Although we spend a lot of time outside, we really try to stay inside between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to avoid overexposure to the sun and the need for sunscreen. During that time, she’s often bored unless I have some arts and crafts out for her.
Because of the age of our youngest, the craft supplies have to be kept out of reach, and I find that trying to come up with creative combinations of supplies on the fly is getting harder and harder. While the girls love to color and can stay engaged for an hour or more with just a coloring book and crayons, it gets old when that’s all you do.
Art Boxes and Encouraging Free Art
I’ve written before about the value of art boxes for stimulating free art, but for younger kids, these ready-to-go boxes work much better. One problem I discovered with the art boxes is that the girls were not really focusing on any one thing, and they ended up bored anyway because they played with everything every day. I think as they get older, we’ll move back towards the original art boxes (and we have!).
Instead of giving them access to everything at once, I prepare their art boxes with five different free-art activities. Each day, I simply open the box and let them choose one for the day, and everything they need is ready to go. Because our 21-month-old is determined to be a big girl but not quite able to handle the same crafts as the older girls, I also pack her box with similar yet toddler-friendly activities.
What’s in the Art Box?
As an example, the art box in the picture above includes:
2. Foam shapes and glue for gluing, as well as a foam sheet to cut additional shapes
3. Play-Doh, cookie cutters and a kid-friendly knife
5. A second foam sheet and some make-your-own-monster stickers (in the lid behind the yellow foam sheet)
Benefits of Preplanned Activities
Taking a little bit of time over the weekend to prepare these boxes makes it easier to pull out crafts throughout the week.
As an added bonus, when I take time to put these together ahead of time, I actually have time to look through the boxes for other activity ideas and long-forgotten project supplies, which means I leave them neater and more organized than I found them, rather than making a mess as I root through them, which is what usually happens when I’m searching desperately for an idea that will hold their attention without making a huge mess.
Do your kids do lots of arts and crafts? What’s the biggest obstacle to including arts and crafts as part of your daily activities?