Crafty Creations: 5 DIY Projects to Spark Your Kids’ Creativity

Unleash your child’s creativity with these 5 simple DIY craft projects. From homemade slime to recycled art, ignite their imagination and beat the cries of boredom!

Our list starts with messy and progresses to clean house friendly fun.

1. Slime

Get started with some gooey fun using this fluffy slime recipe from The Best Ideas for Kids.

2. Marbled paper

    In our Very Arty Day workshops we change our activities each holiday to cater for our regulars.  This activity has been such a hit over the year that we always squeeze it in on one of the holiday programs.

    Over the years we have done this activity in a number of different workshops including our Science workshops as it works on the scientific principle of floating ink on a surface. 

    It is super easy to do at home and chances are you have everything you need in your house. 

    What you will need

    • Shaving cream
    • Old credit card or spatula to spread shaving cream.
    • Small shallow tray like a glass baking tray – ideally no more than 15 – 20 cms.  If you don’t have one that small, just don’t spread the shaving cream as much.
    • At least three different food colourings
    • Skewer
    • At least five pieces of paper cut to the size of the baking tray. Copy paper works well. 
    • A clean protected surface that is covered.  Baking paper works well. 
    • A container to scrape excess shaving cream. 

    What to do. 

    1. Cover the bottom of your shallow baking tray with shaving cream. Use your credit card to spread the cream evenly. Aim for about 1cm of shaving cream evenly spread. 
    2. Drop drops of all the colours of food colouring over the shaving cream. There can be space between the drops.
    3. Hold a skewer upright and gently drag it from top to bottom and left to right. This will spread the shaving cream to form patterns. Do this slowly and if you child starts to lean the skewer like a pencil, remind them to hold it up and down.
    4. Place a piece of paper over the surface of the shaving cream.  Gently press the paper onto the ink.  Lift one corner of the paper and gently take it off.  Place the paper onto your clean surface with the shaving cream side face up. 
    5. Use your credit card or spatula to scrape off the shaving cream. Put the shaving cream in the container. 
    6. Marvel at the patterns. 
    7. Try again to print another from the surface. You will need to use the skewer to create the marbled effect.  You can put more food colouring
    8. When your child has done a number of prints, they can see what happens when they mix up all the colours. They could try painting with shaving cream paint. 

    To see a video of the process visit:

    3. Printing leaves

    Over the years we have introduced and led a lot of children through the magical process of printing. I love how the awe and wonder that comes over children as they process that the leaf is being printed in reverse… #mindblown!

    What I love about this process is we often get to take kids on a leaf stalk going for a short walk in the gardens where we hold our workshops.  They gather a few different leaves and usually other things go in their pockets as well.

    What you will need

    • Leaves and other natural objects to print
    • Acrylic paint or poster paint for kids.
    • Old credit card or cut a rectangle from a plastic milk carton or a piece of carboard. 
    • Something to spread paint on – e.g. glass board or large plate. 
    • Dabber – try one of the triangle makeup sponges available in a pack at Kmart or cut a sponge up to a small piece about 2x2cms. 
    • Newspaper or something to protect the surface.
    • Paper to print on

    What to do

    1. Prepare your paint – Put a pea size amount of paint on your surface and use the side of your old credit card to spread the paint so it is a thin smear not globs of paint. 
    2. Dab or sponge the paint -Use your dabber to dab the paint on the widest edge of sponge. You are aiming for a nice thin amount of paint on the surface, not globs of paint.   Make sure you go over the edges of the leaf. This will make sure you cover the whole leaf but also has the added benefit of creating an outline of the leaf because the leaf is acting as a stencil.   
    3. Place your leaf on a piece of paper – Place the leaf paint side down on a clean sheet of paper.  Cover the leaf with another sheet of clean scrap paper and gently press over the entire leaf with your fingers.  You can rub your fingers over the leaf as well being careful not to move the leaf. 
    4. Take the paper off and pick up one edge of the leaf to remove it. If there is not too much detail, chances are you used too much ink. You should be able to take another print off the leaf by repeating steps   If the print is patchy, that means you need to cover the whole leaf. Depending on the type of leaf you are using, you should be able to make a number of different prints with the one leaf. 

    We love this activity because it is a process of trial and error and a great lesson in perseverance and wonder.

    4. Pom Poms

      This is another activity that kids always enjoy. It reminds me of my childhood. I think I learnt to make my first pom pom at Brownies. Once kids get the hang of it, it is quite a mindful activity. Kids love choosing colours and different textures of wool.  We get a lot of our wool from donations but often top up by regular visits to op shops. 

      We use a pom pom template but I love this idea from The Artful Parent here.  

      5. Invitations to Play – Pipecleaners

      At Strength Heroes we incorporate a lot of Reggio Emilia principle of an Invitation to Play which are where you put out some things for your child to play with. This differs from the traditional approach where we organise everything we need for an activity and then instruct a child to do step by step.  The elements of invitations to play is that it is open ended and usually a sensory stimulating.

      In our kids art classes we have elements of invitations to play.  For example, in our Mandala Making workshops we often start by getting children to choose from a table of different objects to create a mandala.  Children choose what they use around some guidance. 

      This child led play is great in so many ways. It sparks creativity, curiosity and problem solving to name a few things.   It’s alright if the child says “ I am not sure” answer with something like “I can’t wait to see what you come up with” or give one idea and see how they go.

      I have often found that I usually have a predetermined idea of how the kids will create and often are blown away by what they come up with.  Don’t be surprised if children think of other things they can use. 

      Then there are some times when we will give children free reign and let them choose what they want to make with the materials.  We love pipe cleaners because they are so versatile. In our school workshops students use them to create cup sculptures. 

      For a simple invitation to play, you could have the following items.

      • Variety of pipe cleaners
      • Bead, buttons, anything with a hole.  Recycle tip:  Cut up a UHT pack into small circles or shapes and poke a hole for a recycled flat bead. 
      • If you don’t mind the mess, add in the slime from above. 

      We use them in our Present Making, Art of Gratitude workshops to make mini Christmas trees.

      I also love to spark kids creativity by offering pipe cleaners and beads to children and seeing what they come up with. For some ideas check out these 50 easy pipe cleaner crafts here.