My kids are both super creative. They love to make projects, paint and draw … anything that keeps both their hands and their imaginations busy. We are frequently pulling out our craft supplies and making fun, colorful messes while we create.
If your kids are anything like mine, you will know how much space craft supplies can take up and how expensive some of the materials can be. We don’t have lots of extra space (as we currently live in an apartment) and honestly, I don’t have extra cash to spend on super pricy materials. But that doesn’t hinder my kids crafting – we just get creative with things we already have.
Some of the best projects have been made with things that I have had laying around the house.
- Jewelry gift boxes
- Old Clothes
- Food (potatoes, apples, carrots, flour, pasta)
- Tin Foil
All of these items are readily available here and they lend themselves to so many fabulous project!! You can easily make stamps for paint out of the potatoes and apples, and the carrots make a neat pattern if you use them to paint with (by rolling them around on the paper). The same is true of the marbles, and even tinfoil can be shaped and used so many ways — as a stamp, as a template, or even as your project base.
The great outdoors can also be the perfect place to find craft supplies! Rocks, leaves, sticks, acorns, and pine cones can all be used to create fun projects.
Easy Projects Using What You Have On Hand
Pasta Creations – Pasta can be used for SO much. You can string different shaped (uncooked) pasta together to create fun bracelets, necklaces and even decorative garland. Color your pasta with paint or markers, and you have a super colorful and unique accessory. My daughter also likes to make pictures with different shaped pieces of macaroni – she uses elbow noodles, wagon wheels and any other fun shapes I can find. We have even made sentences with alphabet noodles.
Paper Mache is another fun, easy, and super inexpensive project that you can make at home using anything that you have on had. Your paste is made out of flour and water, and you can literally use any type of paper available – computer paper, newspaper, magazines, tissue paper, wrapping paper … ever paper towels! Ultimate Paper Mache has two basic paste recipes (a cook and a no-cook version) and tons of project ideas.
Make a Rock Buddy! When I was little, we would go for long walks through the woods and down dirt paths. I would always take a bag to collect any goodies that I found, and I always seemed to focus on rocks (something my kids also do). Once I got home, I would clean up the rocks and paint them! I made lady bugs, smiley faces, letter rocks and rocks that just had pretty designs. They were fun and easy, and the perfect outdoor craft.
Salt Dough can be used for so many projects – you can harden your child’s creations for lasting keepsakes or gifts, or they can use it as play dough. Best of all, you only need three basic ingredients to make it – salt, flour and water!
What To Buy
There are a few items that you will have to head to the store for. But most these items are reusable, so they are worth the small investment.
- Paint Brushes – Pick up a package that has many different sized brushes, including a foam brush.
- Paint – If your kids are like mine and love to paint, then the larger bottles are probably your best bet. If you are just starting out, or thinking that you don’t want the mess of too much paint, start out with a smaller starter pack to see how it goes. When my daughter first started painting, she got into the paints by herself and painter her whole body, the kitchen table and the floor. I was VERY happy that it was only the small paint pots and not large bottles!
- Crayons, Markers and Colored Pencils – If you stock up around back to school time, you can pick up these items for less than a $1 a package. Crayons are even as low as $0.25 around this time, so stock up! You can do so much with crayons, that it is worth the small investment. And don’t throw away broken crayons – save them to melt and turn into candles or new, fun shaped crayons.
- Paper – It is inevitable that you will need a lot of paper. We keep sketch pads, computer paper, card stock in tons of colors, drawing paper, and construction paper on hand at all times.
- Scissors – I also pick up scissors at back to school time. I get two pairs for each of my kids because it is guaranteed that they will each loose a pair quickly. I also keep a larger pair that I use just for crafting with them – these scissors get very gunked up depending on what we are cutting and it is nice to have a dedicated pair.
- Glue and Tape – Same as before, stock up on these items right around back to school time for the best deal. Tape usually goes on sale right after Christmas to clear out some of the overstock that stores have.
- Plastic Bins – I find that it is easiest to craft when everything is in one place. I use plastic bins to store all of our supplies, and then I can quickly pull out what my kids want to create with. I have some that I keep under the bed, and others that are stored on a shelf, but having these craft boxes has saved me a lot of time and frustration searching for supplies.
Shop At Yard Sales And Thrift Stores
You can pick up great craft supplies for next to nothing. Some things to keep an eye out for are
- Greeting Cards
- Embroidery Thread
- Holiday Garlands
- Old Magazines
- Craft Sticks
- And anything else that jumps out to you!
Crafting with kids is so much fun! Take your kids with you to yard sales to look for items that inspire them. You may be amazed at what they pick out!