1. Homemade Scented Play Dough
Um, remember Play-Doh? It was always so fun until it hardened into a rock or you tried eating it and couldn’t feel your tongue for a few weeks. Well, now there’s a recipe that’s just as fun and probably a lot less toxic! Plus, this recipe is made with powdered drink mixes, which means it smells good. It’s like smelly markers and Play-Doh all mixed into one. Please don’t eat it, though.
2. Handprint Fall Tree Craft
Trees are probably the most drawn object in the entire world. Why not amp up the game a bit with some paint and cotton swabs? Plus, who DOESN’T want to turn their hand into a tree? It beats that old hand-as-turkey project any day.
3. Torn Paper Shape Collage
If you’re feeling “torn” about what kind of picture to do (sorry, that joke was begging to be made), you can go for some minimalistic shapes, or try to copy another image. It’s easier than it sounds, promise.
4. Wooden Block Prints
Are you ashamed of the blocks gathering dust in a box in the hall closet? Ever since iPads happened, blocks probably aren’t the first option. Here’s an opportunity to dust ‘em off and put ‘em to good use in a fun and colorful way.
5. DIY Stamps
You can’t deny the satisfaction stamping gives you. Here’s a way to make artistic, abstract stamps using everyday objects. From Irresistible Ideas For Play Based Learning.
6. Plastic Bead Suncatcher
Get ready to take arts ‘n’ crafts to the next level. That’s right, we’re talking some bead-melting genius that will melt your face with its awesomeness. This DIY comes from The Artful Parent, and will help your child feel like the best new artist to hit the scene.
7. Negative Leaf Impressions
There’s finally a use for all the pretty leaves you found on the ground and didn’t know what to do with. Instead of painting and pressing them onto paper, check out this exciting idea from Tinkerlab. Create negative leaf impressions while building fine motor skills by spraying leaves with liquid watercolor paints.
8. Homemade Chalkboard Paint Wall Hanging
If your children are the kind who color all over your beautiful white walls, this might help be a good form of therapy. Plus, who doesn’t want to have a mini chalkboard at their disposal? With this special paint, you can transform just about anything into a fun (and acceptable) drawing spot. And you can use any color of paint for the base, so you can let your inner control freak loose and match your chalkboard wall (or tray) to your decor.
9. Poppy Painting
Do you see how happy this young child is?! You (or your child) can achieve this much glee with a DIY from Tonya Staab. Any boy or girl will love cutting circles and painting on a canvas — just like a real artist. We’re pretty sure the end result would look fine next to some of the modern art in the MOMA.
10. Sand Painting Creation
We will not soon forget the labor of love required to make black magic paper. Maybe you should just opt out of all the work and go for some magical sand painting instead. Using black construction paper looks just as cool and really makes the artwork pop.
11. Sticker Paint Creation
Use foam stickers and finger paint to mix together this colorful and fun art project. But you know, don’t use too many colors or it’ll just turn into a greenish-brown mess (we’ve all been there).
12. Paper Photo Frames
We say, “Screw those dry macaroni frames!” This is the dawn of a new era of frame making. Think outside of the macaroni-encrusted box with this craft from Martha Stewart. Your child will hone fine motor skills while cutting paper, plus they’ll feel way more accomplished and you can still cook pasta for dinner.
13. Bubble Wrap Paint Print
Just when you thought bubble wrap couldn’t get any more magical/mysterious/endlessly entertaining. This bubble wrap print (made from painting on the bubble wrap if you hadn’t guessed) will have any child (and most adults) dying to order something fragile from Amazon and go to town.
14. Play Binoculars
While these paper towel tubes won’t really enhance vision as play binoculars, they’ll definitely enhance play time. You can get all Harriet the Spy on your neighbors or track new species of neighborhood cat.
15. Fossil Cookies
We’re pretty sure that every child, at some point in his/her young life, fantasizes about digging up dinosaur bones. We all secretly suspect there are some remains in our back yards, don’t we? Now you can relieve some tension with these fossil cookies from Martha Stewart, and eat them after. That way, you won’t be tempted to eat real fossils when you find them. You never know.