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Creative Ideas for Creative Kids
Find Creative Ideas to Keep Your Creative Kids Learning and Having Fun!
If your kids are anything like my eight-year-old girl and six-year-old boy, they are always asking you for something to do. Maybe they want to do a craft, a science project, or read or write. Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with something that will engage them creatively but isn't a ton of work for me!
Parents today are busier than ever! The ideas I have included here are geared towards busy families. Many of the crafts and ideas can be found in your own home already. Others can be shipped right to your door or are available as subscriptions that come on a regular basis for your children to enjoy. I hope you enjoy this lens and find something fun and interactive for your creative kids!
Krickle Forest Adventures Personalized Mail for Kids
Subscription gets kids engaged with reading
My kids love getting their own mail. This is a fantastic way to get kids engaged with reading. The introductory subscription includes six letters personally addressed to your child, "Wizbet's Notebook", a 60 page book that includes five short stories with black and white illustrations that introduce kids to the characters and settings, and a map of the forest that kids can use to follow along with the stories. After the introductory subscription, kids can choose packets of letters from their favorite characters. A second book is also in the works that will come with six letters, one from each character.
Kids really feel like they get to know the characters and love receiving letters by "snail mail". The letters also get my kids writing their own letters! Some of the letters end with little cliffhangers, which has my kids making predictions about what will happen next and anxiously checking the mailbox for the next letter.
Kiwi Crate Craft & Science Kit Subscription
Kiwi Crate sparks creativity and curiosity for kids ages 3-7. Each month, your child will receive a crate filled with all the materials and inspiration needed for hands-on fun, like art projects and science experiments - delivered right to your door!
These kits are awesome! Well thought out craft and science projects that are super kid friendly.
Creative Kids Crafts and Books on Amazon - Products that keep kids engaged!
My eight year old girl and six year old boy have always loved crafts, science and reading. Below are some of their favorite craft kits and books (and the ones that I love because they are do-it-yourself for the kids, make little mess, or are things that I enjoy working with the kids on. These are all products that we have purchased!
My daughter loves making petal people! This kit comes with a good number of supplies. We have had to replenish the supplies (pick up wooden beads and floral wire at a craft store along with fake flower petals). The book is full of cute ideas. These are adorable for any girl who loves arts and crafts!
This is great for both boys and girls. My kids did need some help with making crisp folds, but the directions are easy to follow. This is another product that gets a lot of use at our house, I just have to watch out for flying airplanes!
This kit was fun for both my son and daughter. They made up a lot of their own projects. Gluing can get a little messy (and occasionally frustrating), but overall a great kit.
My daughter loves making these! You'll definitely need to buy some extra yarn, but the directions are clear and the book has a lot of great ideas for projects. Maybe not the best choice for a perfectionist as it's hard to make the animals look just like those in the book, but great for someone who likes to put their own creative spin on things!
My daughter loves these! No mess, easy for a children to do by themselves. This kit also lasts a long time! My daughter has made many beautiful flowers and still has many pages left. She decorated a bulletin board with these and uses them to cover the pins that hold up her pictures. Super cute, one of our favorites!
Science Kits for Creative Kids - Our favorite Science Kits for Children
My kids have always loved doing science experiments. Most of the time, we do science with things in our house (borax, glue and water to make silly putty, for example). There are lots of great resources and books with ideas for science projects that use items you already have at home and some kits that include everything you need. I haven't personally tried all of these, but if we don't own them, they are on my children's wish list! There are hundreds of great science kits for kids out there!
A great science toy for the creative kid who loves to build. Experiment with simple machines. Great for kids who love construction and math.
These are fantastic! A great, and safe, way for kids to learn about electricity and circuits.
I don't own this book, but it is on our wish list! Great ideas for science experiments that don't take much time and can be done with things that are already in your home.
Fun, but sometimes messy projects. Some of these "magic" science experiments can be done independently, but many require parent participation if you want to avoid a big mess!
A fantastic resource! Great way to discover science in nature and everywhere around us!
Poll: What Do You Do With Your Children's Artwork?
My kids create mountains of artwork and craft projects. Am I the only one who gets a bit overwhelmed by this? Let's here what you do about it!
What do you do with your children's artwork and craft projects?
The Art Store
We've got an entrepreneur on our hands!
I have to share one of my favorite personal stories with you here. When my kids were five and seven years old, my daughter (the seven year old) decided to open an art store in her bedroom. She laid out a variety of her drawings, paintings and even a sculpture or two, covering every inch of her floor.
Things were very reasonably priced at this art sale, ranging from a penny all the way up to three cents. My husband and I each made a few selections, then our son (five years old) went in with a pocket full of pennies and snatched up everything else. My daughter was elated that her sale was such a success!
A few minutes later, our son called down to us to announce that he was having an art sale of his own. We were all a bit surprised and went to his room to see what he was up to. Laid out neatly on his floor were all of the pieces that he had just purchased from his sister. A closer look showed each piece priced at ten cents!
My daughter was furious, but my husband and I were sort of proud of our little capitalist. We made a couple of purchases from him and then his sister attempted to reclaim the rest of the artwork. It made for an interesting lesson on the capitalist system for our kids!
