Hallelujah to a break from the weirdest school year ever. My kids need a mental break. I need a mental break from thinking about anything related to learning or schedules. However, a break means loads of free time. Don’t get me wrong; my family needs this time to just relax and decompress and soak up some holiday spirit, but we still need activities to keep ourselves occupied. We’ll have copious amounts of iPad time and Netflix marathons, but my kids can only handle so much screentime before their behavior devolves into the red zone. They’ll also get loads of outside play time, but again, if it’s cold and drizzly they’ll be inside hunting for things to do. Enter Pinterest, the great bastion of inspiration with its perfect looking crafts and anxiety inducing lists of supplies needed to create said crafts.
I chose to homeschool my daughter this year and one thing that’s been a huge part of her curriculum are crafts. Crafts for the sake of crafts, crafts to tie in with learning units, and crafts because I need 20 minutes to BREATHE WITHOUT SOMEONE TALKING OR TOUCHING ME. I’m fine, it’s fine, everything’s fine.
Here is a list of all the crafts we’ve tested and approved so you don’t have to search in vain for good crafts. I turn on some music in the background, set out a drink and snack, and let them get their craft on. I have a few criteria that I always use to vet a craft before I even begin.
- My kids have to be able to do it independently. I have a seven- and a four-year-old, so the majority of the craft needs to be completed by them without lots of involvement for me. The goal is for me to get a break and focus on other things while still providing them with something fun. I am okay with cutting certain templates out since my youngest needs help there, but I try to have that done before they start the project.
- It needs to use basic craft supplies I can grab from my local Dollar Tree. I do have a large craft closet, but I make trips to the DT to stock up on supplies.
- I am OKAY with sneaking in some refresher learning crafts or pages. My kids aren’t to the point where school is a chore, so they both like the occasional worksheet if it’s fun. Use your own judgement as to what your crew can handle this holiday break.
This is easy and I simplify it even further by using pipe cleaners for the feet and beak. Use tape for the parts if your kids aren’t glue masters yet. We are huge Pigeon fans! We break these out when we read our books.
No surprise that this is a favorite activity in our house. I buy toothpicks and bags of candy from Dollar Tree and let them create. Although the link is a Halloween theme, we do this all year with various candies like circus peanuts, Swedish fish, gum drops, or other gummy type candy. My kids love seeing what they can build and this keeps their attention for long stretches of time. This can be used to fit any theme you might be doing too!
I love a good simple craft and these paper plate creations are fun and easy. If you aren’t comfy letting your kids paint without direct supervision, look into paint sticks or let them use markers or crayons. We have done every single one of the plate crafts on this link so these have been tested and kid approved!
My kids can draw for what seems like hours. I look for large notebooks and blank paper and let them keep all their art in one spot so they can look back to see what they’ve created. My favorite place for directed drawing tutorials is Art for Kids Hub which is a channel on YouTube. This is their favorite because they can pause the video and take their time and the creator does an excellent job of showing how it doesn’t have to be perfect to be art. For additional tutorials, check out From the Pond.
Roll and Create
Type in “roll a drawing” on Pinterest for gobs of free printables. I print out a few, gather construction paper, drawing paper, glue/tape, and various materials like pom poms/yarn/googly eyes, and crayons/markers/paint and let them decide what material they want to use. These are fun and no two creations are the same! We have family contests to see who can create the most crazy creations.
This is more for older children who love to build independently with Legos or other small brick type blocks and need some prompts.
This link works well for younger kids. These are great for magnets, wood blocks, Lincoln Logs, Legos, or any other objects that can be stuck or linked together.
This is a FREE unit with crafts, school activities, and other fun suggestions. We read the book (can be found online here), do lots of crafts, and then watch the movie. I also will do a Grinch themed dinner and find all the recipes and ideas on Pinterest.
All wizards need a wand, so check out this wand tutorial for older kids (a parent will need to do the hot glue portion). These will NEVER look as professional as the ones in the pictures, BUT they are so fun and perfect for a HP lover! I’ve made these with a pencil too and they turn out just as cute.
We all have some toilet paper rolls lying around or you can cut a paper towel tube in half to make this fun and easy Harry Potter puppet, like this.
Harry Potter glasses and house ties that are great for DIY costume play.