(credit: TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Doing crafts with the kiddos is a great way to not only spend quality time together, but also to foster creativity. Children and adults alike enjoy open-ended arts and craft projects that allow for fun in a relaxed, judgement-free environment. There are a variety of simple crafts that can be created using all manner of materials that are probably already in the house. Let children explore different art concepts and materials by doing one of these five easy crafts from Amanda Royer.

Amanda Royer
Grace South Bay
1000 South Bascom Ave.
San Jose, CA 95128
(650) 326-7737
www.gracepres.com
Wax And Watercolor Painting

Materials needed for this project are white paper, light- or white-colored Crayola crayons and watercolor paints. Royer specifies that Crayola brand crayons work best for this craft. To do the project, take the light-colored crayon and draw very hard onto the white paper. Then use the watercolor paints to paint over the crayon markings. Whatever has been drawn with the crayon will repel the color of the paints and will show through. Kids can also experiment writing rather than drawing with the crayon, or dividing the paper into boxes to see more clearly how the paint colors do not bleed over the wax crayon lines.

Paint Blobs

Materials required for this craft are white paper, paints, drinking straws and crayons or markers. For this craft, place blobs of paint onto the white paper. If the paint is too thick, mix with a bit of water to thin before placing on the paper. Then take the drinking straw, point it at the paint blobs and blow through the straw to make the paint scatter. Have children experiment by mixing paint colors, changing the size of paint blobs, blowing from varying directions or with different amounts of force. After drying, kids can get creative and make the paint blobs into animals by adding eyes and legs, or into flowers by adding leaves and stalks.

Collages

Collages are a great opportunity for kids to go wild playing with different materials. Gather up some glue, water, a paint brush and a variety of materials from tissue and wrapping paper to magazines and newsprint, in addition to items like yarn or buttons. Have children create their masterpieces on something fun like a clean glass food jar for a vase, or an empty tissue box to make a personalized desk accessory. Use the glue and pieces of paper to cover the outside of the container, then layer on words or pictures cut from the magazines. To finish, cover all of the paper with a painted-on mixture of two parts glue to one part water. Allow to dry and either display, or glue on buttons, yarn or color over with markers.

3-D Drawing

Gather some drawing paper, a pencil, tissue paper and white Elmer’s glue. Tear the tissue paper into 10 or 20 2×2-inch pieces, and crumple them loosely into balls. Using the pencil, make a line drawing or write a word on the drawing paper. Working in sections, apply glue over the drawn or written lines, and attach the tissue paper pieces to make a three-dimensional drawing.

Animal Creations

Have children create their own unique animal. Animals can either be sculpted from clay, play dough or found objects, or drawn using pencil, pens or paper. Give children plenty of time to imagine a new creature, and then make the craft interactive by asking the child to tell you about the animal. Prompt them to create detailed descriptions including what the animal is called, where it lives, what sounds it makes, foods it eats and if they live alone or in family groups.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.