March is National Craft Month and it also happens to be Youth Art Month. As an art teacher and mom, I love to craft and create artwork. I am also passionate about sharing that with others and enjoy doing projects and sharing my love of art with my kids.
“Research indicates that a child who is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property—key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twenty-first century.”
(International Child Art Foundation on artfulparent.com)
In honor of National Craft Month and Youth Art Month, here are some of my go-to simple projects for kids and moms alike! These are all projects that I have actually done so they are tried and true. Oh, and if you are worried about making a mess, stock up on some art shirts and plastic tablecloths to cover tables, floors, or any surface that could get messy during our creative adventures. I hope you have some fun creating for yourself and with your littles this month!
Hand and Footprint Art: These types of projects can be customized for any occasion or any season. I love it because it is a fun way to commemorate those sweet hands and feet at different ages. This is also fun because moms and kids can do this one together and each have a part. Here are a few of my favorites that I have done with my kids.
• Don’t use too much paint so you can see details in their prints
• Have baby wipes handy for quick cleanup
• Dip your finger in paint and use your “fingerprint” to fill in any areas that need touching up
Chalkboard Art: Chalkboards and hand-lettering are a huge trend right now. One of my favorite ways to incorporate this into my home décor is using small chalkboards in a gallery wall that are inexpensive and easy to change. This one is a silver tray that I got at a thrift store for a dollar. I painted it with chalkboard paint and wrote on it with a chalk marker.
• If you don’t like your own handwriting, use a computer font. You can use graphite paper to transfer a printed font right onto your project.
• I used a chalk marker because I like the look of the cleaner line. Be warned though, it does not erase very easily and you may have to repaint your chalkboard when you want to change it.
Wreaths: I really enjoy making wreaths. I am also cheap. Translation: I will not buy a super expensive wreath for my front door no matter how gorgeous it is. I keep these pretty simple and I often use things I have on hand like scrap fabric and ribbon. I have even scored some embellishments in the dollar bins at Target. When I get tired of the look of a wreath, I usually tear it apart, keep what I can/want, and start over. My girls love seasonal decorations too so they think its fun to have new things out in our décor.
• Save things so you have some materials to work with when the crafting bug strikes. One year I saved all of the ribbons off of the Christmas presents from my entire extended family.
• Embellish something you already have or can find cheap. Seriously, check those dollar bins!
Melted Crayon Art: This one is for the kids and it is so fun. It’s almost magical to watch the wax melt and “dance” around. I’m sure many of you have seen this one before so I will just give you my tips for success.
• Tack the crayons down with regular school glue if you have time for it to fully try. You can tape them down with masking tape until the glue dries.
• It takes a while for the crayons to start melting but once they do it will go pretty fast.
• Lay down something to protect your floor or do it in a basement or garage. The wax has a tendency to go a little crazy. Also, use an old/cheap hair dryer or even a heat gun that is meant for crafting.
Pizza Box Painting: Here is another fun idea for your kiddos. All you need is a pizza box (or any cardboard box), some paper, marbles (or even a golf ball), and some paint. Tape your paper down inside the box and throw in a few marbles and some paint. Then, seal your box and let your kids go crazy shaking and rolling the box around. It creates a neat effect and the colors mix to make new colors. We recently did this one in rainbow colors and plan to use the paper to make thank you notes for my daughter’s rainbow art birthday party.
• Less is more when it comes to the paint. You can always add more!
• Make sure the colors you put together aren’t going to make brown when you mix them together.