Craft Projects with a Toddler

I’m really not sure who gets more enjoyment and satisfaction out of doing little craft projects, Babe or I. But I don’t think its such a bad thing if the balance tips over my way a bit more, surely its healthy for Babe to observe mama enjoying a wholesome activity for a change. Rather than watching my joy at going shopping or eating cake?

I thought I’d share with you a couple of our recent projects and activities. I might be a bit deluded if I thought we might inspire you, but we can live in hopes. By the chance that you do become inspired, please do let me know.

One of the great things about doing crafts and things with a toddler is that no matter how crappy the results turn out, its fine cause you can blame it on the child. Now if I told you I had made these on my own then you would just think, OMG she really shouldn’t give up her day job. For the record, I did not do these on my own, I could do a marginally better job without toddler sabotage or meddling.

Kiddy crafts suit me down to the ground, as expectations are low.

Salt Dough Mobile

I think there is still room for improvement with this, I just started to get a little bored and felt overcome my a sensetation of “oh it’ll do”. All ideas for improvements welcome, but I’m not going near the drill, and yes I can use it but have no vice to hold the wood. And it’s hardly a way to get a toddler involved. I don’t think she is quite ready for real power tools.

So this is what we did

1) Made salt dough using the instructions on the Make It & Mend It website here.

2) Used christmas star cookie cutters and a small storage pot to create the circles. Did some hearts too, but forgot to stab holes in those before letting it harden, so they will be used as token little gifts to go in birthday cards.

You can shove the salt dough cut outs in a low oven for four hours, but I couldn’t justify the electricity so I left them in the airing cupboard for 3/4 days which worked a treat.

3) Cut a length of wood
I only had a garden cane in the garage so I hacked about a third off the end of a short cane, no animals or children were hurt in the process you’ll be glad to know. I wanted to put holes through the cane but realised this would only work using the drill…and I’ve already explained the problem there.

4) Tie coloured cord around salt dough shapes and tie onto wood. You could use ribbon, but I found this coloured cord stuff in our local sewing shop which I think looks a tiny bit better. For this one we used three different colours of 1 metre length.

Finally tie some string (but if you had more cord I think that would be better), at each end of the wooden strip so you can hang the mobile.

Monster

He’s an ugly bugly but I hope kinda cute in a scrubby sort of way. He evolved over the course of about three weeks combining sticking, painting and paper mache.

So this is what we did

1) Get a smallish box (Oats So Simple 10 Sachet box used here) and cut up two egg boxes to create each leg/foot and glue on. For the nose/mouth glue onto one end a yogurt pot. For the tail base use a small toilet roll inner and stick on making flaps from some of the end of the tube. For spikes use the other separator bits of the egg boxes and glue on top.

Use the other egg box bits to make the eyes and eye lids.

At this point everything is very fragile…so some paper mache is in order.

2) Paper mache
This is basic paper mache, I’m not talking about making paper mache pulp for sculpting with. Tear paper up and just stick it on with some PVA glue. Messy and lots of fun…this is surprisingly therapeutic when a toddler is not smearing glue all over the tabletop and attempting to eat the paper.

Newspaper is ordinarily recommended, but I didn’t have any so used a local kids centre newsletter instead. Paper was a bit too good quality which made tearing hard work but I liked the orange colour so it was worth it.

Once you’ve left it to dry out for about a day you can crack on with the decorating.

3) Monster body art
We only had finger paints and a pastry brush but that sufficed I think. Once this was dry we stuck on purple hearts for the body, dried pasta on the spines, buttons in the eye sockets, stars on the eye lids and feathers for the ears.

Finally we stuck strips of wool onto the toilet roll tube tail.

And that was that…onto the next project – ideas please.

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