Written by monthly contributing writer, Michele at Frugal Granola.
My children love it when I announce, “It’s project time!” (And I love giving them simple, supervised outlets for their creativity, instead of discovering they’ve emptied out all the soap in the bathroom or honey in the pantry…)
I keep a simple stash of art supplies; nothing too fancy or extensive. We regularly replace items as they get used up (such as crayons. glue, or paper), but most supplies (such as small bottles of paint or glitter) last quite awhile- as long as they’re safely stored away from little hands.
Your list could certainly be even shorter than mine, and you would still be well-equipped for some creative fun! These are just the items we’ve gathered over the years, often from thrift stores or gifts.
Our Creative Supply List:
- Crayons (including “chunky” ones for toddlers)
- A few small bottles of Acrylic Paint or Watercolor Paint (mostly primary colors)
- Watercolor and/or Colored Pencils
- Pens & Pencils (plus a sharpener and eraser)
- Markers (we rarely use these, actually)
- Chalk (Try making your own with this Pavement Chalk recipe!)
- Paper (Doodle Paper, Colored Paper, and Watercolor Paper)
- Old Magazines (used for collages)
- Glue Sticks & Liquid Glue
- Child-Safe Scissors
- Fabric Scraps & Yarn/Ribbon
- Art Smocks or Aprons
- Grass Seed or Flower Seeds
- Rubber/Foam Stamps (Or, make your own stamps with potatoes, celery, broccoli, apples, etc.)
- Washable Placemats (homemade with paper collages covered in clear contact paper)
- Pantry Items: Natural Food Coloring, Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch, Essential Oils, Salt, Cream of Tartar
- Outside Items (gathered by children as needed): Flowers, Leaves, Rocks, Acorns, Wood Pieces
Here are a few of our recent favorite projects:
Based on this “Clean” Play Slime Recipe, we mixed up a batch using arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch, since that is what I had on hand. My daughter wanted purple slime, so we mixed in some natural food coloring (reinforcing that “blue & red make purple”), and she also put in several drops of essential oil.
You can see my post on these at Frugal Granola, where we gathered up all our random crayon pieces on a rainy day. They are the perfect size for little hands! We followed the instructions from Make & Takes.
My daughter loves gathering rocks from outside, and I gave her some acrylic paint to decorate a few. We also added a bit of glitter at the end, along with a few googly eyes & sequins (a gift from a librarian friend). I started just with primary color paints, and we practiced making secondary colors to decorate the rocks. She had so much fun making up names & characters for her rocks!
Some other versions of Rock Crafts:
- Hot Rocks + Crayons (a great summer activity!)
- Story Stones (inspired by Emily of Red Bird Crafts)
- Love Rocks
- Painted Garden Stones
We have our recipe, along with color/scent combination ideas at Frugal Granola. This is the most-requested project in our home!
We were inspired by these lovely Finger Knitted Flowers.
As we get ready for the new school year to begin, I’ve been preparing a list of new creative projects, along with our school plans. I keep my ongoing inspiration links at Pinterest, where I can refer to them as I make my plans.
Some future project ideas on my list are:
- Hammered Flower & Leaf Prints
- Homemade Finger Paints
- Paper With Holes Free Play Art
- Moss Terrarium (similar, but without the morbid theme)
What are your children’s favorite creative activities?