Role playing is incredibly important play for young children. It is also my very least favorite way to play. One of my dearest friends recently said that she would rather read 100 books to her daughters than play house with their dolls. In our house, it goes just a little bit differently.
When I don’t think that I can possibly fix another zebra’s owie with my amazing veterinary skills or lose one more army guy battle, I break out the paint. Yes, I would rather clean paint (or clay, or markers…or even glue) off of every table (and child) in my house than “talk guys” as my two year old would say. So, I decided that I would share some of the fun things we make!
But first, some tips on being crafty with kids:
- Don’t run to the craft store and buy a bunch of stuff. Be frugal. Not only will you slowly acquire supplies inexpensively by buying one thing here, another there, but you are teaching you children to be resourceful! The dollar store can be your best friend, or your worst enemy if you go overboard.
- Don’t stock up. Unless I know I’m going to be making 3 pairs of “binoculars” soon, I don’t keep every toilet paper roll we empty. If we’re feeling crafty, we work with what we have. If you’re not a spur of the moment person, plan your activities in advance or only keep enough “supplies” to have 2 or 3 projects on hand for rainy days.
- Idea! Do an inventory check in your head and then do a 10-15 minute google/pinterest search. For example: crafts with egg cartons. Don’t spend more than a few minutes searching, pick something and get to work!
- Store up treasures in heaven, not in the garage. Yes that rocket your four year old made is precious and if he becomes an astronaut you might wish you had it. But instead of collecting plastic tubs full of evidence of fond memories, it makes for a more peaceful home if you just bury yourself in the memories themselves. I give our projects 1-2 weeks. I let our kids and their friends play with them and wear them out and then throw it out. If you’re a memory evidence hoarder, try keeping a picture of their art which you can store digitally!
The Pirate Ship
(or other sailing vessel, if you’re not pirate people)
The complexity of your ship will highly depend on the age of your boat builder.
Milk CartonOne straw for each mast
Brown paper bag
Cardstock (old file folder)
Crayons, markers or paint
Tape or glue
Step 1: Paint or cover with brown paper bag(I chose to cover. I didn’t think my two year old’s attention span would last through painting) I folded/gathered the paper to a squarish point in front to make it feel more ship-shaped.
(older kids could cut holes in their carton to make it more dimensional on deck or cannons etc)
Step 2: While ship is drying, color or paint some sails – be creative! You could even make a fabric flag to0!
Step 3: Use strong glue (such as hot glue) or tape to attach your sails to straws.
Step 4: Poke holes and attach straws using the same medium as above (duct tape for us haha)
Step 5: Add accents to ship including windows, cannons, board lines etc