Building Toys for Creative Kids - Legos, magnets and marbles oh my!
I love building toys as much as my children. My daughter prefers to stick with set patterns and follows the directions with every set of Legos. My son also does this, but also enjoys being creative and making fascinating structures out of his building toys. Here are some of our favorites. We own all of them and they get a lot of use!
These things are so cool! You wouldn't believe how many parents have come over and gotten sucked into building with these. They can attach in so many ways and are wonderful for making the designs according to patterns, or making unique creations. This has to be my favorite building toy ever.
We have had this set since our kids were one and three years old. At those ages, we did the building for them, but they would put the marbles in (obviously supervised so they weren't eating them) and watch for hours (literally), studying the paths that the marbles would take. Now they are old enough to construct the towers themselves, and the toy is just as popular as when they were younger.
It's hard to go wrong with a plain old wooden set of building blocks. My kids have played with these from the time they were babies old enough to sit up and stack. Now their structures are much more creative, often symmetrical and often set the stage for imaginative play with action figures.
Another one of our favorites. Magformers are great for kids of all ages. Young children love stacking the shapes together and learn about geometry in the process (just watch out for pinched fingers, the magnets are strong!). Older children like following directions to make the structures in the book, and also coming up with their own unique ideas.
For the Aspiring Author and Illustrator - Products that inspire creative writing in kids
My daughter has loved to write from a very young age. We love the stories she comes up with! My son also enjoys dictating stories to us and illustrating them. We really treasure their writing and stories. It gives a great glimpse into the different stages they go through during childhood. Here are a few products that may help inspire your little author or illustrator. Some of them I have, others I want to try!
I love these! Each set comes with three small hard cover books and a box to store them neatly. The covers and interior pages are completely blank, an open canvas for kids to write and draw. My daughter gets a set of these books every Christmas and I love seeing how her writing changes from year to year.
I don't have this kit, but my daughter has seen it many times and is always asking for it. It looks like it encourages room for text and illustrations and also comes with some fun stickers and embellishments that kids love.
I have yet to try this, but I have seen copies of friends' books that have done this and they are very high quality.
During the summer, I gave each of my kids "story starters" each day to do some writing with. This book has lots of great writing prompts. I also use them with my younger son, and he dictates the stories to me or tries to write with invented spelling and pictures.
These are fantastic for kids of all ages! They really encourage young children and older children to come up with creative stories. Roll the dice and try to make up a story that uses all of the different pictures on the dice. My kids have gotten so much better at using descriptive language playing with these!
Great Toys for Future Musicians - Have a future Motzart?
I have to admit, musical talent has seemed to pass over my family. This doesn't mean that my kids don't like jamming and making noise though!
For the mini-musician, this kit includes everything they need to get some rhythm and get their groove on. Just be ready to cover your ears because if your kids are like mine, there will be a lot of drumming and shaking going on!
I love these. They make enough noise that kids can dance around and keep rhythm, but the noise isn't annoying to parents.
Another great starter kid for musical kids. I love Melissa & Doug and wooden toys in general. The quality of the instruments in this kit is really good.
We don't own this, but my family has been researching a keyboard to start our kids out on. Keyboards have become surprisingly affordable and this one gets great reviews.
Perfectionist or Not?
Does being creative bring your child to tears?
Perfectionists my kids are not, and most of the time, I'm pretty thankful for that. I was a perfectionist, and I think it really inhibited my creativity as a child. If my artwork didn't look exactly as I wanted it to, it was crumpled in a ball and tossed in the trash. If my sculpture didn't look just like the sample I was working from, the clay was smashed into a ball and I would stomp off in tears. Maybe I wasn't quite that bad, but I do remember being frustrated and avoiding craft projects if I didn't think I could do them perfectly.
Then my oldest came along, and I could see myself in her. As a young child, she needed to have everything lined up perfectly and would be horrified if she colored outside the lines. For me, personally, it was important to help her to learn that it is ok to make mistakes. It is wonderful to try new things without having to worry about being perfect. So, we made messes, lots of them. I let her see my shortcomings, pointed out my mistakes and let her see that I was still having fun and even learning from my mistakes.
Over time, my daughter became less of a perfectionist, and began exploring and having fun with fewer reservations than before. She still takes great pride in her work, and tries her best, but making mistakes or coloring outside the lines no longer throws her for a loop. I think it's important for kids to find that balance, and parents are the best role models for taking pride but also taking risks.
Family Games that Spark Creativity - Fun for the whole family (no really, these games are)!
If you can't stomach another game of Candyland or Monopoly, try out one of these games that let you and your child bring out your creative sides.
The Lego lovers version of Pictionary lets you build the clues for your teammates to guess. The recommended age is 7+, but many younger kids can play this game or team up with an older sibling or parent.
A dressed up version of charades that is actually pretty fun. If playing with younger kids, screen the clues to find age appropriate cards to avoid frustration.
Bring out the story teller in yourself and your child with these clever cards. I love how portable these are. These are wonderful to take on road trips or for a fun way to entertain kids in the doctor's office waiting room.
