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If you are anything like me, then you are always on the lookout for a new activity or craft that you can bring to your children....this is especially true if you are a stay-at-home parent and you are home most of the day! Well, to the rescue, I have an assortment of activities and projects that hopefully are new to you. Take some time to incorporate one of these low-cost, yet highly creative activities into your childs day!
By: Brandie Valenzuela
Materials needed: Any kind of large paper White glue Collected items from nature
Procedure: Give each child a paper sack or baggie and walk outside. Encourage them to pick up all kinds of leaves, grass, sand, pineneedles, weeds, etc. Return to your work space and have each child glue their findings on their piece of paper.
**Starchy Chalk Drawings**
Materials: Liquid starch, large flat paint brushes (foam ones work great), construction paper, water, newspaper, colored chalk.
Procedure: Mix 1part starch to 1part water in a container. Put down newspaper to protect work area. Give each child a piece of construction paper and a paint brush. Let your child dip his paint brush into the starch, and then brush it onto their construction paper (they will want to cover the paper with the starch mixture). Then using the chalk, your child can draw their design on the starch-covered paper. When the paper dries the starch acts as a fixative and won't rub off the paper.
If you ever wanted to a project that would also teach your children an important message than this is it!
Materials: trash, paper, glue, small sack for each child.
Procedure: If the weather is nice outside and not too windy, then take the children outside and give each one a sack. Talk to your children about how awful it is to litter and how you are going to not only make the world look better with your project, but you are going to have fun. Also be sure to explain to your children to not pick up anything that is sharp or that will hurt (broken glass, wires, etc.). Take them on a litterbug walk and have them pick up the trash that they see. When you are all done, return to your work space and have each child glue their trash on a piece of paper...be sure to do a lot of talking about the trash they found as they do their gluing, and explain to them the importance of throwing trash away in the proper containers.
Objects that will leave impressions (leaves, puzzle pieces, coins, keys, etc.) , paper, crayons or chalk.
Procedure: Gather the objects that you will use and lay them your working area. Place a piece of white paper over the items (you may want to tack the paper down). Using a crayon on its side, rub it over the objects, which will create a wonderful design on the paper.
**Raceway Painting Materials**
Materials: Paint, die-cast cars such as Hot Wheels, paper.
Procedure: First, be sure to protect your work space with newpaper. Place a small amount of paint on the childs paper...you may want to give your child several "globs" of paint of different colors. Using a the Hot Wheel, have your child run the car all over the paper, while running the tires through the paint. Have the child continue with his design until finished with his masterpiece.
NOTE: Kids *love* this.
Now, I would like to share some great dough and clay recipes with you. Some you may have heard of, and some may be new, but the best thing is that they are fairly inexpensive, so you can try them all!
With all of these recipes, be sure to store your dough in a tightly sealed container so that it will keep longer. I personally like to keep my doughs in a ziplock-type bag, which I place inside of a large plastic tub. Inside the tub I keep old cookie cutters, plastic knives, old rolling pins, and placemats. By keeping everything together, your children will be ready to creative at a moments notice!
"Basic Dough" 2 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup salt 1 tablespoon alum 3 tablespoon oil 1 1/2 cups hot water food coloring
Combine oil, water, and food coloring. Combine dry ingredients and mix into the liquid ingredients thoroughly. Knead.
"Bread-Dough Clay" 4 slices of bread 3 tablespoons white glue 2 drops lemon juice
Remove crusts from bread. Tear bread into small pieces and mix with glue and lemon juice. Knead. Remind children to not eat this dough. Projects will harden in about 3 days.
"Gluep" (for primary and older grades) 4 fl. oz. Elmers glue Borax warm water food coloring Mix glue with the warm water in a 1 part glue to 1 part water ratio. Make a solution of 1/4 cup Borax in 1 quart warm water.
Mix the glue and the Borax by adding 2 tbsp. glue mixture, plus 1 or 2 drops of food coloring to 2 tsp. of borax solution. Stir together with a stick until it thickens, and then knead it with your hands. NOTE: keep Gluep away from very young children. Also Gluep can damage varnished wood.
**About the Author**
Brandie Valenzuela, Apple Valley, CA USA
BMVCreations.html Brandie Valenzuela is married mother of three children, who enjoys working at home as an editor and freelance writer. If you enjoyed this article, then be sure to check out her free ezines and other services for families, parents, and scrapbookers at: