What many single moms and dads find very useful in terms of keeping their children busy as well as bonding with them is having arts and crafts for single parents and kids sessions. These sessions can be used as a way for everyone to have fun as well as a way for you and your child to connect. The trick is to think of things that are original. The stranger the art or craft activity that you propose, the more interested your child is likely to be in cooperating with the endeavor.
If your kids are old enough to handle the skill level required origami is a great way to keep them entertained. It is also a fantastic single parents and kids arts and crafts activity that you and they can do together. There is a lot of interaction as you help your child through the task and perhaps even have competitions to see who can make the best origami figure.
There are some very easy origami shape ideas for you and your child to try together.
If you just want to give your child a quick taste of what origami is about, try making a cat with them following these instructions:
- Take a square piece of paper. The size doesn’t really matter, but for accuracy sake it should be about 5.9 inches by 5.9 inches.
- Fold it in half so that it looks like a triangle. Find the center point by folding it along the other diagonal axis as well, but only fold at the center point.
- Hold the square in a diamond shape and fold the top tip down so that it meets the center crease.
- Then fold the entire top half over on along the line that you made in the second step.
- You now have what looks like a triangle with the point facing down. Take the top left tip and fold it over to meet the bottom tip. Do the same with the top right tip so that it looks like a square/diamond again.
- Now take the upper layer of the two tips that are pointing down and fold them upwards to create the ears.
- Fold the top tip downwards and then turn the entire thing around so that you can see the back.
- Now fold the bottom tip up and make a nose.
These are the instructions for the cat’s head only. Go to this site for instructions with a picture guide and for instructions on how to make the cat’s body and many other shapes as well.
Make Your Own Dinosaur Fossils
Most kids love the idea of dinosaurs. If they’re old enough to understand what a “fossil” is you can spend ages of your time making dinosaur fossils with them in the comfort of your own home. This is something that they probably won’t have done at school, so it will seem new, cool, and exciting to them. This website has some easy to follow step by step instructions to guide you and your children through the process of creating your own dinosaur fossils.
There are some basic ingredients that you will need to get your hands on. The first, and probably the most important, is the salt dough clay which we will explain how to make in just a few moments. The other ingredients include a tin can or large glass, parchment paper or foil, a cookie sheet, an oven, a number of small plastic dinosaurs (if you don’t have any in the house already you can buy some cheap plastic ones at the nearest toy store for very affordable prices), plastic ferns or trees (again, go to the toy store if you don’t have any), some acrylic craft paint, a paper towel, Mod Podge (an acid-free brand of glue produced by Plaid), and last but not least a paintbrush.
To create the all-important salt dough you need to mix the following together:
- 4 cups of flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 1-2 cups of water (depends on humidity)
In total this will allow you to make about 8 fossil casts. This does depend, of course, on the size of your dinosaurs. Mix up the dough. You want it to be soft enough to make clear imprints in. Roll the dough out so it is about 1 inch thick. Cut circles and press your dinosaurs and plastic foliage into the circles to create imprints. Bake the imprints in the oven for about 2 hours at 320 degrees so that they are hard. Wait for it to cool and then paint them with some watered down acrylic paint so that they look antiquated. Wipe it down with the paper towel and then add a layer of Mod Podge so that it is shiny and sealed.
Customized Wax Crayons
This single parents and kids arts and crafts activity is generally for slightly older kids as it involves hot wax. However as long as you supervise the situation carefully you can do it with younger children as well.
The key ingredient is wax crayons which can either be:
- Old, used, and broken ones from around the home
- Brand new ones from the store
Remember that you are not “wasting” the crayons as they will still be usable for the primary purpose of coloring once you are done (as well as for decorative purposes and gift ideas). Also note that this is a task that takes a bit of time so make sure that your kids are in the right frame of mind for it when you begin (although there is a microwave method found at this website which is a lot quicker). The procedure is as follows:
- Get your hands on a number of wax crayons as well as some molds. You can use ice-cube trays or you can get some candy molds, which tend to be a lot more fun because there are more different shapes to choose from.
