A reader recently wrote in asking for ideas about craft kits for kids. Well there are lots of kids craft kits available to buy but I think it’s so much nicer to put one together yourself and that way you can really tailor it to the needs and interests of your children and it’s much more economical to make your own too.
I’ve written a few lists that will hopefully provide you with lots of ideas to put together a really good craft kit base that you can then enjoy adding to over time and as your children’s interests and abilities develop.
First up is a list of decorating basics, they are the ‘must have’ essential items that I always have in our home craft kit. I’ve found these items so useful for a myriad of children’s craft activities that I’ve stocked them in our craft kit since my children were first able to grasp a chubby crayon.
Craft Kit Decorating Basics
- Coloured Feathers US
- Pom-Poms US
- Googly Eyes US
- Pipe Cleaners US
- Lolly Sticks US
- Coloured Buttons US
- Wool US
I just love all these products they offer such a great range of colours, shapes and textures. They’re so great for decorating pretty much anything and when combined with simple base materials like paper, card or empty yoghurt pots you’ve got the whole world of kids crafts at your finger tips.
Cutting It Up and Sticking It Down With A Kids Craft Kit
Glue sticks are an absolute must for any craft kit. They are really easy for even very young children to use and are pretty much mess free.
I always like to have some white glue in my craft kit too which is good for sticking bigger and heavier items like sticks and conkers but it does take a long time to dry which can be a real disadvantage. My 10 year old now enjoys using a hot glue gun which sticks pretty much anything really quickly but hot glue hurts so it’s definitely an ‘under adult supervision’ addition for big kids.
We get through reels and reels of sticky tape. It’s great for sticking unusual shaped items together and fantastic for junk model making but young children can find sticky tape really tricky to cut and handle and another disadvantage is that you can’t paint or colour over it very easily. For that reason I always have a supply of masking tape too. Children can easily tear this off themselves and it cuts to size much more easily than clear tape. I love it because it is paper based meaning you can paint or draw over the top of it easily.
A stapler is another really handy piece of equipment for a children’s craft kit but has obvious dangers so young children will need to be taught how to use it safely and be supervised.
Scissors are an absolute must for any kids craft kit, there aren’t many children’s craft activities that you can do without them. You can get plastic starter scissors for young children but I’ve found these don’t cut well at all and can be really disappointing and frustrating for little hands. I prefer to give them a good quality small pair with proper metal blades and teach them to use them safely and of course supervise them.
Craft Kit Base Materials
I like to have a range of different papers, cards and fabrics to hand and it’s a part of our craft kit that I’m often adding too.
Keep an eye out for seasonal bargains and wrapping papers and think about what you might be throwing away. Old birthday and Christmas cards can be great for cutting and sticking activities and presents are often a good source of fancy papers.
I will often save the arm or leg off an item of clothing that’s got too worn to pass on to anyone if the fabric is nice. You’ll soon build up a good collection.
Mark Making Tools For Your Kids Craft Kit
Chalks are great to use on the floor and walls outside as they simply wash away but I love them for inside too. They look super on dark paper and are a great way to explore colour mixing.
I tend to have three types of paint that I use for different projects. I have solid palette paints which are great for the children to use independently and again fabulous for painting the stones outside. I also have ready mixed water based squeezy bottles which are a lot quicker and easier than powder paints. I also have tubes of acrylic paint. These are quite durable and cover things well so are great for painting over cereal boxes if you’re model making. They don’t wash off skin or out of clothes easily though and definitely need a bit of scrubbing. I didn’t use them much when the children were small as I wanted them to get as painty as they liked without a cleaning up trauma, but we use them more and more now they are older.
Paint Brushes aimed at toddlers and preschoolers tend to be very chunky with short handles for easy grip and control. Whilst this is helpful for little hands I loved giving my children a range of brush sizes from very tiny thin ones to enormous ones designed for painting walls. Paintbrushes are also great in the garden in the summer with a bucket of water. Children can paint everything and it simply dries up and disappears.
Bingo markers are something I’ve only come across recently. They are often really chunky which can be nice for little hands to hold and the colours are bright. They can be used for printing lovely big dots or for longer strokes too.
Add A Touch of Pizzazz To Your Homemade Craft Kit!
Glitter is great fun and can make finished pictures and crafts really special. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea though as it can be pretty messy and can seem to spread everywhere! A great tip is to use it on a large tray so that it stays contained and any spare at the end can be poured back in its pot.
For the glitter shy, glitter glue may be a better way to go, you get all the magic of the glitter but without stray pieces finding their way around your house. (I even found glitter in my fridge one day but we are pretty glitter happy here.) The down side to glitter glues is that they do need time to dry.
Thinking Outside The Box
Empty Grocery Pots, Boxes and Trays
There is no end to a craft kit it’s always worth keeping your eyes peeled for things to add.
Kitchen drinking straws are a great addition. They can be cut up to make beads, blown through to spread paint, stuck on to make arms, legs and hair for drawings and puppets.
I always have a model making box to hand where I pop the odd loo roll, yogurt pot, cereal box and washing up liquid bottle. These are such a great resources for children to use to create absolutely anything that takes their fancy and it’s free which is great.
Another free resource for the craft kit are finds from nature. Look out for conkers, sticks, acorns, stones and pinecones. They can be used to make patterns and pictures, be painted and decorated or stuck together to create something wonderful.
I think tin foil is often under-rated. I love it, it’s so versatile. It can be cut or torn flat to make shiny adornments, used to wrap big or little models and even scrunched up to make 3D objects like little robots.
Cotton wool is another household item tha lends itself well to crafts especially in the winter when it doubles up well as snow or Father Christmas’ beard. In the summer it’s fluffy clouds and frolicking sheep.
Plasticine is a great craft item to take on the move. It doesn’t dry out and it stored easily in a simple plastic bag and comes in a great range of colours. I often have a little supply of it in my handbag to whisk out if we’re waiting for a train or having a coffee break in a cafe. It can be used for flat picture making or 3D models, it’s easy to play with on a table top and is fairly mess free.
There is no right or wrong to a kids craft kit, just grab bits and pieces as and when you can that you think might come in handy and remember to keep a look out for those freebie goodies like buttons from old shirts and kitchen roll middles.
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