Arts and crafts offer young children wonderful learning activities targeting their fine motor skills, creativity, and problem-solving skills.  In particular, Montessori crafts focus on teaching real-world skills through the fun, creative activities.  By exposing preschoolers and kindergartners to a wide variety of crafts and beginner art lessons, we unlock many aspects of their future creativity and curiosity. We begin giving them the tools they’ll need one day in school. Although stores offer many types of pre-made craft kits, some of the best memories and fun come from designing and creating a homemade art project with our children.

Clothespin Color Matching

Young children love learning shapes, colors, and patterns.  Although most children quickly grasp the difference between basic primary colors such as red and blue, understanding subtle color shades are a bit more challenging. Capture your child’s natural color curiosity and help them understand the concept of color shades by creating a color matching strips.

Supplies:

  • Clothespins
  • Colored paint swatch cards
  • Hot glue

Directions:

Trim a small strip off each colored card.  Glue one of these strips to top each clothespin.  Mix your remaining paint swatch cards in a large bowl or box and gather your “colored” clothespin in a separate containing.  Explain the game to your child by challenging them to match each clothespin to the matching color.  Demonstrate how the game works and use descriptive words such as “lighter” or “darker.”

This helps them see that there is more than one “type” of a certain color.  This colorful game demonstrates the idea of color shades to your child and helps them understand the difference between “lighter” or “darker” color shades. With practice, your child will quickly begin to match various color shades with ease.

Edible Water Beads

Sensory water beads are very popular with children.  These “squishy,” colorful beads are fun to play with and use in many crafts. However, make these sensory beads safer by creating a homemade, edible version.

Ingredients:

  • Rainbow Boba beads
  • Appropriate sensory toys (funnels, buckets, toy boats, plastic animals, etc.)
  • Sensory table or bucket

Directions:

Cook the Boba according to the package’s recipe.  The beads should be somewhat clear and “squishy” when they’re ready.  Although these beads already come in a rainbow of colors, feel free to add more food coloring or edible glitter for extra color and sparkle. After your beads are ready, keep them in a wet environment to keep them from drying out too quickly.  These beads are safe and edible for your children to play with in their sensory table or play bucket.  Children love the textures; these beads help them with their fine motor skills as they play and create.

Sand Dough

Summer is the perfect time for building sandcastles at the beach.  However, it’s always sad to leave these sand creations behind when we leave for home. Give your children the ability to create a long-lasting sand sculpture with homemade sand dough. Similar to play dough and clay, this dough is easy to make and sculpt.  As it dries, it becomes a hard, permanent creation your child will love.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of flour
  • 3/4 Cup of water
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups of sand
  • 1 Tbsp of white craft glue
  • Food coloring or acrylic craft paint
  • Clear acrylic “sealer”

Directions:

Measure-out and mix water and flour in a mixing bowl.  Continue kneading the mixture until it becomes soft and somewhat sticky.  Add the sand and glue to give your dough better form.  If you wish to create specific colors, add your food coloring to the dough.

This dough is very similar to play dough. Provide appropriate clay tools (miniature rolling pins, cookie cut-outs, etc.) Your child can create nearly anything.  To save the creation, allow it to dry and apply the “sealer” to keep it rigid.  You child can paint their hardened sculpture with craft paint.  This craft is great for homemade gifts and family mementos.

Yarn Balls

Nearly every child loves the opportunity to create festive holiday decorations or decor for their bedrooms. With just a few supplies, they can easily create a hands-on, colorful decoration you can keep for years to come.

Ingredients:

  • White craft glue
  • Mason jar or bowl
  • Balloons
  • Twine or yarn
  • Scissors

Directions:

Cut different lengths of string or colored yarn and place them in the jar or bowl.  Add glue and mix until all the strings are thoroughly covered. Help your child blow up balloons at different sizes (large, medium, and small).  Show your child how to wrap the sticky string around the balloon.  Allow them to wrap as much string around the balloons as they’d like.  Allow the glue to dry and let your child pop the balloons with you.  These fun and colorful string balls are easy to hang for simple bedroom decorations or holiday and party decor.  Your child will love the proud feeling of being able to create lasting decorations.

Unlike many store-bought craft kits, these homemade art projects allow you and your child to customize the experience for the best memories and enjoyment. Montessori crafts allow you to help your child learn and practice valuable skills that prepare them for the future. Sensory crafts such as these often spark interesting and meaningful future conversations about art and science.  Invest in one or more of these Montessori art projects; your child will love the creativity and fun they represent.

 

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