Get arty and crafty: Five ideas for under-5s
Looking to engage your five year old? There’s no better way than through art and craft. It’s a wholesome, hands on, rewarding pastime that’ll spur their creativity while keeping them focussed.
- Paint, glorious paint
OK, we know you’re already picturing ‘mess, glorious mess’ but what’s so bad about that when your 5yo is having the best fun and flexing their right-brain muscle? Bright paint on large sheets of paper might feel like a messy disaster waiting to happen but it’s actually producing you sheets of the most meaningful wrapping paper you’ll ever find – win, win! Don’t forget to get creative with your painting tools – think twigs, cotton buds, kitchen utensils, small toy cars, bubble wrap, sponges – the options are endless and the more obscure the tool, the better! If ‘real’ paint worries you, why not give your mini a container of plain water and paintbrushes in various sizes and get them ‘painting’ a masterpiece on your driveway?
- Nature play
Hit the garden with your 5yo and collect a selection of leaves. Don’t rush this step – the more fresh air and vitamin D you can enjoy with your mini and Mother Nature, the better. Once you’ve collected a variety of leaves in different shapes and sizes, glue them to paper and, using pencils, pens, paint or felt markers, add details to your leaves to turn them into crazy creatures. Add legs and arms, funny faces – whatever your creative 5yo wants! You can go next level with this project and glue embellishments to your creatures to give them added pizzazz! Fold white card in half and get your mini creating their crazy creature on the front and, boom!, you have family birthday cards sorted for the rest of the year!
- Finger knitting
Knitting is one of those old-school skills that, given the way modern technology is taking over, may be lost if we don’t make a concerted effort to keep the pastime alive. While actual knitting might be beyond your 5yo, finger knitting isn’t. There are many Youtube videos demonstrating how to do it – get Googling. Here’s a tip for beginners though: Buy the thickest wool available. A chunky ply will be easier for little fingers. With spring now officially sprung, most craft stores have their wool on discount which is an added incentive to get finger knitting!
- Put your best foot forward
Here’s an activity that’s both creative and a great way to track your child’s growth over the years. Hand and footprints made on paper with ink/paint can be cut out and turned into some very fun pictures. A footprint could be the body of a vehicle (simply paint on the wheels etc). Two matching footprints could be the wings of a butterfly. Handprints could be the branches of a tree (just add leaves). Fingerprints could be the leaves of a memorable ‘family’ tree. We’ve even seen doggie footprints turned into gorgeous flowers (just paint in the stems and some leaves). Remember, these art projects can be filed away into an album that tracks your baby’s growth through childhood. A great crafty and creative keepsake.
- Upcycle your crayons
We love a useful craft project. You know those stubby broken crayons that seem to accumulate? Get your 5yo to run around the house collecting them. Remove the paper labels, add the pieces to silicone ice cube trays and bake in the oven until melted. Once cooled, these broken crayons will be reincarnated into some of the coolest drawing tools around. Mix different colours in the same ice cube mould for special effect.