Today I have the honor of speaking to the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at our church. If you're visiting my blog because of MOPS, welcome! I'm so glad you're here!
I love working with kids, and sharing ideas of crafts and activities to do with preschoolers is such fun. And because I know that a lot of my readers have young children, I thought you might like to see a little of what I shared. Ready? Here we go!
When I saw these on Pinterest, I knew that I had to make them. This is a paper cup with the bottom cut out. A knotted balloon with the top cut off is stretched around the end. You stick a marshmallow inside, pull, and pop! I sent this gingerbread man marshmallow flying, and my sister suggested that he needed a little parachute! (Also, I did discover that grapes shoot really well with this...just sayin')
Recycled crafts are a favorite of mine, because the materials are cheap and easy to come by. Cereal boxes and other cardboard packaging has become almost impossible for me to throw out.
Right now this looks like a strange postcard to send our Papa, but after my little sister adds a drawing to the blank area, it's a mailable piece of artwork!
I've shared these mini books here before, but I can't get enough of them, and neither can little kids. This isn't something they can make on their own, but they do love having these around to draw in!
Just cut a cover from recycled cardboard and some paper pages a bit smaller than the cover. Fold everything in half, then staple the spine. You can keep a bunch of these around, have them in your purse, etc., and kids will stay nice and busy!
Toilet paper tubes are another recycled item that can be used in many ways. You can find loads of ideas by Googling "toilet paper tube crafts". This bracelet is made by cutting the tube lengthwise, then cutting around for a cuff size bracelet. I've covered mine with tissue paper, but you could decorate them lots of ways. And if you make them a little bigger, they make excellent super hero cuffs!
This tree is pretty easy to figure out, but there are so many options...little ones can make trees all year round, and every one will look different! Since it's fall, I used an orange bingo marker. You can also glue on colored tissue, rice for snow, or cereal. Stickers are fun for this, as are finger prints, or just plain crayons. The top is half a paper plate slid into two slits in the toilet paper tube. Easy!
If you are a coffee person like myself, you probably have coffee filters around. Which is good, because there are lots of fun things to make with them! This leaf was cut out from a coffee filter, and then I colored it a bit. Then you mist it with water and let it dry (on some newspapers...it can be drippy and colorful!). So pretty! Try cutting out different shapes for other times of the year, like eggs for Easter, or as brightly colored Christmas decorations!
Coffee filters also make excellent turkey feathers! A template for the body of this turkey can be downloaded here.
They also work well for cutting snowflakes or making flowers!
Tissue paper is another item that most people have around for wrapping gifts. If not, you can usually get a big bundle of it at the dollar store. Just cut it up and have it around for adding to lots of things.
The stained glass look above is done by rubbing cooking oil onto waxed paper with a cotton ball. Then you just overlap the pieces of tissue. To make the finished product a little less messy, add another piece of waxed paper over the tissue.
If you have children, you may already know that kids love office supplies. Sometimes, it's annoying that they take your stuff, but instead of keeping them from this joy, get them their own! Let them have a roll of tape to play with...help them learn to use a stapler (obviously this is for older preschoolers)...give them envelopes (business reply envelopes are great for this...buy them little sticky notes to use as they please.
Above is a two-part activity that kids can use a hole punch for. First, let them punch holes in plain paper. Lots of them! Little ones love this, and it's good for little hands. Save the dots, and use them to glue onto paper. Older kids can glue them onto an outline, but even teeny tinies can have fun with this. They make fun ornaments on a picture of a tree, snowflakes on a background of blue paper, flowers in a garden...you name it!
This last one is an idea from the queen of craft, Martha Stewart. She suggested coloring white sticker dots with a permanent marker to have any color sticker you choose. How about using crayons and making the project child-friendly? Older kids can draw tiny pictures if they like; younger children can color them in solid, like I've done. Either way, you've got personalized stickers...and really, what kid doesn't love stickers?
I really can't take much credit for these ideas...I've seen them done in many places over many years...I just know that they are fun to make and share with young friends and family. I hope you find these useful for the preschoolers in your life!