Whether you’re a veteran homeschooler or your kids are doing learning remotely this year, you’re juggling a lot right now. Sometimes you need to give yourself some time to breathe and keep your kids busy on their own. Art projects seem like a good way to do that—until you realize that you need to help with each step or that a project only takes 5 minutes to make and once that toilet paper tube snowman is finished, your kids are complaining about being bored again.
We get it! And that’s why we put together this list of at home school craft ideas. Each of these projects is open-ended (I.e., they focus on the process and not the result), which means there’s no right or wrong, no frustration, no need to guide your kids through every step. Most are made with materials you likely have on hand and because they’re open-ended, they can be done again and again with different results, unlike that toilet paper tube snowman.
You’ll need: Crayons with the wrappers peeled off, white paper, and leaves
This is a simple, fun project that kids of all ages love. Have your kids gather up some leaves from around the neighborhood. When they’ve got a good collection, set them up on a table and let them arrange the leaves however they want and place the white paper on top. Holding the crayons horizontally so the entire side is in contact with the paper instead of just the tip, rub them over the paper and see the leaves take form. The resulting rubbing is beautiful on its own, or it can be decorated with drawings, embellished with stickers, and cut and incorporated into other artwork.
Tie-Dye Coffee Filter Art
You’ll need: Washable markers, coffee filters, newspaper, latex or rubber gloves (optional)
This is another favorite project for preschoolers, middle schoolers, and everyone in between! Have kids draw designs on coffee filters and use water to transform them by creating a tie-dye effect. (Follow this link for a full tutorial.) Use the finished tie-dye coffee filters to make flowers or animals, string them together for a colorful garland, or just keep them as-is!
You’ll need: Blank paper, a glue stick, old magazines or catalogs, other paper with patterns or designs, washi tape
Collage art is a great open-ended activity for kids. Older kids can use collage to create mood boards for fashion or interior design, while younger ones can simply go to town creating whatever they like. You can also use collage art to help preschoolers and kindergarteners sort shapes, colors, and animals.
You’ll need: Blank paper, a pencil, objects from around the house, markers, crayons, and other art supplies for coloring
This is one that will keep kids busy for a while! Have them trace miscellaneous objects from around the house—the crazier the shape, the better!—and then turn those tracings into drawings. A traced fork could become a person with spiky hair, a toothpaste tube might transform into a race car—the possibilities are endless! If you have more than one child, you can make a game of it and have them trace the most challenging objects they can find, then exchange the tracings so they can make drawings with each other’s traced items.
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