By Serena Norr

I don’t pride myself on being a particularly crafty person but I do love crafts (if that makes any sense). I love the idea of creating and I love to paint and draw but I am no Martha Stewart, which is why crafting with my daughter makes the whole experience so fun and with no pressure to color in between the lines. When she was a toddler we used to love getting out sheets of construction paper and slapping on stickers and glue to make collages and now that she is older jewelry is big. Focusing on creative play is also an amazing way to teach different ways to work with their hands while they are also expressing themselves in a different way. Here are some simple craft ideas that you can enjoy with your energetic tot.

Paper is all it takes. In the beginning it was all about creating simple pictures like adding stickers to construction paper or gluing cut-outs on a piece of paper. Finger painting was also a hit where my daughter could simply glob some colorful tones on her paper and go nuts. It progressed to coloring with markers and crayons where it is now a fun mixed media of a little bit of everything.

Playdough Creations. Clay or playdough is a fun way for kids to create while using their hands. Making it at home is an economical way to enjoy this pastime while also teaching your toddler how to mix and blend various ingredients. There are several recipes online but I really like this simple one on that uses everyday household items to create

Game Collage. I am a huge fan of creating collages and with my daughter I simplified this by making a game out of it. We get a huge piece of paper and glue on everything from old doll shoes to candy wrappers to small toys to bubble wrap. After our creation is dried we play a round of iSpy where we search for the objects from the collage. I found this to be a fun way to create, craft and learn at the same time, which is generally broken down into several days based on her attention span.

Finger Puppets. To make quick, easy and cheap puppets, I cut the base of a pair of rubber gloves and use the tips to create a collection of fun finger puppets. Together we create a face, some hair, and some clothes and then place them on our fingers to tell a pretend story. You can also glue on pieces of fabric for a hat or clothes. These are also a lot of fun in the bath as you tell a child a story based on the characters that you both created.

Tissue Paper Fun. Your toddler will love to get their hands messy by building tissue paper towers that mold together. Fill a bowl with three cups of water and add in ½ cup of glue. Mix is up for an instant solution that will bind with the tissue paper. You can start by having a base such as a small bowl or old bowl and have your toddler dip the paper in the solution and then pile and layer the paper until their creation is complete. You can also have them paint it after for a project that will have them excited for days.

Prints for all. I love this project with my daughter since it is a way to use paint and record a memory of the size of her hand or feet. We usually start with one basic color. I paint her hand or foot and press it on a piece of paper. Sometimes we’ll add a smiley face or add on some feathers or glitter to transform it into a fun picture. I also tried this on a basic white t-shirt and she got a huge kick out of wearing a shirt with her handprint on it.

Simple craft ideas that you can enjoy with your energetic tot.

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