I have a confession to make: I loathe crafting. There, I said it. I cringe at the idea of play dough mashed into a rug or a glue gun burning my hand. And yet, winter presents a time where we have to get a little more creative with our indoor activities. So I decided to game plan for the season by sticking with quick-and-easy crafting that literally anyone, of any creative capability, can attempt without making a disaster of your home.
This is my new, sneaky favorite: fast drying paint in an easy hand-held applicator. That’s it. No drippy paint brushes, water cups or stained easels. Just twist the tube, hold the paint stix, paint away and 90 seconds later the artwork is dry. My son has busied himself using Kwik Stix on paper, coloring books, posters and even cardboard with absolutely no messy aftermath.
With masking tape or painter’s tape, plot out a hopscotch path on your floor and practice your quick jumps. We made our version extra challenging by hopping one-footed, backwards and even holding stuffed animals in our arms. Not only did it give my kids the giggles but it also had them huffing, puffing and expending all that boundless energy.
To sum it up, it’s just like pattern recognition with a side of entry-level sewing. Imagine an outline of a shape (for example, a truck) and one must thread a string through a trail of holes around the truck. Lacing cards may be simple but they require quiet concentration that boosts fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination.
An old activity that’s still a classic good time. Up the ante with this playtime hobby by noting that there is a contest in play for who can build the best fort around. Kids and adults alike can grab pillows, blankets, umbrellas, toys, stuffed animals and more to construct the fortress of their dreams.
Grab your lightweight disposable paper/plastic cups and play architect. My son stacked up Solo cups like a tower and then proceeded to grab a tennis ball for a game of ‘bowling.’ Once that excitement wore off he stacked cups on chairs, practiced balancing them on his head and then incorporated his toys into his cup towers in order to reach new heights. If your children are older, bust out a deck of cards for a greater challenge.
A friend first introduced me to the magic of Melissa & Doug Reusable Stickers when a Polar Vortex struck. Instead of a sticky adhesive, think re-applicable car decal and that’s the texture you get. These stickers are mess-free and allow for a multitude of creative scenarios to stoke your child’s imagination.
Thanks be to my son’s school for this gem. Using a cardboard box or paper plate, utilize paper and tape to create loops and maze-like patterns. Test your skill holding the shoebox/plate while maneuvering a marble through it’s little obstacle course (note: marbles are a potential a choking hazard and should be used with caution).
Set out a few cardboard boxes and encourage kids to color and decorate the outside with stickers. Then share that these special boxes will hold donated goods for needy families. Encourage kids to retrieve gently used books, toys or clothing and fill their special boxes. When each box is filled, have them write out their name or trace their hands on top of the box to put their final stamp on it. Drop off at a local charity and celebrate kindness well done.
*A set of Kwik Stix was kindly provided for me to try but my review is entirely my own–we really did love them.
This story was originally published Dec. 13, 2016 on ChicagoParent.com and has been updated.