Having children around is always a pleasure, especially for grandparents. It is always good, however, to have something on hand that will be a project for some quiet time. The other day I had to pick up some fabric at Joann Fabrics to make a baby present. They were having a great sale and had all kinds of projects for kids. The price ranged in the $1 range, so I picked up a some that were age appropriate for the grandkids that were coming over for a few days.
Helping children to develop thier sense of color, design and creativity is very good for their development. Children who are exposed to art and music do better in school. You can help them have fun and learn at the same time by giving them simple and inexpensive guidance while they are home.
Here are some links and ideas for things you can do with the kids for economical fun:
1. Go to google.com and click on "images". In the search bar that comes up, you can enter "color" and will find many options in a drop down menu, such as coloring pages, color wheel, coloring pictures, coloring sheets and more.
"Color wheel" gets hundreds of kinds of color wheels. You can print one out and explain color mixing and how to pick colors that go together. This color wheel has each color labeled and tells whether it is primary, secondary or tertiary: colorguides.net
Coloring pages and the related links give you line drawings suitable for coloring in thousands of subjects that may be downloaded for free and printed out for hours of coloring fun.
2. Here is a recipe for modeling clay you can make in a few minutes that wil delight children of all ages!
* 2 cups salt
* 2/3 cups water
* 1 cup cornstarch
* 1/2 cup cold water
1. Stir salt and water in a saucepan over heat 4-5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat; add cornstarch and cold water.
3. Stir until smooth; return to heat and cook until thick.
4. Clay may be divided into 3 or 4 parts and colored with a little food coloring.
4. Allow the clay to cool, then shape as desired.
Alternatively, you may leave the clay uncolored and after it cools and is modeled and dries,
decorate with paint, markers, or whatever you have on hand,
In either case, when the piece of are is good and dry (usually overnight or so, depending on the weather), a light coat of
clear acrylic spray will help to preserv the finished product. Kids love to make things of this type for friends and
IMPORTANT ... store unused clay in a Ziploc bag.
Personally, I prefer to make colored clay because it does away with the need to paint, especially when the children are younger.
3. My grandchildren really like to paint and a good place to start is with fingerpaint. Making your own at home is quite easy and very economical. This recipe is a good place to start:
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cold water
A few drops of food coloring - the three primart colors are fine. If you have paste colors, you can make as many as you like, but I think that teaching color mixing is a wonderful lesson for kids.
In a medium pan, mix all the ingredients together to make the finger paint. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring the finger paint mixture until it is smooth and thick. After the finger paint has thickened take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool.
After cooling, divide the finger paint into storage containers depending on how many colors you would like. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container. Stir the coloring into the paint to determine the shade of color. You're ready to finger paint! Cover tightly when storing.
Websites for more activities:
creativekidsathome.com offers many activities and projects you can do with kids including games, birthday and holiday activities, plus so much more.
Although you will get a few popup ads on this site, they offer hundreds of ideas and very good instructions for kids of different age levels: fun.familyeducation.com/
One of the helpful articles I found here was "10 Things to Avoid When Starting a Craft Project" such as having all your supplies ready before you begin and allowing plenty of time for the project. I usually find that I underestimate the time required and end up having to rush a step of two. Guess I will think of the beforehand next time!
A favorite site of mine for both kids and adult crafts is thriftyfun.com. I get a daily email (sometimes 2 or 3) from them with helpful, fun and creative ideas.
NOTE: These links will not be clickable. You will have to highlight, copy and past them into your browser. You may have to add www. at the beginning, too.
Whatever you do with your kids this summer or anytime you can spend time with them, remember that everything you or don't do makes memories they will carry for their entire lives. I remember things I did with my mother from a very young age and treasure the memories she gave me. She passed away at age 43, but left me with the gift of many, many special times we spent together. When my grandchildren are with me, I always try to make memories for them. Something fun or even silly will remain with them and perhaps inspire them to have fun and make memories with their own children and grandchildren.