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Fun Crafts to Do With Kids While Staying at Home

A father doing a craft project with his son.
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Looking for ways to fill the days while everyone is together at home? Here are some homemade crafts to the rescue.

Depending on your child’s age, they may be busy with schoolwork for at least part of the day. But there are lots of other types of activities kids can explore as well. Not only do crafts bring out your child’s creative side, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends fun family activities as a way to cope with stress. Spending one-on-one time with your children helps strengthen your relationship and makes them feel loved and secure.

Here are six simple activities that will appeal to kids of a variety of ages:

Egg-ceptional Doodlebugs
Footprint Sailboat
Glub! Fish in a Bowl
Treetop Handprint Art
Picture Postcards
Photo Flick

Egg-ceptional Doodlebugs

Whether you make them cute or creepy, doodlebugs are a fun way to make use of colorful plastic eggs.

Supplies:

  • Plastic eggs (that break into two parts)
  • Permanent markers
  • Washable or acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Glitter glue (optional)
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Tape

Directions:

  1. Take one half of a plastic egg to use as the body of your doodlebug. Draw key features, such as eyes and mouth, using a permanent marker.
  2. Decorate the shell using markers, paint and/or glitter glue to draw polka dots, stripes and other markings. Let dry.
  3. To create legs, select two pipe cleaners and lay them one on top of the other, crossing at the center to form an “X.” Take the ends of the bottom pipe cleaner and fold them over the top pipe cleaner, making a “knot” in the center. (You should have an “X” that is connected in the center.) Then take the two ends of the other pipe cleaner and fold them over the center of the “X.”
  4. To attach legs to the underside of your egg, cross two pieces of tape over the center “knot” of the pipe cleaners. Tape ends should be in the space between each leg. Press the knot up into the inside of the decorated eggshell. Press the tape firmly against the shell. Apply more tape if needed.
  5. For antenna, if your egg has two holes in the top, pull one end of the pipe cleaner outward through each hole. Twist at the center to secure. To adjust the length, cut the pipe cleaner to the desired size before or after attaching it to the egg.

Add-On Activities:

  • Have your children draw a picture of their doodlebug and give it a name. Older kids can also write a sentence under their drawing to share its special abilities while helping them practice their writing skills.
  • Take turns hiding them throughout a room or entire house for a doodlebug safari.
  • Have your children decorate a shoe box for their new doodlebug to live in — now you have a great low-maintenance pet.

Footprint Sailboat

Supplies:

  • Construction paper (blue and another color)
  • Washable paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paper towels
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Crayons and markers

Directions:

  1. To create the body of the sailboat: Have your child sit in a chair and place a blue piece of construction paper on the floor near his or her feet. Paint your child’s clean foot with an ample amount of washable paint. As he or she slowly stands, guide the painted foot onto the paper and press gently but firmly to make sure each part makes good contact with the paper. Let the resulting footprint dry. (Wipe any remaining paint off your child’s foot.)
  2. Make the sails as your footprint dries. Start by drawing two right triangles (see picture) on a piece of construction paper. One should be a bit larger than the other. Cut out the triangles.
  3. Starting at the center of the top edge of the footprint, draw a line that extends upward several inches. This is your sailboat’s mast. Take the large triangle and glue it to one side of the mast. Glue the second triangle on the other side of the mast.
  4. Finish your picture by drawing or painting scenery. This might include waves, sea creatures, the sun or clouds, and birds. Use your imagination.

Add-On Activities:
During or after the activity, talk with your children about their five senses: vision, taste, hearing, smell and touch. You might ask what the paint felt like on their foot and what they think they would see, smell and hear if they were on a sailboat.

Glub! Fish in a Bowl

When you’re done, hang your new pet in a window to shine in the sun.

