Confession time: I’m a non crafty mom. Not exactly something to be proud of considering I work in graphic design.
Sure, I’ve tried. My Pinterest boards were filled with crafts and I did my best to recreate them with my toddler. We made “sponge balls” out of cut up sponge strips and “clouds” with cotton balls.
But crafts elude me. My lazy response has been to provide my kids with open-ended toys, craft and plenty of downtime.
Still, sometimes I’d to do simple, creative projects for my five-year-old and two-year-old twins. Activities with supplies that can be found around the home or at your dollar bin. Something that even the least craft-inclined can do.
12 ideas for the non crafty mom
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.
When I need simple ideas, I turn to these 12 crafty ideas even I can do:
Color on a cardboard box:
You know all those diaper boxes you get every month? Lay them flat inside out and have your child go to town with crayons.
Tape regular sheets of paper (larger ones if you have them) onto a table and supply your child with crayons. Print out a few alphabet printables to introduce letters and numbers to your toddlers.
Teach your child to dip cotton balls onto glue and adhere it to a piece of paper. Or introduce glue sticks by cutting up little squares of paper so your child can glue them onto a sheet. Glue just about anything, including buttons, yarn, and leaves.
Think painting is too messy? Place your toddler into her high chair, tape the paper onto the tray and squeeze the paint onto the paper. For extra protection, cloak your child in long-sleeve bibs (I love these from Ikea). Or remove your child’s shirt (in either case, make sure the paint is washable).
Paint an egg carton:
Next time you’re left with an empty egg carton, hand it to your child to paint or find something creative to do with it. My five-year-old turned his into a palette of paint where he squeezed a different color in each cup.
Pipe cleaners and colander:
Grab your metal colander and pipe cleaners. Then have your child poke one end of the pipe cleaners in one hole and the other end into another hole. Here’s an example.
Buy yourself a large assortment of play dough. My kids have used play dough in all sorts of ways. Pinching off little bits, rolling them into logs, mixing colors together, making imprints and shaping them into balls to bounce on the floor.
Have you seen washi adhesive tape? Who knew tape would provide endless fun. But my five-year-old prefers good ol’ painters tape. (I do too, since they stick better but aren’t stuck on the walls.)
Kids will love applying rubber stamps onto ink pads and making all sorts of decoration.
Squirt white shaving cream into a bowl, add food coloring and show your child how to mix and paint!
We love sitting outside our front steps and drawing shapes and colors all over the sidewalk.
Get a few sheets with stickers to place on paper, decorate cards or make a picture. Stickers will also help with your child’s pincer grab.
Take a look at this video with even more ideas:
Why simple is good
Because here’s what I’m learning about crafts and kids: It doesn’t take much to keep them entertained and happy.
The pictures of crafty things parents did look great because the parents enjoy them as much as the kids. They have a knack for it and enjoy creating crafty ideas and activities for their kids. They’re as opposite from the non crafty mom that I am.
That you don’t do the same doesn’t mean your kids are at a disadvantage. Detailed crafts are equally for the parents’ enjoyment as that for the kids.
Another thing: Don’t feel pressured to pack your day with activities galore. In fact, pick one activity per day. This isn’t a bucket list or a schedule to adhere to, but ideas for the times you’re out of them.
Don’t direct your child’s crafts too much or hijack their crafts. It doesn’t have to look exactly like how the blog or website showed you how to make them. Child-directed, open-ended play will help nurture your child’s creativity much more.
And last, work with what you have. Supply your kids with basic materials and let them go at it. You’ll be surprised at how many household items can stand for kids’ activities. Some even say the true test of imagination is when a child can take a “non-toy” and use it for entertainment.
Because anything can be fun for kids. Have a stick? You just found the number one toy in the National Toy Hall of Fame. Plastic baskets for strawberries can be turned into cars. An old shoelace transforms into a rope for a pulley.
I keep basic supplies in our home for impromptu craft ideas.
These are the non crafty mom supplies you should have:
Scrap paper (or construction paper)
Doing fun crafts with your kids doesn’t have to be frustrating or need a creative knack. Just some basic materials, a supportive parent and plenty of imagination.
Do you struggle with finding time after work to play with your kids? Join my newsletter and get my play ideas calendar, perfect for the early evening hours! The first sheet includes ideas for the weekdays, while the second is a blank template to fill with your own ideas. Download it below—at no cost to you:
Get more tips on motherhood:
- 7 Reasons You’re Doing Fine as a Mom
- 4 Easy Ideas to Nurture Your Child’s Creativity
- How to Find Time to Do Kids Activities
- 30 Creative Learning Activities for 2 Year Olds
- 20 Easy Activities for Three Year Olds You Can Do Any Day
Your turn: What simple crafts do you enjoy most with your kids as a non crafty mom? Do you like doing crafts with your kids? Let me know in the comments!
Get your FREE tips and worksheets!
Want to help your child recognize letters and numbers? Get FREE worksheets and tips to introduce the alphabet, plus tips on helping kids learn!