15 Art Projects for Kids That Will Inspire Their Creativity
Nothing allows the kids to express their creativity more than crayons, watercolors, glitter, glue, and a blank canvas. Arts and crafts gives kids an outlet to let their imaginations run free, but having access to just a few staples that are already laying around the house gives them the power to create real-life toys and crafts in just a few steps. Aim for a balance: The best kind of art projects will guide them to a clear end result in mind, but appear free in the sense that each child can make the project look uniquely one-of-a-kind. And, most importantly, these art projects keep children naturally entertained and engaged with their family and friends for hours on end.
Kids can express their creativity even if they're not in a proper classroom. Even a studio apartment can be renovated into a space for little ones to draw, paint, doodle, and build crafts with mixed media—as long as you keep an organizational approach in mind. For mini Picassos, you'll want to find ways to keep watercolor paints in an airtight container for easy cleanup, whereas kids who like to craft with their hands may need an organizer for different kinds of paper and accessories. And since you want your little ones to be safe, be sure to opt for non-toxic supplies in your local crafts store when possible.
And what about a space for the actual work? Pictured here, we've utilized wall space for kids' art projects that you'll want to remember for years to come; rotate the items every season to encourage more work. Not every project will fit onto a wall, but designating a space or two for your child's art projects can motivate them to roll up their sleeves and try something new. Get started with this collection of our very best kids' art projects that you can tackle all year long.
The fridge is your home's coolest gallery, no question. With this genius setup, it can serve as a pop-up, easy-to-clean studio, too. Repurpose Magna-Tiles to hold up paper, and place paint supplies at the ready in magnetic tool bins meant for the garage. Then leave mini Mirò to his masterpiece while you complete yours: dinner.
Shop Now: Magna-Tiles Solid Color Set, $50 for 32 pieces, magnatiles.com. U.S. General Magnetic Spray Can and Screwdriver Holder and Magnetic Tray with Screwdriver Holder, in Red, $12 each, harborfreight.com. Martha Stewart Crafts Basic Brush Set, $20 for 5 pieces, michaels.com. H-Filaments Apron, from $45, h-filaments.com.
Kids love playing with colors and creating unique tie-dye patterns, but parents are less enthused about the inevitable clean up. This foolproof dyeing technique works on any solid cotton fabric. The result is a beautiful watercolor washed item that the little ones will enjoy for months to come.
Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Keep them entertained without ever leaving the driveway. This washable nontoxic paint comes together with just two different pantry ingredients (water and cornstarch) and one crafting staple (dry tempera paint).
Paper Animal Masks
Ready to get wild? Let your own little wild things show their true roars with these easy-to-make masks. Kids will love transforming into playful birds, tigers, and animals of the jungle with these masks made from your choice of colorful crafting paper.
This idea is bound to become a favorite activity for little ones who like to forage ingredients in their own backyard. These adorable toys can be made from acorns in just a few steps. If you want to take the idea a step further, then gather leaves, branches, and other backyard materials to make an entire town.
Who needs a whole paint set when you can use grass, leaves, stems, or flowers to create strikingly unique patterns? Simply attach them to a set of clothespins and let the kids' imagination play out on a sheet of paper or on the sidewalk itself.
Homemade Play Dough
There are many different ways that kids can get hands-on with arts and crafts—but none are as popular as traditional play dough. Make your own version of the classic puddy-like solution using pantry staples: flour, food coloring, and a secret ingredient (cream of tartar!). Then, kids can roll, shape, and mold malleable statues of their own making.
A little craft paint is all it takes to step up their sneakers. Use masking tape to block off sections you'd like to leave white, and paint the exposed areas, letting the seams serve as a guide. A detail brush works best on shoelace tips and narrow spaces. To really kick up the look, follow our painting tips: Keep the soles splatter-free by covering them with tape before painting. Matching laces help finish the look.
Iron-On Kids' Tote Bag
A cloth bag makes a natural canvas for young artists. Download our flower clip-art and print it onto transfer paper; using scissors or a craft knife, cut loosely around the designs, leaving a 1/8-inch border. Lay an ironed pillowcase on a table or other hard, heat-resistant surface, and then iron a tote bag; then, lay the bag on top of the pillowcase, and arrange the designs face-down on the bag, avoiding seams or pockets.
Wood and Neon Lanyard Necklaces
Here's a throwback to summer camp: Help the kids transform a handful of wooden beads and a few lengths of lanyard into cool accessories. To make the center necklaces, cut two pieces of lanyard about twice the length of the desired finished product. Slide a bead over both pieces to just off center; leave at least a 12-inch tail. Loop the ends of both pieces back over the bead and thread through again (creating a backstitch). Repeat this process with all of the beads, and finish with another tail at least 12 inches long. Secure it around your neck with a double knot. To make the necklace on the right, cut enough pieces to desired lengths to fill a hole in the bead. Thread all pieces through the holes of each bead, spacing as desired (a tight fit will hold all the beads in place).
Supersized Coloring Page
Stuck indoors on a rainy day? Here's your solution. Start by having your child do a line drawing in black marker on a piece of white printer paper (the more detail in the picture, the better). Then, bring the drawing to a print shop to enlarge the image on a wide-format printer. Ask for a three-by-four-foot print like the one shown here. Tape it to the wall or lay it on the floor, then let the kids unpack the crayons and unleash their creativity.
There's no need to spend money on expensive plastic toys. Painted stones make great toy cars, and with just a Sharpie and some craft paper, you can create a whole town.
Give Your Kids' Art New Life
Here's a novel way to repurpose old art projects or scraps and bits from a recent project; use them as gift wrap, for gift tags, greeting cards, and even candle holders. Here, we've wrapped votive candle holders and hurricane glasses with older art projects, which are secured with double-sided tape.
You can also laminate a few rectangles at a copy shop for easy placemats that aren't too precious to replace with the next masterpiece.