- Separate the crayons you have into color piles. Remember that crayons mixed together will become one color, so keep that in mind. Also make sure to add some white crayons to keep it getting too muddy.
- Unwrap the crayons. This can take a while, so using a knife may be easier.
- Now it comes time to melt the crayons. For this you can use some empty food cans. Put each color pile into a separate can and leave them in the oven to melt, remembering to stir as you watch. It should take around 10 minutes for them to melt completely.
- Pour into the mold. The wax will swirl if you use more than one color before melting, which can look good. You can also create color layers by allowing it to cool before adding another layer.
Note: Crayon wax is difficult to wash out so cover yourself, your children, and your work surface well.
Make Your Own Play-Doh
The great thing about this activity is that it is fun to actually make the play-doh with your kids and, in addition, they can have hours of fun with it after the play-doh has been made. There are many different recipes for this online, and all of them are easy. Here are three of the most common play-doh recipes (taken from this website):
- 3 cups flour
- 1.5 cups salt
- 6 tsp. cream of tarter
- 3 tbsp. oil
- 3 cups water
Pour all ingredients into a large pot. Stir constantly over medium heat until a dough ball forms by pulling away from the sides. Knead dough until the texture matches play dough (1-2 minutes). Store the play-doh in a plastic container. It should last for at least 3 months.
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 3/4 cup water
Have your child mix the baking soda and corn starch in a pot. Use hands to make sure all the lumps are broken up. Add water. The adult should put the pan on the stove over medium heat and stir constantly. As soon as the mixture gathers together, remove from the heat. When it cools, have your child knead it into a smooth dough. Don’t overcook this dough or it will crumble.
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup water
Have your child mix the flour and salt in a bowl then add water. Knead and squeeze the dough to make a clay consistency. You may need to add more water. Note: This dough doesn’t last as long as the cooked recipes.
There are some things to keep in mind: you can add color to the play-doh, but make sure that the coloring you use is flavorless to avoid the temptation on the part of your child to eat the play-doh. Depending on the age of your child, they will probably try to eat it anyway, so avoid using anything that could be considered toxic or harmful to a young child.
Another great way to pass the time and to get your kids outside is to do some sidewalk art. Of course this is an activity that will require your supervision and rules need to be carefully set regarding when it is ok to draw on the ground and when it isn’t. If you can get all that right, then this can be a great bonding experience for single parents and their kids.
This is a great neighborhood activity and, as long as your neighbors are ok with it, you can teach your kids how to spice up neighborhood life. To do this you will need colored chalk (remember chalk washes out easily, so no permanent ‘damage’ will be caused), a safe sidewalk or driveway, and a paper towel. It is suggested that you also ask permission from whoever it affects if you can draw on the sidewalk.
The activity will be more enjoyable and take up more time if you teach your kids to be creative about it. Get them to draw pictures that are not limited to squares. They could trace each other’s shadows and then color them in or trace the outline of a tree on the pavement. The paper towel that you have can be used of blurring the colors into each other so that the picture looks more realistic.
Note: you have to set boundaries about a number of things:
- The area that your child or children is allowed to use as his, her, or their canvas. Make them understand that they can’t draw just anywhere.
- Set boundaries about what they can draw. Only bring this up if you they draw something that could be frowned on by others (although this will not happen in 99% of cases). Tell them to draw things that they think everyone in the area would like to see.
- Last but perhaps most importantly you need to set boundaries regarding when chalk can be used and where. For example the kitchen floor is not a place where their flair for sidewalk art can be practiced. With these boundaries in place you and your children will have a great time.
These are obviously just a few very specific examples of what you could choose to do when it comes to arts and crafts for single parents and kids. There are hundreds of other equally interesting and innovative activities that you could engage in during a single parents and kids arts and crafts session as well. The internet is a great resource for finding out about these things and it is suggested that you make use of Pinterest where other frustrated parents are posting ideas about how to keep their kids entertained and have fun at the same time. The options are practically endless.