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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Cheap/Free fun crafts or art projects for kids 3-12?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (23285 points ) September 1st, 2011

The kids want to have an arts and crafts day tomorrow, but we’re on a tight budget this week and I have no intentions of going out to buy a bunch of supplies. The kids range from ages 3 to 12, so I need projects that will be easy enough for 3 and 4 year olds (with assistance) but not boring or too simple for the older kids.
We have a lot of stuff around the house already, as far as supplies go. Tons of paints, play-doh, paper, construction paper, stickers, crayons, coloured pencils, glue and glue sticks. I also have a bunch of sewing stuff like fabric scraps, buttons, trim and string. I have one empty paper towel roll, and I think I have one empty toilet paper roll.

Any creative ideas from the collective?

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21 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I think paints are enough.I would have them do portraits of each other.That would entertain me as well :)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I agree, that does sound fun!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf -It is good for some laughs! Put some music on that they like and just have some fun with it :)
Can I come over?? :)

tom_g's avatar

Do you have any boxes? Maybe some cereal boxes in the recycling bin? My kids are always digging through the recycling and coming up with some cool vehicles and houses, etc made with cereal boxes. Often they integrate any clear plastic they can also find. They also love those paint stirring sticks you get when you buy a gallon of paint. While they occasionally become weapons, they’re just as likely to become supports for some ridiculous structure or handles for a puppet (my son recently made a snake on his own and used two of these sticks to control it).

My kids recently made paper swords out of newspaper. My son liked them so much, we had them again during his knight-themed birthday.

I want to leave the office right now and go make crafts with my kids.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille yes!! :) I love when we have arts and craft days, but I have never been more excited than today. I seriously love that idea.

tom_g's avatar

Oh, and marbles! They can make a marble run out of cardboard tubes and tubes made of paper.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Aww, we don’t have marbles.. but I know there is a big supply of boxes tucked away in the garage. We used some the last time we did crafts, and I had forgotten about them. Good idea. :)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Oh gosh, these paper swords are going to be a hit. No pun intended.

tom_g's avatar

Sorry – one more. If any of the older kids get bored, you could do a competition (I ran a Destination Imagination group last year, and we did this all the time)....

Break them into groups (if there are a few kids), give them a baggie containing exactly the same random supplies (a piece of clay, some popsicle sticks, 3 paper clips, a piece of paper, etc). They have x number of minutes to build a structure only using the supplies you provide. The tallest structure wins.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf—You could also go to the dollar store,pick up some cheap squirt guns,fill with diluted paint and have “target practice” outside ala Jackson Pollock!
No mess for you to clean up….I think…
I will be right over! :D

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@tom_g ohh, we did that recently with marshmallows and toothpicks. Lots of fun, and then we made s’mores later!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Or….....fill water balloons with diluted paint….Ok now I know you won’t invite me over.LOL!—It does sound like fun though,doesn’t it?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille it really does. We have a ton of leftover water balloons and cheapy squirt guns from a massive water fight we had a month ago. It’s supposed to storm all weekend, which is why we were planning for indoor activities… but if there is no lightning, I’m down. I love making messes!

Kardamom's avatar

If you have any magazines laying around, that you don’t need to keep intact, you can cut up the pages and then separate the pieces into colors. Then you can glue to pieces onto another piece of paper or some stiffer cardboard and make a mosaic. Here is a magazine clipping mosaic that is quite intricate. But they can be very simple or very complex, depending upon the age of the child.

You can also make bean mosaics (only you need to glue them onto something a little bit stiffer than paper, like carboard or a real wood board or even a thick paper plate. Here’s a pretty cool bean mosaic

You can also glue the magazine pieces or the beans (or other little plastic trinkets or small stones or beads or buttons) onto the paper towel tubes and other random objects to construct some 3-D art in the style of Nikki de Saint Phalle or if you prefer flat mosaic art, check out some things by Millard Sheets (he did a lot of work in California, especially on the old Home Savings and Loan buildings from the 1950’s through the early 70’s).

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Ooh, I do have macaroni, too. I forgot about that. I have tons of magazines that I keep specifically for art projects and cutting up, I’ll definitely drag some out.

Cruiser's avatar

For scouts we did silhouette portraits one time, kids would trace their shapes the cut them out and of course goof off like crazy doing shadow puppets. Speaking of puppets, making sock puppets is always a fun project and who doesn’t like sock puppets!

One fun cool project was letting the kids make bridges out of Popsicle sticks and the next time they got together we bridged 2 tables with them and hung weights on them till they broke and the kid with the strongest bridge got some serious bragging rights.

Kardamom's avatar

You can also paint rocks. They don’t have to be as elaborate as these, but it’s still fun.

linguaphile's avatar

I like this

I used pureed construction paper to make “artisan paper” with petals, glitter and other additives with my students.

Another construction paper project is to cut out 25 of the exact same shape in 2–3 colors and glue them liberally together into a stack. Let dry, then sand the edges rounded. The thicker the stack, the more you can see the graduations between colors. If you don’t have sandpaper, use the sidewalk.

For the fabric scraps and ribbons, you can cut them into 1 inch thick strips that are about 12 inches long and, using a 12inx12in cardboard backing, tape 12 of the strips to the back edge and flop them over the front. Tape 12 more to the back edge and flop over the front then do a simple weave pattern, taping each end to the opposite side when the woven line is done.

martianspringtime's avatar

If you have a lot of extra magazines around, you can try making these paper ornaments. Not sure what you’ll want to do with them, but as a former magazine addict, I had plenty to work with and ended up making half a wall’s worth of them. It’s really, really easy and kept me entertained.

Pele's avatar

Not sure if it’s arts and crafts but putting mentos in diet coke is hella fun for young kids. I have done this for my friends kids and neices and nephew. not as cool as the viddy but fun

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