Featured activity: Build Your Own Children’s Craft Box
The single best thing I did right before my second child was born (OK, maybe second best behind stocking the freezer with meals), was to build a boredom-busting craft box for my toddler.
I’m telling you, an easily accessible bin packed with the right combination of arts and crafts supplies will save your life — or at least your sanity. Our magical craft box manages to hold my three-year-old’s attention for longer than two minutes, buying me valuable time to make dinner, pick up the house for the twentieth time that day or FaceTime with a friend.
You want to build a craft box that will allow you to be relatively hands off. Think washable everything (paints, markers, etc.), kid-safe scissors and self-guided activities like stamp pads and coloring books.
Here are my craft box favorites:
Is there a toddler that isn't obsessed with putting stickers on everything? My number one tip is to buy the “puffy” stickers so their little fingers can manage these on their own. I buy them in bulk on Amazon. We also love the reusable Melissa and Doug Puffy Sticker Play Set.
Colorful, washable paint is a must. I don’t stress out when my son paints his hands, his arms (why though?), the table and essentially everything except the paper. Don’t forget the paint brushes, paint sponges and a smock to keep clothes relatively clean.
You’re missing out on some serious independent play if you haven’t given your child a package of pom poms and some Tupperware filled with water. The Busy Toddler blog calls this “Pom Pom Soup” and it is an excellent sit back and watch parenting activity. Just fill a big Tupperware or bowl with water, dump in some pom poms and give your kid spoons and other random kitchen utensils. I’ve also given my son a funnel and watched him meticulously push all the pom poms through the hole.
Coloring books and supplies
Make sure your craft box is stocked with plain drawing paper, colorful construction paper and washable markers. I also like to keep a big roll of brown butcher paper to cover the table for messier activities (like pumpkin carving or my son’s invention that involves rolling Matchbox cars through Play-Doh). Another great craft box item is the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Coloring books. These are a must-have on long road trips.
Scissors and glue
My son can be entertained for a good 20 minutes simply by cutting paper. Using scissors is a novelty to children and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Just be sure to buy safety scissors that are suitable for little hands. As for glue, I like the glue sticks for my son but the liquid glue comes in handy for certain projects.
I like giving my son a couple pieces of paper and his wooden animal stamp set when I need to get some things done in the kitchen. He loves filling the page with different stamp designs.
Pipe cleaners can be used for a ton of different purposes and they definitely deserve a spot in your craft box. They act as a great “string” for beading activities, kids can stick them through the holes in a colander, or you can help your little ones make candy cane ornaments in December.
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For more inspiration, check out recent features, such as FIve Tips to Successful Mask Wearing, or if you are heading out on a road trip, take a look at our list of Top Ten Family-Friendly Podcasts. For a fun activity at home, check out our list of Chalk Games.
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