Supplies:

  • 2 paper plates
  • Scissors
  • 1 roll clear contact paper (also called clear adhesive cover)
  • Washable paint (optional)
  • Tissue paper (one or more colors)
  • Ribbon (approximately 12-inch piece)
  • Stapler
  • Clear tape

Directions:

  1. To make the bowl: Cut a straight line across the top of one plate, then cut out the plate’s flat eating surface. Set the resulting C-shape on top of the other plate and use as a cutting guide. You should have two matching C-shapes.
  2. To prepare water: Unroll contact paper with guides showing. Align C-shapes side by side along contact paper’s short edge. Cut around the plates’ outside edge.
  3. Optional: Paint C-shapes. Only the front of one and back of the other will show. Do step 4 while drying.
  4. To fill water with fish: Cut circles and triangles out of tissue paper. Peel backing off one side of contact paper; arrange paper shapes toward the center of sticky surface. (Do not place fish where they’ll be covered by the bowl.) Peel backing off second side and fold over top of the side with fish. Press and smooth as you go to avoid wrinkles.
  5. To fill the bowl: Attach ends of ribbon to the top, inside surfaces of one C-shape with tape. Place contact paper with fish on the same surface. Align paper so that fish are in desired position and entire space is covered. (Use tape to keep paper from shifting.) Cut off contact paper extending beyond bowl’s edges. Place the second C-shape on top and attach with staples or tape.

Add-On Activity:
Help your children learn new things — and still have fun. While making your fishbowl, talk about colors and shapes, how you’d take care of a pet fish, why it’s fun to swim and other interesting age-appropriate topics.

Treetop Handprint Art

Whether you create fall-colored foliage or a rainbow treetop, these fun and easy pictures are a big hit with even the littlest artists.

Supplies:

  • Paper plate
  • Washable paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue (clear drying)

Directions:

  1. To create the trunk and branches of your tree, lie your plate on a flat work surface. Apply ample paint to one hand, being sure to cover your palm, fingers and top of wrist. Align your wrist with the bottom edge of the plate. Press wrist, hand and fingers firmly on plate. (When done, be sure to wash your hands.) Fill in any gaps in your handprint by smearing the paint with your brush.
  2. While your tree trunk dries, have fun tearing tissue paper into pieces. Alternatively, grownups and older children can use scissors to cut tissue paper into pieces.
  3. Apply glue to the tops of your finger “branches.” Press a mix of flat and scrunched-up pieces of tissue paper to the areas with glue. Let dry.

Add-On Activities:

  • Embellish your picture with stickers and/or drawings. Paint a background, draw birds and other animals, or put paper apples or other items you wish grew on trees among the leaves.
  • Hang your picture. Put a small hole at the top of your plate behind the leaves. Thread string, ribbon or yarn through the hole and tie the ends together.
  • While tearing or cutting tissue paper, talk with children about why leaves turn color in the fall.

Picture Postcards

Most of the time, you probably call, email or text your friends and family to keep in touch when you’re apart. Why not brighten a friend’s day with an extra-special “hello” and mail him or her a picture postcard instead? Bonus: Your children will get to practice writing skills.

Supplies:

  • A few old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Cardboard or index card
  • Stamps

Directions:

  1. Cut out pictures from magazines.
  2. Glue the pictures onto one side of a postcard-sized piece of poster board. You can also use a 4-by-6-inch blank index card.
  3. Turn the card over. On the left side, write your message. In the middle of the right side, write your friend’s or family member’s name and address.
  4. Stick a stamp on the upper right corner.
  5. Mail your postcard.

Photo Flick

There are lots of different ways to tell a story. You can read one in a book, watch one in a movie or tell one using pictures. And everyone can be a storyteller, including you. Make a photo flick to tell a tale of your own.

Directions:

  1. Make up your own story. Remember, every story needs a beginning, a middle and an end.
  2. With a camera, take photographs that illustrate your story. It helps to picture your story in your mind, as if you’re watching a movie.
  3. Print out your photos. Ask a parent to help out if you don’t know how.
  4. Lay out your photos from left to right so that the order of the photos matches the order of events in your story.
  5. Punch holes on both sides of the photos and tie them together with yarn.
  6. You’re ready to “read” your photo flick from left to right. Practice telling your story aloud to a friend.

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