Life has drastically changed this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This fact rings especially true for parents. With schools closed, children are home all day. When you’re not homeschooling them, you’re looking to fill their time with interesting projects. If you have young children, your life is all about keeping them active and engaged. There’s no getting around the fact that this is a stressful time. Many parents have suddenly become full-time caregivers who are also working from home with daily deadlines to meet. If you’re searching for activities that everyone can enjoy, look no further.
Today we’ve rounded up a collection of creative endeavors and DIY projects for design lovers. While crafts and creative activities are undeniably beneficial for children, they can also provide a useful service for parents. This may be some of the only “down time” during a busy day that’s filled with work, meal prep and housework. Our advice is to choose projects that you know you’ll enjoy and share them with your kids. If you’re engaged, your children will be too. Plus, you’ll get to recharge a little so you can be a fully present parent. We’re all in this together! [letter crayon project from Oh Joy!]
There’s nothing like artwork to foster creativity and a sense of purpose. The projects below are simple and fun, and many involve the most basic of art supplies. You’re welcome.
This project is perfect for kids of all ages. Give them construction paper in a variety of colors, as well as watercolor paints. Invite them to paint designs, covering each piece of paper. When the paint dries, children can cut out the shapes of their choice. For younger kids, adults can help. Treat each cutout as an individual work of art, or glue cutouts to a larger piece of paper to create a mural. [photo by Kate Simmons]
This project is so easy, it’s a parent’s dream. Kids can paint on the paper of their choice with the paint of their choice. We’re big fans of watercolors, but any paint will do. This paper is nice and heavy, which comes in handy for watercolor painting. Children can enjoy blending colors and gently flicking the brush to create splatters. The masterpiece below was created by a toddler who enjoyed the process to the fullest. [photo by Kate Simmons]
This project can be completed in two parts. First, invite kids to cover their paper in the colors of the ocean. Using a sponge to do the painting adds another layer of fun. Once the paint is dry, have the kids use round stamps (wine corks work well) to make bubbles and pearls in the “ocean” that they painted earlier. Bonus points if you have pearlescent paint. Don’t hesitate to glue other round and shiny items to enhance the art. Confetti works well here! [photo by Kate Simmons]
Smashed Paint Project
This colorful project from Oh Joy! proves that when you add dots of radiant paint to white paper, then cover it with plastic wrap and press down, there’s plenty of modern art magic to enjoy. Which color palette below is your favorite?!
Tropical Palm Leaf Art
This art project can easily be adapted to best match the abilities of your child and the supplies at hand. Don’t hesitate to put your own special stamp on it. By color blocking the blue background paper and topping it off with faux leaves (such as palm), an instant vacation vibe is created. Check out all the details here at Decoist. [photo by Kate Simmons]
Faux Living Wall
If you have a large number of faux plants and flowers at your disposal, create a “living wall” by adding greenery to a verdant backdrop. Faux plant panels work best for the background. No panels on hand? Try putting the faux plants and leaves into a real green backdrop, such as a vine-colored trellis, or even the lawn in your yard. Details in this Decoist post.
If you believe the process is just as important as the finished product, you and your kiddos will jump head-first into the projects that follow. Get ready to be fully present as you enjoy working with your hands.
Hide animal toys in play dough that’s rounded to create an egg shape. Roll the play dough eggs in glitter for an extra sparkle! Children will enjoy “digging” out the dino toys/letting the dino babies hatch. Once the kids get the hang of it, they can hide the dinos in the eggs for one another, guess which animals are in which egg, and more. Sensory play at its finest! Details at The Mama Notes.
Also from The Mama Notes is this gem house project featuring pre-cut cardboard houses, as well as small items for gluing. Parents, you can help by pre-cutting the cardboard and using a white crayon or chalk to draw features such as windows and a door (if your kiddos are young). Now let them go to town gluing and sticking items to the surface of the house!
Fruit-Themed Storage Baskets
Embellish your favorite storage baskets with leaves and seeds that you cut out of felt. Voila! You now have the ingredients to convert your favorite baskets into giant fruit! Get all of the DIY details at Studio DIY:
Tasseled Shower Curtain
Ready for another project that uses the power of embellishment?! Spend some time making tassels, then add them to one of your shower curtains. This is a no-sew project, as the tassels can be directly secured to the shower rings. Tassel instructions and more can be found in this Decoist post. [photo by Kate Simmons]
Pom Pom Easter Basket
Children will love creating pom poms and using them to give their Easter baskets an instant makeover. Making pom poms is as easy as making tassels. Young children can skip the cutting and simply help you wrap the yarn around the palm of your hand as you begin crafting the pom poms. Full instructions and an easy pom pom tutorial can be found in this Decoist post. [photo by Kate Simmons]
Still Life Photography
It’s time to develop some photography skills! Ask kids to gather a few of their favorite items from around the house. Provide them with other possible still life items, such as party supplies and even food. Hint: cotton candy is perpetually fluffy and always photogenic! As children arrange their items into vignettes, snap a few photos, or have them use a camera to take their own pics if they’re older. [photo by Kate Simmons]
Festive Party Planning
There’s no time like the present to have a weekly party. We’re talking a safe, germ-free party involving only the people who live in your house. But we all know that half the fun of a party is planning it! It’s about having something to look forward to, especially in stressful times. Spend the week gathering supplies you’ve tucked away in closets, and don’t hesitate to make something else special to add to the fun (like the stirrers below–recommended for older children only). Kid-friendly drinks only, of course! Details in this post. [photo by Kate Simmons]
Enjoy making, creating, and celebrating the power of art and design. Stay home, stay well, and stay busy with fun projects like the ones above. Cheers to healthier days.