4 Easy Crafts for Young Kids and Uncrafty Parents

Updated on July 23, 2020
Michelle HOVORKA Oxner profile image

Michelle worked in education for 14 years as a special education teacher and a school librarian. She is now a stay-at-home parent.

Are you looking for some fun and easy art activities to do with your children? The four art activities described in this article are perfect for the uncrafty parent.

My three-year-old daughter painted our fence with chalk paint.
My three-year-old daughter painted our fence with chalk paint.

I was a preschool teacher for students with special needs for five years. I do not consider myself a crafty person, but I loved doing art projects with my students. My classroom was colorful, cheerful, and full of my student artwork. I kept it simple and fun. Now as a stay-at-home parent I enjoy doing art projects with my children who are ages three and five. I continue to keep it simple. I got these ideas from the wonderful teachers and parents from preschool my children attend. If you live in the Houston area and are looking for a preschool you should check out Blossom Heights Development Center. I’m an adult and I wish I could go to school there!

I loved arts and crafts as a kid. I would spend hours doing little projects that I made up. We lived in Florida, and I loved to make little animals out of shells we collected at the beach. Alas, my crafting skills plateaued during fourth grade. I look at Pinterest and I want to make those beautiful things, but my attempts are embarrassing. Recently, I tried to make a play car garage out of boxes and paper towel rolls. It looked so cool online! It looked so easy too, but it was more involved than I thought. The final result looks like the construction workers were drunk and then an earthquake hit it. Thankfully, my children are not too picky and have enjoyed it—although I don’t think they ever play with it as a car garage.

If you and your kids are bored with the same old coloring, check out these four art activities to liven things up.

Results of painted toast!
Results of painted toast!

1. Painted Toast

Make breakfast a fun art project! My three-year-old daughter loves this one.

Materials

  • Small bowls

  • Food coloring

  • Bread

  • Toaster

  • Paintbrushes and/or spoons

Directions

Put milk into the small bowls. Put two to three drops of food coloring in bowls. Mix the milk and food coloring. With a paintbrush and/or spoon paint your canvas, the bread. After you are done painting, put it in the toaster. Then enjoy your art with butter or any other topping of your choice.

Colored ice cubes
Colored ice cubes

2. Paint With Colored Ice Cubes

This is such a simple idea but so fun! We have done this several times. My kids enjoy painting with the ice cubes in the backyard on an easel. You can do it indoors too, but like with regular paint protect your table and your kids’ clothes.

Materials

  • Ice cube tray

  • Food coloring

  • Popsicle sticks

  • Paper

Directions

Fill the ice cube tray up with water. Put one to three drops of food coloring in each ice cube slot. Put popsicle sticks in each slot slanted diagonally. Put the ice cube tray in the freezer for at least four hours. After the colored water is frozen let the art begin!

Bonus Tip: We have also let the ice cubes melt after we are done painting with them. Then we use the melted colored water to paint again. You can use this as an opportunity to talk to your children about why ice melts. Look at you, super parent, adding some science to art!

My three-year-old daughter painting with chalk paint on our driveway.
My three-year-old daughter painting with chalk paint on our driveway.

3. Chalk Paint

My daughter especially loves this one. We have done it many times! I’ve never bought chalk paint because I have looked it up online and it is expensive. You can make it very cheaply, quickly, and easily at home.

Materials

  • Chalk (those broken little pieces you can’t draw with anymore are best, but you can do it with any size)

  • Hammer

  • Water

  • Ziplock bag

  • Cup

  • Paintbrush and/or spray bottle

Directions

Put the chalk in the ziplock bag. With a hammer crush up into fine little pieces inside the bag. Crush it up until it looks like a fine powder. With supervision, I have let my children do this part. It is great for hand-eye coordination, plus they think it’s great fun! Put the crushed chalk powder in a cup and add water. We use paintbrushes to paint our driveway and fence. If you are braver than I am you can also put the chalk paint in a spray bottle. The chalk paint washes off easily with water.

My kids playing with flour and salt playdough.
My kids playing with flour and salt playdough.

4. Flour and Salt Playdough

My kids’ preschool is all about the homemade playdough. I’ve always been all about the stuff you can buy in the store. Then I discovered this recipe. It is so easy! And a bonus is after the kids are done playing with it if you store it in an airtight container you can use it again. This is so good for young kids because if they eat it, no problem! It’s just salt, flour, and water. Too bad for my kiddos, who knows how much of that store-bought playdough they ate when they were itty bitty tots.

Materials

  • 2 cups of flour

  • 1 cup of salt

  • ¾ cup of water

Directions

Combine the flour and salt. Then slowly add water. Knead the mixture and then let rest for twenty minutes.

Bonus Tip: This playdough is so fun, but it is messy. I save plastic packaging you get from deliveries. I use it to protect my table when the kids do art, especially playdough. After they are done you can easily wipe off the packaging and use it again. Then you don’t have to wipe playdough goo off your table!

Painting our baked playdough creations!
Painting our baked playdough creations!

Bonus Tip: You can then bake your creations and then paint them! Just bake at 200 for one and a half hours.

You don’t have to be a Pinterest superstar to do interesting crafts with your kids. I hope these simple ideas will help you and your kids get creative and have fun.

© 2020 Michelle Hovorka Oxner

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    • Michelle HOVORKA Oxner profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Hovorka Oxner 

      10 days ago from Houston

      Lol Rose! My 3 year old daughter loves paint so we seem to gravitiate towards these activities. One thing she has enjoyed that it easy and no paint involved matching pictures. I cut pictures out of magazines and then cut them in half. Then let your little one match them with or without glue. I've also done this with inexpensive flash cards. For my five year old I have glued half of a picture to a piece of paper and let him draw the other half. I hope this gave you some good nonpainting ideas!

    • profile image

      rose 

      11 days ago

      is there any thing we can do that doesn't involve paint

    working

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