Friday, October 2, 2015

Survive the haze: 11 crafty activities to try

The haze has been keeping us indoors most of the time, since the boys start coughing and wheezing if they are exposed. Because of that, we've had more time to craft. I must say I quite enjoy our craft sessions these days since Baby J is happy messing with his crayons and dot-a-dot markers, while Lil J is now willing to follow instructions and not make a huge mess with the art materials. Junior J, as usual, loves painting and crafting, so he's more than happy to take part too!

I thought I'd compile a list of crafty activities that we've been doing the past 6 months, some which never got recorded on the blog (but shared on the FB page). You could try some of these at home with the kids when the PM2.5 levels shoot up. Have fun!

1. Spin Art: 
The boy have been loving their spinner (we purchased it here), especially Lil J who is particularly interested in the kinesthetic part of crafting. He loves cranking the button and squeezing the bottles, and seeing the paint splatter onto the paper, so I'd highly recommend this activity for kids who are more keen in the sensorial bit of art (smearing paint, working tools). Having the spinner means they get to see the painting process, however, you can also try this using a regular salad spinner, just that they won't be able to see the paint spread out as they spin the spinner.

2. Watercolour collages: 
We made this picture for the MIL recently, and now Lil J has been asking to try his hand at "dabbing". (You can read more details for this project here.) The older two enjoy experimenting with the paints, and watching how the paint spreads, and how the colours vary as they layer them. 

3 & 4. Washi-fied names & paint resist art:
We purchased these wooden alphabets from TYPO (you can also try cutting out alphabets using cardboard), and the older two had a field day covering them with washi tape! (Washi tape can be purchased from Daiso, various scrapbooking stores, and from MT Tape.)

The painting below the alphabets was made using the paint resist technique: Junior J drew the picture using a white oil pastel (you must draw the outline a couple of times and layer it thick), and then added the colours using watercolours. This works on paper, as well as canvas, and you can purchase canvases from Daiso or Art Friend.

5. Painting on canvas:
Junior J has tried using acrylics on canvas previously (the top two paintings were done with acrylic paints), but we stopped using these paints during this period because our windows were closed because of the haze, and I didn't want him breathing in too much of the paint fumes. However, poster paints work on canvas too, so we'll be exploring using those (the lower painting was done by Junior J using washi tapes and poster paints, when he was younger).

6. Ice-cream stick animals:
The kids in our co-op made these animals while exploring a farm theme, and they were quite easy to make! All you need are coloured ice-cream sticks (Daiso and Popular stock these), circle stickers (from Daiso), markers and coloured paper. The possibilities are endless, and you can add pompoms and googly eyes too!

7. Shape art: 
We experimented making pictures using shape cut-outs (we cut out shapes from construction paper) and circle stickers (these come in a few sizes in Daiso), after reading the book Wednesday, a sweet story about how a circle and square work together to form pictures. This was fun, and the boys loved thinking up pictures to make!

8. Beetle art:
The boys made these beetles after reading "The Beetle Book". They had quite alot of fun picking out which beetles they wanted to make, and made these using bits of cardboard, googly eyes and pipe cleaners (from CraftPlay, which stocks all sorts of materials for crafting). They decorated the beetles using glitter glue, markers and buttons. You can read more details for this project over in this post, along with more beetle projects!

9. Perler bead crafts:
We've been making all sorts of things using Perler beads, from giant cameras for the younger boys (using Biggie Beads), to My Little Pony and fruit magnets for a fund-raising project.

We keep getting questions about these beads, so just some info about these fused beads here:

- You place the beads on a pegboard in the pattern that you like, and iron them at a medium heat setting to fuse them together. You'll need to place a sheet of paper on top of the beads before ironing or the beads will stick to the iron. You can either use the papers provided in the bead sets, or baking paper. Don't use regular paper!

- There are a few brands of beads available, and IKEA stocks a similar version called Pyssla, and I think Daiso sells some fused bead kits as well. The most popular brands would probably be Hama and Perler. The former is available at Growing Fun stores, but we prefer the latter, as Hama beads tend to be much softer and the creations tend to break easily compared to those made using Perler beads.

- We buy our beads mainly from Amazon, as they qualify for free global shipping. We usually purchase the giant tub of mixed beads for Lil J, and the trays of sorted colours for Junior J when he works on his fund-raising project, as well as the pegboards (some of our pegboards are from IKEA). The Biggie beads and corresponding pegboards are from Amazon too. We've also ordered packets of beads of individual colours directly from EKSuccess, for the fund-raising project.

10. Build your own city:
We sometimes cut up a large cardboard box, or roll out mahjong paper and let the kids build their own city using their building blocks. They add roads and other details using markers, and have a ball of a time building their own city! (You can read more about our cardboard crafts here.)

11. Make your own aquarium:
We got the boys to paint a large piece of cardboard using blue, yellow and white poster paints, and called it our aquarium. They then filled it up with various aquatic creatures, such as fishes folded from origami paper, seahorses using Perler beads and sea urchins using pompoms!

So you have it, 11 crafty activities to try with the kids, during this hazy period. Have fun if you do try any of them!

PS: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon, but at no added cost to yourself. :)

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