So this week I have fully shut my pottery café (due to Coronavirus and government instructions) and our family has confined itself to the home. Luckily we have just moved house and we have some space and a lovely garden to play in, although around 100 boxes to unpack. All the same, I have transferred from working full-time and running three businesses to suddenly being a stay-at-home mum with a 3-year old to entertain (and still one business to run).
So, I got my creative-pants on and for week one of our lockdown, busted out some toddler-friendly craft activities. Rummaging through my boxes of ‘craft crap’ to use up has been fun and I am hopeful that this may cut down slightly my never-ending stash of stuff!
I wanted to share some of these activities in case anyone else has a toddler (or older children) to entertain. Some activities lasted all of 5 minutes and some (the timing was right!!) lasted an hour or so…
Note: I fully appreciate that not everyone may have quite the same stash of stuff as me but hopefully it may give you some ideas for things to do that are similar. My little girl has just turned 3 but these activities would work well with older children too.
1. Button Pictures
Get a big marker pen and draw a simple picture like a heart or a rainbow. Lay out some PVA glue and some colourful buttons. Get you little one to spread the glue over the picture and then stick the buttons on to the picture. These are really bright, colourful and fun! Again if you don’t have tins of buttons at home, why not try pieces of tissue, scrap paper or cut up pieces of cardboard.
2. Threading Beads
This activity was a BIG winner with my little one. She has a thing for tiny beads so it was an easy win for both of us. I laid out a stash of brightly coloured beads in front of her so she could thread a string to make bracelets. She made three for herself and three for other members of the family. If you don’t have a hugh stash of beads, why not try using cheerios!
Couple of tips:
- Tie the first bead to the string for your little one so they can then thread the rest without them falling off (often a knot doesn’t work).
- Also put some sellotape around the top of the string / thread / wool so the top is like a needle and easier to thread on the beads.
3. Painted handprints
Grab some poster paint, a paintbrush, a small person’s hand and some paper. Paint the hand, press it down onto the paper and then turn it into something! Play with different colours and get your little one to suggest what you could turn the handprint into. Sometimes it’s best to wait for the handprint to dry before working around it, but these are great fun.
4. Draw around stuff
This activity is particularly good for toddlers as a way to explore shapes (basic mathematics!) and fine motor control. However, I also use this technique for teaching all the way up to adults as well. For toddlers, get them to select a number of objects and hold them in place whilst they use a crayon or pencil to draw around. Lift up the object and discuss what you see – comment on shape and size for example. Try also drawing around your own hand or foot and theirs too. For older kids and adults, select small every day objects, draw around them using a pencil and then whilst studying the object fill in the details and shading using pencil to create a full drawing.
Ok so this one was both messy and requires a little specialist equipment (a silkscreen). However I will share it anyway as the first stages everyone can do just for a little messy exploratory play. Now because we have just moved house we seem to have a ton of paper that needs recycling so I decided to ‘upcycle’ the paper into homemade paper instead.
Take a bucket and and some water about a third to half way (depending on how much you want to make). Then tear up small pieces of paper and put in. This is a great activity for toddlers. They can also stir the bucket with a big wooden spoon! Leave for a minimum of 1 hour to soak. To make the paper pulp, take portions of this soaked paper and with plenty of water blend in batches in a blender. I got little one to put the paper in using a spoon. Then we tipped the paper pulp into a screen, flattened and have left to dry outside in the sun.
Now I admit, I may end up with the worlds weirdest bit of grey lumpy paper but it was super-fun to do. I just recommend a garden and space to make a mess! Even if you just do the mushing stage, toddlers will enjoy that!
Tip: You can make your own silkscreen by stretching a pair of old tights over a photo frame (the frame bit minus the glass)
Week One Complete!
So that’s my week one of crafty fun for toddlers complete… let’s hope I can fill the rest of the next three months with just as much craft!
What have you all been up to this week?
Stay safe everyone