Toys to Encourage Imaginative Play in Boys and Girls
Our costume box is over flowing, and it is constantly dumped out. My kids love dressing up! Imaginative play certainly doesn't require toys. A tent made out of sheets usually provides just as much entertainment as a pricey toy. Below I've shared some of the toys that my kids play with over and over. These are things that they love to play act and make up stories, and the best part is, they seem to fight less with each other when playing with these things and using their imaginations.
My kids use this all the time. We have had it for over four years and have only changed the batteries once. It's great for playing store, for checking out at the restaurants they always make, and for learning about money. This is the best toy cash register we've found.
There are tons of great pretend kitchens out there, so find one that matches your style and is an appropriate size for your kids. My children love pretending to cook, and for making restaurants complete with writing their own menus (with some very interesting combos).
You can't go wrong with a firefighter costume. My children have spent hours responding to imaginary calls and saving stuffed animal cats that are stuck in trees. Melissa & Doug make a lot of great costumes!
Playing doctor and veterinarian is another one of those things that kids love to do. There are so many great doctors kits for kids, but I really like the scrubs that come with this one. Dressing the part always seems to make the game more fun!
Our Favorite Science Projects
Sometimes messy, always fun!
Doing science experiments has always been popular at our house. My kids love to make predictions, test hypotheses and testing them out. Some of our science gets a bit messy, but if you work on the floor with a plastic tablecloth, or better yet outside, the mess is usually worth the fun and learning.
Our favorite at home science experiments
Vinegar and baking soda The old standby that everyone knows about, but kids love every time. If your kids ask why it happens, you can explain a little about acids and bases and how they react. You can add some color for fun, or make a clay volcano. Below is one of our favorite variations on this experiment:
The bubbles formed by mixing vinegar and baking soda is actually another reaction in which carbon dioxide is escaping from the solution created by mixing the vinegar and baking soda. A fun way for kids to visualize this is to put a couple of teaspoons of vinegar into an empty plastic water bottle. Then, take a balloon (not blown up) and put a couple of teaspoons of baking soda into it. Cover the mouth of the bottle with the balloon and let the baking soda fall out of the balloon and mix with the vinegar in the bottle. Kids get so excited to see the balloon blow up!
You can also try testing other acids and bases to see what type of reaction you get. Try squeezing lemon juice into the baking soda!
Cabbage Juice Acid Base Indicator Young kids may not understand all of the science behind this, but it is so much fun. Chop up some red cabbage leaves and blend it with a bit of cup of water (you can also boil red cabbage leaves). Strain and keep the liquid which will be a lovely purple and pretty much PH neutral. Fill some small plastic cups about half full with the cabbage juice. Now, take a dropper and add some vinegar to one of your cups. Try lemon juice in another, soap in one, baking soda in one, maybe even your leftover coffee. If you are adding a base, your solution will turn blue. If you add an acid, you'll get pink. How acidic or basic what you add is will determine the color.
Now, try pouring one of your acidic mixtures in with one of your basic mixtures. What do you think will happen?
Growing Crystals If your kids like instant gratification, then this may not be for you as it can take a few days for the crystals to grow. This one definitely requires adult help since boiling water is involved. You'll need three mason jars, three pencils, three pieces of string and three chenille wires (pipe cleaners). You'll also need salt, sugar, borax (a laundry detergent that is wonderful for science experiments) and food coloring (optional).
Have the kids create a shape out of the chenille wire. Tie one end of the string onto the pencil and the other end onto the wire so that the pencil can be placed across the mouth of the jar, allowing the wire to dangle into the jar.
Boil two cups of water and add salt to make a super saturated solution (keep adding until it doesn't dissolve any more). Add food coloring if desired. Pour this carefully into one of your jars (an adult should definitely do this). Repeat for borax and sugar. Wait a few days and see what you get! Ask the kids to make predictions about what is going to happen. Write down observations of each solution and talk about how crystals are formed.
Home made Silly Putty! For this, you'll need water, white glue, Borax and food coloring (optional). The science behind this one involves a reaction that produces a polymer. It's a bit much to explain to young kids, but this experiment is too fun not to try! This one can get messy!
Pour a bottle of white glue into a bowl. Mix food coloring into the glue if desired. In another bowl, add some warm water (maybe a cup, I really don't measure much). Put a tablespoon or so of Borax into the water and stir. It may not all dissolve, but that is fine. Slowly pour the borax solution into the glue. Have a child stir the mixture and observe what is happening. You will probably only use a few tablespoons of the borax solution. Keep stirring until it becomes difficult. Now the fun part, get your hands in there and squeeze. This can get messy, but as the glue and borax solution get mixed together, you'll create a super stretchy and bouncy ball of putty! You can dip the ball into the left over borax solution to dry it up a bit more (it seems counter-intuitive, but trust me).
Kiwi Crate - Explore, Imagine, Create!
Creativity in Schools - Too much testing?
There is a lot of debate right now about cutting music and performing arts programs from schools. Kids these days seem to spend a lot of time preparing for standardized testing and not as much doing art, hands-on-science, and other activities to spark creativity. What do you think? Is there a healthy balance between strong academics and allowing creativity in our schools?
Is there room for creative and performing arts in today's schools?