Kids love crafts! One of the joys of being grandparents is getting to work on special little arts and crafts projects with our grandkids.
This is a great time of year to find some new winter craft ideas for kids, because it helps to keep kids entertained while they’re cooped up in the house on cold days, without having to resort to TV, video games or more screen time.
Winter arts and crafts for kids don’t have to be expensive or difficult. The point is to have fun with your grandkids, not win a prize for “most elaborate craft.” But doing easy winter crafts for kids can be one of the best ways to nurture your grandkids’ imaginations and strengthen the relationship that they have with their grandparents. Here are a few ideas.
Making a satchel or tote bag can be a fun way for you and your grandkids to have a personalized item to serve as a keepsake and memento of your time together. It’s easy to make your own tote bag from a simple canvas bag purchased at craft stores, and then personalizing it with iron-on designs, stencils or fabric paint. Other ideas: use colorful ribbons or paper flowers to decorate the tote bag, or use glue and glitter to write your grandkids’ names and create fun designs.
You can purchase a simple foam picture frame and then personalize it with stickers, glitter, paint, markers, small photos or cutouts from magazines. Ask your grandkids to decorate the picture frame with images of some of their favorite things or favorite places – or you can do a themed photo frame that commemorates some of your favorite things to do together, and then put a photo in the frame of you and your grandkids having fun together.
Would you rather have an “edible craft?” Make S’Mores on a cold day! S’Mores taste great around the campfire, but even if you’re indoors you can make S’Mores if you have a gas-burning stove top for toasting marshmallows, some graham crackers, and some chocolate bars. Kids love to cook, especially if it’s a sweet treat like S’Mores.
Eating warm cookies is one of the time-honored traditions of visiting Grandma’s house – but why should Grandma have to do all the work? Get those grandkids to earn their keep by helping out in the kitchen. This recipe for chocolate chip cookies has been rated very highly for being easy and fast, which makes it an ideal choice for baking with grandkids.
Kids love to take pictures, whether it’s with their own camera or smartphone, or by borrowing their parents’ or grandparents’ photo-taking devices. Encourage your grandkids creativity by collaborating on a photo project. Ask your grandkids to take a lot of photos and then work together to use the photos to create a lasting memento, such as a photo album, greeting card, family calendar or photo collage.
You can use great online programs like Blurb.com or Snapfish.com to make excellent photo projects with your own digital photos, and then get prints shipped to your house for a reasonable price. Or you can order a few copies of the photo prints and send copied directly to your grandkids’ houses too!
It’s easier than ever before to make fun videos with your grandkids, whether it’s a simple recording from your smartphone or tablet PC, or a more elaborate fun video with music and sound effects. Check out programs like Animoto.com or Smilebox.com for a fast start! YouTube makes it easy to upload your own videos online where they can be easily shared with friends and family.
Just be sure to adjust the Privacy settings to “Unlisted” (which means that the only people who can see the video are the people who have the link) or “Private” (only people who log in with their own YouTube account, who you choose to see the video, are able to see it) if you’re concerned about preserving your grandkids privacy online.
Kids are often very environmentally conscious – it’s one of the endearing and inspiring attributes of this young generation. Try to find some craft ideas that have an eye toward environmental sustainability, such as using recycled materials. Or check out Green Kid Crafts, which makes eco-friendly craft kits for kids.
Making arts and crafts can also be combined with charitable giving. Look for opportunities to make arts and crafts that could be donated to a local hospital, nursing home or homeless shelter – for example, painting colorful pictures to hang on the walls and brighten people’s day, or knitting warm scarves for the winter, or making cute holiday centerpieces that could help make a communal dining table feel more like home.
Find a shelter, hospital, nursing home or other charitable giving organization near you, and call ahead to find out which types of donations are acceptable.
Your crafts might not be the best fit for every organization – some places cannot accept handmade items – but it’s worth finding out. Or you could combine a craft activity with a volunteer visit to a hospital, home or shelter to help your grandkids understand more of the spirit of generosity and supporting the community.
Winter doesn’t have to be a sedentary, isolating time – there are many ways to bring a touch of color, creativity and generosity to even the coldest months. Showing your grandkids how to be creative and expressive with some easy winter crafts for kids could be one of the most meaningful gifts that you can share with them.
What are your favorite arts and crafts ideas for kids? Have you tried any of the ideas on this list? How did it go? Leave us a comment and let us know.