WRITTEN BY SALLY HILLS-DAVIS, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST AND KIRSTY BROCKLEHURST, PHYSIOTHERAPIST, FOUNDERS OF THE PRACTICAL CHILD.
Arts and crafts can be so easy to start without any cost or even going out the door. For children arts and crafts can provide not only hours of fun but also can help your child to develop their imagination and creativity. In addition, it can help to develop their fine and gross motor skills, help to plan, organize and sequence. From the age of two up to adulthood arts and crafts can help to manage anxiety and stress and can even be enjoyed as much by the adults as the children.
When short of money you can make crafts as gifts, making a paper mâché dish, painting it and filling the dish with sweets. Toilet rolls painted with a circle stuck to the bottom make a brilliant pen holder that aunties and uncles, grandparents and friends can be
over joyed to receive.
There are so many free resources available, bubble wrap, egg boxes, pasta, toilet rolls, old newspaper and silver foil. You can use tools such as old potato or veg, cotton wool or old tooth brushes. In addition to this you can make some recipes yourself to make glue, salt dough or playdoh. See below for recipes!
What you need:
• 2 cups of plain flour • 2 cups of water • 1 cup of salt • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar • Food colouring
How to make it: Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to boil. Cook for a further two minutes until it forms a solid lump and allow to cool. Then knead the playdough onto a floured surface. Store in cling film or an airtight container. The playdoh should last for around two weeks.
What you need: • Cold water • Flour (one-part flour to one-part water) • Strips of newspaper torn to about one-inch strips but bigger if you want
What to do: Mix the flour in a large bowl (2 cups of each is a good amount to start with) until it makes a smooth paste. Dip in the newspaper strips, one at a time, remove excess paste with your fingers and lay the coated newspaper on the item to be covered. Smooth out the wrinkles and continue to place coated newspaper over the surface until completely covered. When the surface has totally dried, you can do another layer the next day to make the item thicker and sturdier.
You can cover bowls, the inside of a dish. One of our favourites is to cover a balloon. To really make it strong do a couple of layers one day, let it dry, do the same a day later. You can add ears building them up as they dry. Once done you can paint. This is particularly good to do with 5-7 year olds as it helps them to use their imagination and be creative in what they choose to make.