With the arrival of November comes chilly weather, falling leaves, and preparing for the upcoming holidays. One of my favorite aspects of Thanksgiving is the chance to spend quality time with family, which is the greatest gift of all. However busy we may be throughout the rest of the year, these few weeks before the holiday craze commences is our opportunity to slow down and appreciate the little things that mean the most. In the spirit of making memories together, I’d like to share family-friendly crafts that I am planning to do with my kids this month.
When time allows, I am always interested to learn new techniques for making different forms of art. When my kids reached the age where they were interested in joining me in the studio, it was heartwarming to share these special milestones with them. Finding engaging and age-appropriate projects to work on with kids can be tough sometimes, but here are three craft ideas that will hopefully encourage your little ones to embrace their creativity.
Holiday wreaths have a long history that go as far back as ancient Egypt. Although wreaths do not need to be in any specific shape, when created in the shape of a circle it can represent unity and the circle of life. Wreaths can be hung on your front door, placed on a table as decoration, or even worn as a headpiece. The best part is, they don’t need to be specific to any holiday or time of the year and they can be made from almost anything!
For our project, we picked up different colored silk flowers and a few wreaths made from sticks at our local craft store. Depending on the budget you’d like to set for your supplies, you could even find different plants, flowers, or pinecones from your backyard. You can also use dried flowers as well.
Here is a list of items that we needed to get started:
An assortment of silk or plastic flowers
Hot glue gun
If you are working with fake flowers that need to be taken apart, keep in mind that you will want to leave enough of the stem to tuck into the vines of the wreath. Once the flowers and supplies are ready, you can arrange them in any way that you like. I suggest placing the flowers in the same direction, but you can have fun with it by moving them around until you’re satisfied with how it looks. If you need to, you can use the hot glue gun to place down any uncooperative leaves. You can also glue or use floral wire to adhere any pinecones or additional elements that can’t be tucked into the grapevines.
Part of making crafts with kids is to encourage them to feel accomplished by what they’ve made. There is so much joy in showing them how to make something and then watching as they figure out what it is that they want to create. By working with clay, you are giving them the freedom to make original works of art that is straight from their vibrant imaginations. It has also been shown to be beneficial for their self-esteem, improve motor skills and help with hand-eye coordination. To read more about the benefits of children learning how to make pottery, click here.
Over the summer I wanted to do a pottery project with my twins, but unfortunately the local pottery studios were still closed due to the pandemic. Luckily, I found this company, Sculpd, which makes pottery kits that uses a specific type of clay that does not need to be fired in a kiln or baked in an oven. I was so happy with how these projects turned out, especially since the pieces they made were dry after 48 hours and ready to be painted.
I purchased two of these Sculpd Pottery Starter Bundles that included everything we needed for a fun-filled afternoon of making pottery. The only additional task was to cover the table with old newspapers. You could also use any other type of table covering that you don’t mind making a mess on.
Each of the Sculpd kits included:
2 packs of premium Air-Dry Clay: this was enough for two kids to make two pieces each
Step-by-step beginners’ pottery guide
Pottery carving, shaping, and cutting tools: it also comes with a handy tool bag for storage
White waterproof acrylic paint
8 colored acrylic paints: we purchased the pastel and classic kits to have all the colors to choose from
2 paint brushes
Sponge for smoothing
It is to be mentioned that this type of clay is not food safe, therefore it is not recommended to be used to make mugs or bowls for eating out of. However, we used this clay kit to make figurines and vases for flowers. Because of this simple process, we were able to get two days of arts and crafts out of these kits: one day to sculpt and one day to paint.
My father was an incredible artist and I feel it is important to pass on his legacy and passion for painting to my children. With art, there are no rules. However, while making art with children my only rule is to make sure that wherever they are painting it is in a safe space that is easy to clean up. Luckily, we have an area on our property where they can paint freely and hopefully become inspired by the nature that surrounds us. The beauty of teaching your children to paint is to see where their imagination takes them when given a blank piece of paper. It is amazing how creative they can be when given the chance to express themselves.
You don’t need an art studio to make space for painting. You also don’t need any formal training or agenda in mind either. Painting should be a stress relieving activity, so creating a calm environment can be helpful to set the mood. There are many benefits to sharing the experience of painting with your children, especially since there are already so many distractions that surround us daily. By sharing this activity together, it can be something that is both focused yet relaxing for you and your kids to enjoy.
A few items I would recommend having on hand for an afternoon of painting would be:
Tempera paint set: these paints are washable from hands and most fabrics in case of spills. It also is the safest option for kids of all ages to use
Canvas: these vary greatly, but I enjoy using the basic Linen stretched canvas that come in a variety of sizes
Easel: this is optional since they can be expensive, and often quite bulky. They can be beneficial for posture and can minimize the risk of spilling any nearby paint or water cups on the canvas
Cup of water to clean brushes
Plenty of paper towels or rags
There are tons of additional art supplies that could be beneficial if your kids seem to really enjoy painting, but the basics are all you really need to get started. I do suggest sticking to kid-friendly paint supplies to avoid using anything potentially toxic.