Having a craft bin around can be a great catalyst to family fun. I even have one that I can take with me to go and visit my grandniece and grandnephew and I used to carry one with me when working as a nanny or in hospital play rooms. I bought a plastic bin with a lid at the dollar store and stocked it with some basic craft supplies: paints, brushes, paint palettes, white and coloured paper, kids’ scissors, white glue, markers, and crayons. Then I toss in some recyclables like paper towel and toilet paper tubes, foam meat trays (Important: These must be scrubbed with soap and warm water and then sanitized with a bleach and water solution before using!), egg cartons, flattened cereal boxes, and so on.
Flickr, Carissa GoodNCrazy
I check out the crafting aisle at the dollar store for any brightly coloured items that the kids would enjoy making use of like pompoms, glitter, googly eyes, craft sticks, craft foam (sheets and shapes), and any others that catch my eye. I sometimes change things out seasonally – for instance there are some wooden Christmas ornaments in there now just waiting to be painted and embellished – and sometimes just change things out to freshen it up a bit. The other great thing is that I can take the leftovers from my craft projects – scraps of felt and fabric, that one leftover button, those 3 leftover beads – and put those into the bin. Nothing gets wasted.
I keep a small notebook or some file cards in the bin of craft ideas that would work well with the types of supplies typically found there in case we need some inspiration to get started but I also find it can be a lot of fun and quite interesting to see what your child will make using their own creativity. If you find that your child gets overwhelmed with all the choices, it can help to add some limitations: for example, give them a toilet paper roll, 2 craft sticks, and a pompom as well as the basic craft supplies (the markers etc.) and ask them what they can come up with using those. Why not give your child the chance to do the same? Let them pick out 4-5 items from the craft bin and challenge you to make something using those items!
This bin can be brought out on rainy days or times when your child is bored as something they can do on their own, or on family nights for some fun together!
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