Craft time. It’s a fun part of the week where the kids get to be creative, or a nice way to pass the time on a rainy day when they can’t be outside. I’m always looking for ways to reduce the “mess” of craft time without having to cut back on what the kids want to do. They try to help out with the clean up, but that can sometimes end up messier than craft time itself!
1. Put paints in reusable soap bottles!
Before I found this tip, I would put every color of paint on a paper plate and let them be creative…the only problem is that if one of them was creating an ocean landscape, they would constantly ask for more blue paint! This method eliminates the need for mom to put more paint on their plate, and allows them to control how much or how little they need. You will still need to monitor this until they learn not to pump the paint out continuously.
2. Reuse old dried up markers to create watercolor paints!
By letting the markers soak in the water, you’ll be able to dip a paint brush into the solution and use the water just like watercolors. Soaking the markers won’t actually take too very long, but just be sure that you’re using non-toxic markers! This is an easy way to introduce them to a new form of art without having to buy watercolors! Easy!
3. Teach them how to use scissors with the “smiley face” method!
If your kids haven’t quite mastered the art of holding safety scissors, teach them to “keep the smiley facing you!” Draw on their fingernail with a washable marker and to put the smile through the scissors! This will keep them from trying to cut “up and down” and accidentally injuring themselves. Hopefully they will learn quickly!
4. Clean up those “masterpieces” from the wall with denatured alcohol.
If there are now stubborn “artworks” made with markers and crayons on your white walls, spot-text denatured alcohol and see if this method will work for you. In most cases, the artwork will wash right off with very little scrubbing! Be sure to follow this cleanup with a stern talk about drawing on the walls, and what your rules are for craft time!
5. Use a lint roller to pick up glitter!
Yes, a lint roller! Even after you’ve gotten most of it up off of the table, there are always those stragglers that just WON’T come off! That’s when I usually try to wipe the glitter up with wet-wipes, but those don’t always work, either. A lint roller is perfect for this job! It won’t pick up an entire pile, but you can use it to clean up any leftovers that don’t make it into the trash bin!
6. Use cling wrap on the surface of a table to make an easy cleanup!
Does your toddler insist that today is “painting day?” Keep your surfaces clean with cling wrap as a makeshift table cloth! This will work until you can teach them to be more careful with their supplies, and it makes everything so much easier to tidy up afterwards! I wish I had thought of this sooner.
7. Seal a piece of paper and finger paints in a gallon-sized baggie for good, clean fun!
Put a piece of paper inside of a gallon baggie and add different colors of paint inside. Seal the bag and tape it down to a hard, flat surface. The kids can paint with their fingers without needing a shower afterwards! It’s just good, clean, messy fun for all! Once their artwork is dry, you can hang it up on the fridge!
8. Put school glue on a damp sponge to keep it contained!
If your kids are still learning how much glue is too much glue, this is a great solution. In a container, place a damp sponge and add a good amount of school glue on top of it. The sponge will keep the glue moist, and the kids can add glue to their projects by dabbing their objects onto the sponge. When craft time is over, you can seal the container and re-use the glue again next time!
9. Save those masterpieces forever!
Take a picture! Over time, you may run out of room, their art may get destroyed, or even lost during a big move. Create a photo album for each child and be sure to add a date to each creation!
Did you know about these amazing craft time hacks?! I’ve learned a few today, and I will be using them at our next craft session! Goodbye, messy paint bottles! I can’t wait!
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