Family crafts

Schools are closed and your little ones are home. Maybe you need an activity to keep them busy while you work from home, or you’re looking for a positive distraction to keep the whole family’s spirits up during uncertain times.

Here are three ideas for crafts you can make from items you likely already have on hand with the kids — or adults —in your family.

Gratitude word cloud

Mental health experts say that making a list of things you’re grateful for can reduce anxiety and give us perspective when the world seems scary or out of our control. Keep your child positive by having them decorate a sheet of paper by writing things they are grateful for in different colors. Whether it’s the family pet, Grandma’s mac and cheese or their favorite stuffed animal, having a visual reminder of good things can help children remain calm and positive. Put it on the fridge or display it in their room so happy thoughts are never too far away.

This exercise is useful for people of all ages. Try it for yourself as your child works on their own list.

Toilet paper roll critters

Since the entire country seemed to be stocking up on toilet paper these last few weeks, it’s likely you’ll have a few of those cardboard tubes at your disposal. Take advantage of the impending spring season and have your child decorate them as warm-weather critters, from the sparrows soon to be chirping in your backyard to the bumblebees buzzing about. Construction paper, markers, a glue stick and googly eyes bring these characters to life with minimal supplies.

For a more advanced version, have a child decorate three tubes as a caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly, and use the craft as an opportunity for a science lesson about one of nature’s most magical transformations.

Play dough recipe

You’re stuck in the house, and you reach for your kids’ store-bought play dough — only to find it’s as hard as a golf ball.

Homemade play dough

Despite not having cream or tartar or food coloring, LNP | LancasterOnline's Jenelle Janci's homemade play dough turned out just fine. Recipe by DIYNatural.com.

Fear not: your pantry likely has everything you need to make your own version of this classic childhood pastime at home. Here’s a recipe from DIYNatural.com that I tried at home. I didn’t have cream of tartar on hand and it still came out just fine. It’ll seem too sticky at first, but keep working with it until all the flour is incorporated. The finished result will resemble pizza dough if no color is added.

HOMEMADE PLAY DOUGH

Recipe by DIYNatural.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tbsp. cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 5 drops food coloring

Directions:

  • Mix together dry ingredients.
  • Combine warm water with food coloring, if using.
  • Slowly combine, finishing by kneading by hand until flour is absorbed. Add more flour if dough is too sticky.
  • Repeat for additional colors.

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