As some of you may know, I’m a woman with a couple of jobs–my part time job as a Marriage and Family Therapist here at the Institute and my full-time job as a Mother. The hardest, best job I’ve ever had. I find that as a mom who works outside of the home, I struggle a lot with the transition from one job to the next. Although I look forward to my “days off” with my kids at home, I also wonder what to do with them when we are at home. Rainy days when we can’t go outside to play, or days when the last errand to Target has already been done and we still have 4 hours before bedtime… what does a parent DO during that time?
Being a habitual “craft-addict” as I like to refer to myself fondly, I am always looking for new craft or art activities to do with my kids. But my kids are little (3 and 1) so finding an age appropriate activity can be difficult. Here are a couple projects that I have found work well for our family, and may be helpful for yours. When you are tired of Curious George, or a torrential California downpour is inhibiting your park plans, or if you just want something fun and creative to do with your Littles, check this out. And enjoy!
Contact Paper Art
This activity is a great one to do with the very little. It requires NO GLUE and can be a great way to start building your personal at-home art gallery. For ages 12 months and up with adult supervision.
• Clear contact paper
• Fun items to stick onto the paper: pom poms, cotton balls, collage pieces from magazines, foam stickers, tissue paper in various colors cut into strips or torn off, ribbon, buttons etc.
• Masking Tape
Cut two pieces of Contact paper to your desired size. Remove the backing of one of the pieces and hang sticky side forward on a child easel, the back of a door or a wall. Use the tape to attach the four corners so the contact paper doesn’t flip up. Let your child go to town attaching the fun art supplies to the contact paper. You can include some fun conversation about colors, shapes, and textures. When your child is finished, remove the contact paper from the wall, and place on a flat surface like a table. Then take the other piece of contact paper and “sandwich” the art to preserve it (and keep little hands from removing any pieces) and hang!
Easy No-Cook Home-made Play Dough
This easy recipe requires no hot water or cooking on the stove so it’s a fun activity to do together with your child. My 14 month old is starting to enjoy pouring items from one container to another so her favorite part of the activity is being able to pour the water in the mixture. My 3 year old loves to mix the ingredients together with a big wooden spoon, and be in charge of color. These are great skills for her, and I applaud her efforts. My children enjoy the process so much that they almost like the making more than the playing. And I get at least 30 minutes of active attention from both of them. It’s a win all around.Good for children 12 months and up with adult supervision.
• 3 cups flour
• 1 1/2 cup salt
• 1 cup water
• Food coloring of your choice
Mix the salt and flour together, then add water and food coloring and mix well. Add additional flour if mixture is too sticky. Store in a zip lock bag. The play dough will keep a little longer if stored in fridge.