8 Cheap and Easy Art Projects for Homeschooling, Rainy Days, & More
Build a Store Out of Cardboard
If you have spare cardboard laying around, kids can make shelves, a mock cash register, toys or food, and more. This idea can require a lot of materials to make a full-size model, so consider a small-scale model for stuffed animals instead. Use spare clay, pompoms, or other supplies left over from other crafts as desired to make "fruit" or other store goods.
Bonus: if you're doing a unit on currency in your homeschool math curriculum, incorporate the store into your activities! Have your child pretend to buy goods, then calculate the totals at the checkout.
Paint a Dream Treehouse
While a particularly adventurous child might idealize a fifty-foot-high treehouse with a slide down to the ground, other kids might prioritize more practical design ideas. Maybe an ideal treehouse has room for a sleepover, or maybe it's better as a study space. Start a conversation with your child about why they chose the features they did - you might even spark an interest in architecture!
Older kids may prefer to draw this dream treehouse, since drawing can allow more precise designs than painting. Also consider having your child draw a rocket ship or space station instead, especially if he or she has recently learned about space exploration.
Draw a Personal Flag
This activity can be done with just markers or colored pencils, though an internet connection can help with flag ideas! Using a large piece of paper gives your child more room to work, and creates a work of art they can put on their bedroom door or other space. This activity is great when done as part of a unit on countries of the world or history, as it ties in well with conversations about how a country's culture, history and values affect its flag's symbolism.
Stuffed Animal or Doll Portraits
In the 21st century, nearly every home has some kind of digital camera around. Even if it's a low-quality smartphone camera, it can still be used by a young aspiring photographer! Encourage your child to get creative with their toy photography. Maybe a fashion show is in order, or maybe they just want to take a picture of their favorite teddy bear wearing glasses.
Build a Robot Friend
Don't you wish you had a pencil sharpener built into your arm, eyes that could take photos, or an iPod in your brain? Ask your child what kind of robot friend they would build. Maybe your child will focus more on personality traits, or maybe they'll worry more about superpowers and convenience gadgets!
Bonus points if your child can build a mock-up of the robot. This many mean your child will tape a pencil sharpener between two cardboard tubes to make a robot "arm" - but as long as the sharpener is still usable, it's fine, right?
Collage a Treasure Box
If you have spare coffee cans, margarine tubs, or small cardboard boxes laying around, put them to good use by turning them into personalized storage. While paint works great for this, older kids may prefer to use magazine, newspaper, or even internet images to collage a container.
If possible, use or a similar glue on cardboard, and Mod Podge on metal or plastic. (On metal or plastic, Mod Podge can be used as a sealant after the collage is complete.) Other glues may not hold up as well, though you can probably reinforce them with Mod Podge or another sealant after the fact. Aleene's Tacky Glue
Encourage your child to plan out their collage a bit, since slapping images on at random may cause them to run out of room. Bonus: older kids who are studying basic geometry can use the opportunity to calculate the surface area of a coffee can or margarine container and design their collage accordingly!
Create a Thank-You Card
These days, many children aren't encouraged to write personalized cards to thank others for gifts and favors. A handmade thank-you card for someone who regularly helps them or has done something for them recently will be very much appreciated. Consider teachers, clergy, tutors, babysitters, or older relatives. Your child will likely enjoy thinking about what colors or drawings will make the recipient happy.
Take Turns Drawing Together
This activity requires two people, but the bonding experience is well worth it. Each person takes a turn adding something to a drawing - but once they take their pencil off the paper, their turn is over! Decide on a subject, like a person or animal, ahead of time.
Younger children will probably enjoy adding silly things to the drawing, but older kids might take pride in trying to match their partner's skill and realism. If you have two children who get along well, this activity can result in a memorable piece of art to post on the fridge.