Homemade Craft Recipes: Creative Projects For Kids

Look to your own cupboard to find the ingredients for a fun and an interesting project. Tips on playing and learning with your children.

Does your child enjoy crafts, but you find it difficult to shell out a fortune purchasing paper, paints, glue and clay? If you think you'll have to spend a lot of cash on these and other craft supplies, you needn't worry. In fact, you need to go only as far as your own cupboard to find the components for fun and interesting projects. There are so many ways to explore your child's creativity without having to run out for provisions. For instance, did you know that you can make your own Play doh with ingredients found in the kitchen? It's fun and easy too. All you have to do is mix 3 cups of flour, 1 ½ cups of salt, 3 tablespoons of cooking oil, 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of food coloring. You don't do all the work yourself, either. Your child is sure to have as much fun making the "Play doh" as he is sculpting with it. Be sure to store your "Play doh" in an airtight plastic container or zip lock bag to prevent drying.

You can also try making your own finger paints. If your child likes to finger paint as much as mine, this recipe is sure to be a hit. Mix 2 cups of flour with 2 teaspoons of salt, then add 2 ½ cups of cold water. Stir this until all the lumps are out. Gradually add this mixture to 2 cups of boiling water and boil until thick and smooth, add the food coloring, and stir until smooth again. Experiment with colors, the more drops you add, the darker your paints will be. Add two or more colors"¦the possibilities are endless. You don't need to purchase expensive finger paint paper either. Try using paper bags, paper plates, cardboard and items found outside of the house such as rocks, shells and pinecones.

If your child likes to use glitter on his artwork, try this idea. Mix 3 tablespoons of salt, (for best results you can use coarse or rock salt, but plain table salt will do just fine) with about 2 drops of food coloring. Place the salt in a zip lock bag and move it around until it's evenly coated with food coloring. Leave the bag open and let the salt dry, which will probably take a few hours. This recipe also works well with sugar. An old salt shaker or spice container works best for storing and shaking.

Remember the sand art we used to make when we were children? Layering different colors of sand in a jar or bottle or gluing colored sand to a dark piece of construction paper for a colorful, textured collage? Well, I'm happy to report that sand art is back, and you don't have to buy a kit. The next time you're at the beach, collect a bucketful of sand. Place the sand in a bowl or container with just enough water when you get home. (You can also use paper cups or plastic storage bags instead of bowls). Add a generous amount of food coloring to the water and sand. Let this sit until the sand reaches its desired color, and voila: Colored sand. Drain and pour the sand onto newspaper or paper towels to dry.

How will your homemade glitter and sand stay attached to its chosen surface? Why, with homemade glue, of course. Mix one part flour with one part water to make a white paste. For something a little less pasty, Mix 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of cold water and 2 cups of boiling water. Mix the cornstarch and cold water together in a small bowl and pour this mixture into the boiling water, stirring constantly. When liquid is clear and thick, remove from heat and let cool. A squeeze type condiment bottle is the perfect container for the glue.

The Internet and your local library provide many more inexpensive and free craft ideas for your children. By making homemade craft products, you're encouraging your child to be resourceful, imaginative and budget-conscious. Any money you do shell out for ingredients will be minimal and will most certainly be less than what you'd spend purchasing art supplies at the local craft store. In fact, it will be just as much fun for you and your child to make the craft supplies together, as it is to make the actual craft. Why not try it on your next rainy day?

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