With the kids at home more right now, you’re probably on the lookout for ways to keep them busy that don’t involve screens. Arts and crafts are a great option. As well as being really entertaining, they’re educational projects that offer an easy way to develop essential skills.
Firstly, arts and crafts are great for improving hand-eye coordination. This is an especially important skill because we use it in a variety of different activities throughout the day, from reading and writing to typing and putting a key in a lock.
Arts and crafts can also teach your kids how to identify shapes, colours, and textures. A typical art project involves working with a variety of materials, from fluffy pom-poms to delicate tissue paper.
Finally, arts and crafts encourage self-expression and can serve as a healthy coping mechanism, or simply a creative way to unwind and switch off.
It’s relatively easy to get very young children interested in art and craft projects. Give them some materials, and their natural curiosity will soon kick in. For older children, you might need to come up with an interesting project to grab their attention.
If you’re not sure where to start, go for something basic. This could be a painting of a favourite animal, or modelling clay figures. It can also be something related to your own hobbies. For example, if you’re interested in carpentry, you might want to look for a few easy wood projects for kids, such as building a birdhouse or making wooden stamps.
If you’re still in need of inspiration, you might like to check out these simple educational projects. They’re all related to science in some way which adds to their educational value, and they use materials that you probably already have at home.
Grow a crystal garden
Did you know that you can grow crystals at home? This cool science project also creates a pretty crystal display. All you need is a jar, some sugar, a pencil, string and food colouring.
To grow crystals, start by tying a length of string to the middle of the pencil. Next, place the pencil flat over the top of the jar, so that the string hangs down inside. Make sure that the string doesn’t spool at the bottom; you might need to trim it. Next, boil some water and stir in the sugar, using a ratio of one cup of water to three cups of sugar. When all of the sugar has dissolved, add a few drops of food colouring.
Once the sugar solution has cooled, transfer it to your jar. The crystals should start appearing along the string’s length within about a day. They will continue to form until all the solution has evaporated. When the crystals are big enough, you can take them out of the jar and put them on display.
Rainbow density jar
For this project, you will need a tall, see-through container, food colouring, and a few different liquids with varying densities. Some suggestions that you may have around the home are honey or corn syrup, washing up liquid, olive oil, water and rubbing alcohol.
Start by mixing some honey or corn syrup with red and blue food colouring to create a purple liquid. Once you are done, pour it into the container. Next, add in your washing up liquid. Keep in mind that if you want the rainbow to look accurate, this should be blue.
For your third layer, mix some water with green food colouring and add it to the container. Follow this with a layer of olive oil. Lastly, mix some rubbing alcohol with red food colouring in a separate cup, and add it to the container. Pour each layer in slowly to prevent the colours mixing.
Your hand-made rainbow should have distinct layers of colour. The reason why the liquids don’t mix together is down to their density. Less dense liquids like rubbing alcohol and olive oil will float on top of more dense liquids like honey and washing up liquid. Clever!
DIY bird spotting book
When it comes to art projects, a handmade book is probably one of the easiest. It’s also a great way to get your child interested in learning more about a particular subject. We’ve gone for birds, but you can always choose something else, like flowers or insects, for example.
To make your book, you will need a spiral bound notebook, coloured paper, white card, glue and scissors.
Start by drawing some birds on the white card – you might like to find an online art tutorial or use a reference book for this – then cut them out. Next, use the coloured paper to cover your notebook and provide a background for your birds. Arrange them first before gluing each one down. You could also add a title to your cover.
Once your book is ready, you can start learning more about the birds in your area. Whenever you spot a bird through the window or out on a walk, children can draw it in their book. They can also make some notes, covering things like where they spotted it, the time of day, and what it was doing. This is a fun way to make a walk more interesting and encourage children to learn about their local wildlife.
Time to get creative!
As well as being great educational projects, arts and crafts are a fun, low-cost way for families to spend quality time together. There’s a high possibility that you already have all of the materials needed for one of the projects mentioned above. And if you’d prefer a different activity, you can easily find lots of other ideas online.
Are you ready to have a go at some fun educational projects with the kids?