Not only are arts and crafts a great way for kids to absorb themselves in something fun and productive, creative play is also vital for childhood development - encouraging thinking skills, hand-eyed coordination and emotional intelligence. Ready for some new projects? Get them started with these simple crafty ideas.
There are loads of everyday items to be found in the home that cane make fantastic arts and craft supplies, so before you throw things out, take a second look. With a little bit of acrylic paint, some scissors and some stick-on eyes, an empty egg carton can transform into wide-jawed crocodile. String some lengths of coloured yarn through a paper plate, draw a face and voila - a luminescent jelly-fish! Take two paper cups, get a parent to make two holes with a nail then some sticky-tape a long length of string (4 mt long, or more) between the two cups, and you've got an old-school telephone or walky talky that will provide many hours of fun!
Get them creating masterworks out of everyday objects with this handy starter kit:
Collage is another perfect way to incorporate everyday and found objects to create a true fridge-door masterpiece. Old magazines can be a real treasure trove for this - travel and nature magazines are excellent. Head into your own backyard, that's also a great place for kids to find colourful leaves; rice, pasta shells and macaroni make excellent collage items, too - you can even paint them. Collage can be a great collaborative activity, especially with younger kids; pre-cut some fun shapes and pictures and let them choose which ones to use. Start with a large sheet of watercolour paper as your base then add a vibrant splash of watercolour paint, then add some stickers and shapes cut from coloured craft paper and they'll have a piece worthy of framing.
Old magazines, newspapers, books or comics, rice and macaroni - whatever captures their attention!
Fun for kids of all ages (and surprisingly soothing for adults!), playdough is a perennial favourite for imaginative play. Its malleability and tactile nature make it perfect for developing fine-motor skills and promoting creativity. Use googly-eyes to create an undersea monster or try poking sticks of spaghetti ‘candles’ into your own playdough birthday cake! While you’ll find an excellent range of playdough to buy, it’s also super easy to make yourself using flour, salt, cream of tartar, food colouring and water.
Looking for a fun creative activity for the whole family that is also delicious? Why not hold your very own cake decorating competition? Although this is an activity suited to slightly older kids (and definitely one that needs supervision), baking can be a wonderful shared creative activity. It’s also a great way to introduce mathematics through measuring and weighing, and to practice reading skills by following a recipe.
Before MasterChef, before Nailed It, there was The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. If you grew up in Australia any time from 1980 onward there’s a good chance that you’ll be familiar with it. For many growing up it was a sacred tome of eye-popping, delectable delight, to be wistfully pored over all year. From fairy-tale inspired designs like the old woman who lived in a shoe, Humpty Dumpty, and Candy Castle to trains, racing cars, lions, sharks and the classic jelly swimming pool – the book’s ingenious designs defined a generation of birthday cakes.
Creativity and cooking have always gone hand in hand, and this activity is the perfect (ahem) mixture of both. Results may vary. But that’s half the fun.
Cake comp basic kit:
For more inspiration, visit our arts & crafts retailers.
*Please note that due to COVID-19, some stores may be closed at this time, but most are still available for online purchases. For an updated list of Woodgrove retailers still trading please click here.