So, you’re sitting at home with your munchkins thinking. . . what can we do today? In most parts of the country it’s getting a bit chilly outside; and while outside play is always encouraged some days you just feel like staying warm or don’t want to spend more than an hour at the park. That’s okay! Trust me, we’ve all been there. So what are some things you can do with your tots that doesn’t take a whole lot of effort? I have this amazing activity that we do on our “lazy days.” It takes no preparations and no effort AND keeps the kiddos busy for as long as their imagination can stand. It’s called free art. Yup, that’s it. That’s my lazy day mom secret. Free Art.
Free art is when you give your children tools and supplies and let their creative sides take over. Personally, we have buckets for our art supplies, before that we had it all in plastic bags for easy storage, that’s fine. Whatever you and your family can afford is wonderful, there is no need to go out and get every fancy item you can find. For basic free art, I give my kids a few buckets of supplies and some paper and say ‘have fun!’ Will there be a mess? Probably. Will they have fun? Most definitely. Is the mess cleanable? Yes, yes it is. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
I hear moms say all they time – “I’m not creative enough to do art at home.” Hold up! Your creativity has nothing to do with it. The only people that need to be creative, are the ones doing the art (or craft. These words are used and interchanged frequently in my posts). All that’s required of you is to give them the tools and perhaps some guidance now and then.
We’ve done two free art sessions in my house in the last two weeks. The first was for some fun and to take up time, the second was for fall decorations. For the first free art session, I gave Tig and Bug a couple pieces of paper and two buckets of stickers; the stickers were a mixture of foam and regular stickers. One bucket was specifically Halloween themed stickers and the other buckets was Thanksgiving and Fall stickers. That’s it. That’s all I did. That’s all I gave them. And you know what? They had a blast!!
|Tig and Bug creating sticker collages.|
There are some advantages to this activity that the kids have no idea about and don’t need to know about, but are great mom wins!
- It’s an art project. They get their creative juices flowing.
- It takes fine motor skills to pick up the stickers, peel the stickers and place the stickers.
- It takes up time.
- The mess is easily cleanable (much easier than paint).
- They have options. They can create a story or a collage.
- You have bonding time, when they tell you about their artwork.
- This activity can be done with ANY age. Big is four and Tig is not yet two.
- Learning through play!! (See tips at the end of post)
|Bug’s masterpiece of art.|
|Tig’s masterpiece of art.|
The second time we did free art was today. We are starting to decorate our house for Thanksgiving and are lacking some decorations. Making decorations at home has two purposes. 1. We save money. 2. I would much rather hang something made by my children than any multi-billion store.
|The creative juices are flowing!!!|
So, for this free art project I gave them a goal. Make something to hang up for Thanksgiving. I gave them foam pieces, sequins, pom-pom balls, stickers and glue and let them have at it. The results were and hour of laughs and stories and two pieces of decoration I couldn’t be more proud of (pictured at end of post).
- We have a lot of craft supplies that have built of over the years here at home. It is not necessary to have everything listed here to have a great time with your children. Most of our supplies have been bought when they go on clearance. You can make free art with anything. Printer paper, puzzles that are missing pieces, ribbon, yarn, leaves from outside – anything you can think of.
- Be sure to ask your children open ended questions about their art!!!! This is how your bonding happens and how learning through play begins. Ask them – “Tell me about what your working on.” “Why did you put that there?” “What’s the story here?” “How did you do that?” Talk about the turkeys, pumpkins and acorns. Talk about Thanksgiving and fall. This is how they learn. They learn through experiencing and hands on activities. They learn through interacting with you. Talking about the leaves while doing a craft with them is a natural conversation that they will remember. It will shock you later with just how much they actually retained when you’re taking a walk with them a week later and they tell you why the trees are losing their leaves.