories – complete with illustrations, and now, Ella’s very own handwriting! This is a great activity to do year after year with your kids. You get to watch their drawing, talent, and spelling skills grow with time.
Here’s what you need to get you started:
- Blank storybooks (or create your own with folded plain paper)
- Kid-friendly markers or crayons
- A little imagination!
Being Pittsburghers, we are cloaked in winter weather for several months of the year, which means that we’re either housebound for playtime, or snow-bound. Ella happens to love the snow, so she named her latest story “Fun in the Snow.” Check out her cover, which depicting her making a snowman with her little brother, Gunner. Well done, peanut!
PROJECT TWO: LIGHT BULB ART
I start this project with the caveat that you should likely have a kiddo old enough to understand the fragility of a light bulb. From there – it’s all pretty simple.
- Standard light bulb, preferably 40 watts or lower
- Dark ink permanent marker(s)
Following inspiration found on Pinterest – this task is pretty straightforward. Using a dark permanent marker let your little one go wild on the light bulb. You can create elaborate or silly designs over the bulb’s surface. End goal: once the bulb is in a lit lamp, in a dark room, the designs will illuminate the room’s ceiling. Our first attempt was not so successful as we used a too-bright bulb and too-light ink, but were redeemed with our second try. It’s a craft that rings in under $1 – so I’m all for it!
PROJECT THREE: KITCHEN ROLL BIRD FEEDER
My favorite crafts come from things found in the home, so little or few dollars are spent rounding up supplies AND you can whip it up on a surprise rainy day. As we anxiously wait for spring to arrive, Ella is forever listening for birds outside again – and even the tiniest chirp gets a lot of attention. So when I offered up a bird feeder craft – she was ALL FOR IT. Inspiration found here.
- Kitchen Roll
- Peanut Butter
- Sticks (4 small sticks of similar length)
- Twine or ribbon
- Bird Seed (or DIY seed: Cheerios, Sunflower Seeds, Bread Crumbs, Oats)
- Mix seed in a wide bowl (or baking pan if you prefer to roll it on).
- Make a cut on opposite sides of both top and bottom of kitchen roll for a total of four opposing slots in each end.
- String twine through one slot on each side of the top of the roll. Tie to create a loop for hanging.
- Criss-cross sticks through the slots in both top and bottom (to avoid a curious bird from making their way into the tube.
- Coat the kitchen roll with peanut butter.
- Either roll it in your seed mix, or drop it on and rotate as you go (as we did).
7. Hang for birds to enjoy!
PROJECT FOUR: BATHROOM ROLL BINOCULARS
What better to accompany your new bird feeder than binoculars to watch the birds enjoy their snack? Our last project is the bathroom roll binoculars, and a personal favorite. It’s one of the easiest for us (supplies-wise), and provides long-lasting fun!
- Two Toilet Paper Rolls
- Kid-friendly paint or markers
- Glue Stick
- Make one cut on the side of one end of each roll (to string the rope).
- Draw a dotted line down the insides of each roll where they’ll be glued to each other. These lines will be on the opposite side of the roll from where you made a cut in #1.
- NOTE: This was a safeguard so Ella didn’t have one of her “designs” disappear when we glued them together later. Let them decorate! We used markers because we already had them, and it required no set up, and little clean up!
- String your rope through the cuts you made, and tie in a large lanyard-size loop.
- Glue the two rolls together on the dotted lines.
- Voila! Binoculars! Another Pinterest win. Check out the original inspiration here.
NON-CRAFT ACTIVTIES FOR THE LAST MINUTE RAINY DAY
When all else fails in our house, we pop out some of our tried and true go-to activities for last minute needs, such as:
- Window Markers (it wipes off – genius!)
- Color Wonder Color Pages by Crayola
- Painting Nails (another of Ella’s favorites!)
- Matching Games (No box set at home? Try a deck of basic cards.)
All in all, there’s nothing better than spending quality time with your mini-me, and watching them use their imagination & creativity is doubly rewarding.
Written by Jen, a 4moms human resources team member and FOLD contributor. Read more about Jen here.