Makeovers & Motherhood has teamed up with some friends to bring you 6 weeks of Top 10 Holiday Lists to help you pick the perfect gifts! I hope you will find this useful as you work through your shopping lists and that it gives you a fun new way to spend quality time together!
Please join us as we share with you are favorite books, games, building toys, pretend play toys, crafting supplies or kits, and stocking stuffers (without food)! Each participating blog will create their own list each week for each of the categories so be sure to see what everyone has to offer (the list is at the end of this post!) Happy Holidays!
makeovers & motherhood top 10 craft supplies for preschoolers
This week’s Top 10 Tuesday craft supply topic was a challenge for me. What could I tell you that wouldn’t already know or already have?
Last weekend I met with some local blogging girlfriends and we were sharing our personal challenges on kid activities and crafting with kids. One mom shared that she has sensory dislikes so making slime for her child was quite a feat. Another blogging buddy just admitted yesterday that her kid-friendly craft failed twice. As for me, I am a neat freak who doesn’t care for messy crafts and… if I can easily talk myself out of doing projects because of the effort/planning they take. However, crafting with your kids is vital to their learning and development! The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what the craft or project is, it just matters that you take time to do it with your kids. It is quality bonding time that even despite the mess or the slime is absolutely worth the time!
So below are some of our favorite crafting supplies. Hopefully they will give you some ideas to stock your craft corner and help you and your kiddos get creating!
Paints & painting supplies
I have to admit that I am one of “those moms” who is not into messy play or messy art/craft projects. And honestly, I had never done any painting activities with my boys until my oldest started attending a preschool/daycare one day a week at age 2 ½. He absolutely lit up when he showed me his newest painted masterpiece. And his teachers confirmed that he always chose painting as his free play activity.
So I decided to go for it… we painted wood letters for my middle child’s birthday. We painted and used an excess of glitter (also messy) to make beautiful Easter decorations. Then, once again the paint supplies were reshelved. Even sadder is the fact that it didn’t resurface for another year and a half!
Finally I just decided to go for it and I’ll tell you my boys are the happiest crafters when they have a paintbrush in hand! Sometimes I am adamant about painting smocks and other days, my only rule is that sleeves have to be pushed up. I am very slowly learning to overcome my fear of messes because of the joy it brings my boys. In fact, as I’m sitting at my kitchen island writing this, there are 3 bottle of paint sitting in front of me from our last painting project!
So moms, regardless of what age your kids are… let your little Picassos have at it! You will all be happier for it!
- Washable or watercolor paints (or for more color variety, go for craft paints)
- Paint smocks or an old ‘paint shirt’
- Paint brushes – Start with large handled brushes for younger children. However, as their grasp and motor skills increase you can try them out with different sized brushes and handles.
- Paint tray
- Paper towels and/or wet wipes
- Plastic table covering
- Paper thick enough to withstand paint (regular paper will often tear with watercolors because of the water saturation)
Cutting tools, mostly for moms, will be a HUGE blessing for crafting with kids! It makes cutting so much simpler… especially when making multiples of a craft or when crafting with small children who aren’t scissor ready yet.
- Paper cutter. I can’t tell you how much use I get from this simple tool! I have an arm paper cutter. It takes up more room than a razor blade cutter, however, the edges are smooth and it is quick! From small strips of paper to cutting paper plates in half, this guy is a huge time saver for me! (Side note: I really love it for cutting milestone, school and family pictures to size. With 3 kids and lots of family, it makes this task so fast & simple!)
- Paper punches. Check out the scrapbook section of your local craft store for some awesome options in punches! The boys especially like the larger punches that they can operate (with some help). I am so glad I purchased both a ½” and a 1” circle punch! We use them for alien eyes, dot crafts, and shape-learning activities. I have my eye on the snowflake punches for those intricate details that would be a little too challenging for our stage of cutting & crafting. AND… for smaller shapes, there are punches that operate like a hole puncher, but produce shapes like stars and flowers! (For size reference, check out the small stars on the flag of our Handprint Flag Cards.)
- Cricut or other cutting machines. These can be really pricey, but so very useful! My mom has a Cricut and I’m always asking her to bring it over or I put through requests of the items I would like. How they work… choose your shape/design from the machine-specific cartridge, program the machine with the desired cut and size, feed your scrapbook paper through, and watch it cut for you! My mom cut all 50+ stars for our Veteran’s Day Craft and all 150 leaves for our Thankfulness Trees! Honestly, I am not sure I would have done these crafts without having pre-cut shapes. My Christmas wish list (from my mom) includes baggies of shapes (stars, hearts, leaves, shamrocks, etc.) for future crafts! These machines are wonderful! If it is not in your budget though, consider buddying up and sharing the cost of a machine with a fellow crafting friend. Or hire someone else to do your cutting. (Email me/leave a comment if you are interested. My mother is in the cutting business and will take requests.)
This is a pretty obvious supply for crafting. However, there are so many beautiful and fun paper choices available!
- Construction paper. If you are like me, you probably grew up with just a tablet of construction paper and plain white paper. I never felt like I was missing anything. You can’t go wrong with construction paper! It comes in all the basic colors and it’s durable. The downside to construction paper though is that it fades in the sunlight. So if you’re doing a project you want to keep for years, it won’t preserve very well.
- Scrapbooking paper. Okay, wow… all the options for scrapbooking paper can be overwhelming! Scrapbook paper is available for every season, holiday, celebration, color, and pattern you could hope for! Plus, it comes in both 8 ½” x 11” and in 12”x12” sizes which is great for some larger projects, has smooth or textured finish, doesn’t fade, and works well for painting.
