Children are curious and creative and they love to get messy making things and playing. When they are very little, this sort of activity would be confined to paints and crayons with paper, but when they are a bit older, they can use more things to fully express themselves.
Learning to play and create on their own is really beneficial for children, especially 5 year olds who are starting to find a little bit of independence and explore their own interests. Giving them a craft bucket or box, filled with things they can use to create and play is a perfect way to give them all they need to have a fun afternoon and really flex their imagination.
Here’s what every young crafter will need:
Pencils, Crayons and Felt Tips
The absolute foundation of any craft bucket are the things that will allow your children to draw and design: pencils, crayons and felt tips. These are really cheap (there’s no point in getting expensive ones at this age) but they will give you child everything they need to get their imagination going.
Having a range of different colors and mediums is ideal for letting them get used to holding these tools and learning how to control their movements over the paper. Scribbling may not look fantastically attractive, but over time, your child is learning how to manipulate the way they move their hand to mark the paper. This means that the more practise they have, the more likely they will be able write more neatly and learn the motions at school. So it’s not just scribbling after all!
Paper: Plain, Colored and Patterned
Plain paper is ideal for children who just want to let their imagination run wild with their colors. However, adding colored and patterned paper into the mix will open up new opportunities too. Children love being able to make things with more exciting colors and paper is so cheap and easy to use that it is a really popular choice.
Drawing shapes and cutting them out with the patterned paper is a fun way to make all sorts of things from bunting to a table scatter for a party. You can also use paper to fold into all sorts of designs. You can find all sorts of paper crafts from making giant snowflakes to a paper ice cream cone online and try them all together with your children.
Child Friendly Scissors, Glue and Tape
Cutting and sticking is a lot of fun and if you have a few magazines and catalogues around, your children can have a lot of fun choosing their own pictures and sticking them to create scenes. You can find child friendly scissors online that don’t have points at the end. You can also get patterned scissors that are a bit trickier to use but will cut zigzags or any number of patterns into the paper as you go along - a very impressive trick!
Collage is only ever complete with glue and tape which will secure your child’s design neatly(ish). If you want to make things a little less messy, you could use glue dots together to stick things more effectively. This will be perfect if you plan to make a 3D things together and need a bit more sticking power.
Cardboard in Rolls, Boxes and Sheets
So much of the stuff you buy at the supermarket comes with some cardboard packaging. Rather than chuck it out, this cardboard is ideal for young creative minds who want to create more than a picture. Everything from toilet roll inners to cereal boxes can be used to build sculptures and engineer projects. In fact, there are so many things you could make with a shoebox, you’re going to have to buy more shoes to keep pace!
One idea that you could do together is making a shoebox theatre. This will take a bit of patience and help from you but all you need is a shoebox, some scissors, some lollypop sticks and some extra plain cardboard for drawing on. Just cut some lines out of the side of your shoe box that will fit the lollipop sticks through. Then draw your characters and scenery onto cardboard, cut them out and attach to the lollipop sticks. This way, you can put on plays for each other and tell stories in a more interactive way. And all with things you were going to throw out.
On top of the basics, there are lots of things that you can collect and buy that will add a bit of excitement to their craft bucket. Think along the lines of sequins, cut out shapes, stickers, pipe cleaners etc. Essentially, anything that could be stuck on to make something more fun! There’s a lot of evidence that everything's better with googly eyes, so make these a priority!
Accessories can be expensive, so use your imagination to supplement the box as well. Things like washed out plastic bottles can be good and bottle tops can be used to make anything from big eyes to spaceship portholes. You could also go on walks throughout the year gathering things like leaves and flowers for pressing and adding to your collages. This is a great way to get closer to nature and persuade your children to get some exercise outside too!
There are lots of things that you can add to a craft bucket that your children will be delighted to be allowed to play with. There really are no bounds for the creativity of young children, and even if the bucket just looks like a load of junk to you, to them it will be a whole box of delights.
Make sure that you take some time to play with them and make use of all this stuff as well. Because most of it will be cheap or even free, there shouldn’t be any rules about how it can be used - this is a time for expressing new ideas and making things that wouldn’t necessarily appear on a how-to kids blog. Go wild. Have fun. Make everything.