If you have toddlers and young children, you know how important it is to keep their little hands and minds busy. Sitting around a campsite isn’t going to do it, but sometimes it’s nice to not be out and about. Still, if we don’t give them something to do, they will find something to do. These fun crafts offer young minds a chance to be creative and to try something new and different, even at the campsite.
Check the kitchen cabinet, you may have all the supplies you need to make…
Homemade Play Dough, from Imagination Tree
Four minutes to give your kids hours of fun! This easy to follow recipe for homemade Play Dough uses ingredients you likely already have in the kitchen cabinet. You don’t need to the gel coloring or the glycerin; the kids will enjoy playing without all the colors (and there’s no worrying about colors getting mixed up). It’s more pliable and softer than store-bought Play Dough. Store the finished product in an air-tight container for up to six months. Provide small metal cookie cutters, rolling pins, stamps, straws, and a garlic press for tools.
- 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (baby oil and coconut oil work too)
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 1 to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)
- Gel food coloring (optional)
- Few drops glycerin (my secret ingredient for stretch and shine!)
- Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
- Add food coloring to the boiling water then into the dry ingredients
- Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
- Add the glycerin (optional)
- Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone. This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it’s the perfect consistency!
- If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right
Homemade apple bird feeder, from Natural Beach Living
Keep the kids busy and foster their sense of responsibility and kindness with this easy craft that helps to feed their feathered friends.
- 2 cups birdseed
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 Packets unflavored gelatin
- 4 apples
- 8 small screws
- Bring water to a boil, add gelatin, and stir until completely dissolved.
- Mix the birdseed into this mixture.
- Cut the apples in half lengthwise and hollow out the insides with a spoon or knife.
- Fill each apple with bird seed mixture, set on a sheet pan, and put in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until firm.
- Poke a screw into the top of each apple and tie a piece of twine to it.
- Hang outside for all the birds to enjoy!
Check the craft bin, you may have everything you need to make…
Homemade Doodle Paint, from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Doodle paint allows kids to be imaginative and creative. Purchase butcher paper and cover the whole picnic table for easy cleanup and inspiration from nature for the resulting artwork.
- White school glue
- Food coloring or liquid watercolors
- A stir stick
- Optional- Squeeze bottles
All you have to do to make this super fun paint is add a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolors into white school glue and mix. We used squeeze bottles because we buy our glue in bulk. It saves us money over time because of all the play recipes we create with glue, but you can buy three packs of school glue at the Dollar Tree. Why not buy two three-packs and make six paint colors ready to use in their own individual squeeze bottles?
Bubble Paint, from Living Well Mom
Kids love bubbles, but they are also easily bored with the same activity. Change things up by introducing a little paint. It’s easy and keeps the kids occupied. Use painter’s tape to make designs on paper and then let the bubble paint fall around it. The result is a beautiful design. Their canvases can make lovely wallpaper in the bedrooms. Just a word of caution: Toddlers may want to drink through the straws so watch them carefully or just give them bubble wands.
- Clear dishwashing soap (I like Dawn Pure Essentials)
- Light corn syrup
- Food coloring
- Plastic straws
- Plastic cups
- Measuring cup
- Large mixing bowl
- Container (with lid) for storing leftovers
- In your large mixing bowl, pour 6 cups of hot water.
- Add 2 cups of your clear dishwashing soap to the bowl of water and stir well.
- Add 3/4 cup of corn syrup to the soapy water and stir well. You will notice bubbles forming at this point.
- If you are planning on making multiple colors of bubbles, separate the mixture into small cups (like we did). If you are doing all one color you can place food coloring directly into the large bowl.
- Add 3-5 drops of food coloring and stir well.
- Using your straw, dip one end into the bubble mixture and have your child blow. It will then create your colored bubbles!
Coffee filter sunflowers, from The Imagination Tree
Let your little artist get creative and make a bouquet that will last forever. Again, because of the glitter, it might be best to do this outside on a day with little or no wind.
- 2 coffee filters/ absorbent paper circles per sunflower
- Gold/orange/yellow/brown sequins
- Golden glitter
- Scraps of yellow/orange tissue paper
- Watercolor paints (either in solid blocks or liquid)
- PVA/ white glue
- Paintbrushes and glue brushes
- Green cardstock
- Let them be as creative as they want!