- Butcher paper. Rolls of this thick brown paper can be so much fun! Use it as a long canvas, make banners with it, or make your own wrapping paper from it. The ideas are endless!
Stickers are a great easy way to let a child create on his/her own with little to no guidance! Use them to embellish a project you’ve been working on together or have a collection of them available for self-crafting.
Nothing livens up a project more than googly eyes and kids LOVE them! They add dimension. They add fun! It is a simple, but wonderful supply to have. From animal eyes, to snowman eyes, to monster eyes these work for all crafts! We even put them in our ‘I Spy jars’! No matter how you look at it… googly eyes are great!
Honestly, we don’t use a lot of string (you won’t see many string projects here). However, string has so many uses, it should have a place among your favorite crafting supplies. At this time of year, string can turn an ordinary craft into a Christmas ornament. It can be hair. It can make lines and shapes. You can thread it through macaroni noodles for necklaces and bracelets. I won’t string you along… this is a good choice for your crafting closet!
I have never been a fan of paper plates except for camping and… crafting! Yes! There are tons of great paper plate crafts! From making animal faces, masks, or fish bowl crafts, paper plates are now a staple in our crafting supplies.
Until recently, I was unaware of the benefits to scissor cutting. Scissor cutting (with proper scissor grasp):
- provides practice in using the tripod fingers (thumb, forefinger and middle finger) together. The tripod fingers are what work together in controlling a pencil. Developing the proper pencil grasp attributes to good handwriting.
- strengthens your child’s hand muscles
- helps to improve fine motor skills
So get a pair of child-size scissors (rounded tip) and let your kid get cutting! Have them freestyle cut or print out a practice cutting sheet! Your child will love it! BTW… here is are a couple fun Christmas Cutting Practice Sheets (printable) for your child to practice with.
Paper Lunch Bags
If you have been on Pinterest, I’m sure you’ve seen some fabulous paper lunch bag crafts. Connor came home at Thanksgiving with a brown paper bag turkey. It had feathers (strips of colored construction paper) glued on the back and of course, googly eyes! Or there are some great Advent calendars going around with these. Us the bags for puppets, to make birthday party gift bags, and more!
I know what you’re thinking… “glue, duh!” But adhesive preferences can be a sticky situation! Having a variety of adhesives can make crafting with kiddos much easier and should be considered for each craft. Check them out:
- Glue sticks – an essential supply for preschoolers. Handing a child a glue stick and watching them paste away gives them a sense of accomplishment. They’re a big kid now. They can glue on their own. And… its mostly mess-free!
- Elmer’s glue – this is pretty much just used by mommy. If we are doing an “organized” craft, are using string, are lining up items, or are gluing something small that just needs a dot of glue… Elmer’s glue is your friend.
- Scrapbook adhesive — ahhhh… my favorite. Its like stickers on a roller! It can be a little frustrating for little ones because of having to position the roller just right. However, on slick items, this can be a wonderful tool.
- Double-sided tape – once again, easy and mess free. The plus side to double-sided tape over scrapbook adhesive is price (much less costly) and easier to use since it’s a simple pull and tear.
Craft necessities to make crafting with preschoolers easier for mom:
If my craft supplies aren’t organized, I’m much less likely to craft with the boys. So I need all our supplies grouped in one area of the house where I can find them. Previously, I had all our craft supplies in a canvas bin on the shelf in Dylan’s closet. Not very accessible and not likely for me to plan projects for us. So I moved all our craft supplies to an area in the basement that I deem our “Crafting Corner” (although it’s just where we keep our supplies, not where we do our crafts at this point). Inside the cabinet are plastic boxes (big enough to hold an 8.5×11 paper) for the main holidays or seasons (Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s, Winter, Spring & Summer) where we can store printouts, coloring sheets, holiday stickers, etc. However, I needed somewhere to store all our small parts (googly eyes, glue sticks, pipe cleaners, buttons, scrapbook adhesive, etc.). I searched the craft stores, The Container Store, and Amazon where I found a great organizer. I was in LOVE… this is exactly what I wanted. Until I realized it didn’t hold an 8.5×11” sheet of paper. I wanted something I could tote anywhere whether it be upstairs to our kitchen island where we do our crafting or take it to grandma’s house or on vacation.
Then I found it, at a moving sale at all places. It was a Plano Fishing Tackle box! It was brand new (all stickers still on) for $10! Regularly they retail about $30+ and it held everything the other organizers did. Only this would hold our paper too! Awesome! This Plano Fishing Tackle box can be found at Meijer or on Amazon (probably Bass Pro Shops and maybe Walmart too)!
Whatever your organization preferences are… totes, organizer boxes, drawer dividers, etc… get your crafting supplies organized to make crafting with kiddos less stressful for you!
I mentioned that we have a “Crafting Corner” but that we don’t use it to craft at. The reason… I don’t have barstools for the boys to be able to sit at that counter. Plus, with just putting brand new carpet down there, I don’t want the boys painting over carpet. Thus, we still use our kitchen island for our crafting. The problem… our kitchen island can get crowded with food prep items, mail, etc. The more crowded our island is, the less likely we are going to do a craft. Sometimes the mess is inevitable, but I try to keep it cleared off for my sanity, usability, and because I know how much the boys love to do projects. The point here is to designate a craft space in your home. If you don’t have one… make one. Have a closet you’re not using? Use it for craft supplies. Have a corner in the playroom that doesn’t get utilized? Purchase or make a child size table to do crafts at. Designate a place to store & organize your supplies. Designate a place to do the crafting itself. Know that it’s going to get messy. Make sure you have enough room for everyone to craft. And supply your area with wipes, paper towels, or a sink. Plan your crafting time and space needed to make your craft more enjoyable and successful.
Here are more great craft supply lists and gift ideas…