Time, that elusive thing we all wish had more of, the one thing that often stops you from doing more creative things with your family…right?
Many of you have expressed that time is the #1 reason you don’t do more creative projects with your kids at a home. It may be a busy after school schedule, or that you don’t get home in time to do much more than have a family dinner and then start in on the bedtime routine, or that you are simply juggling the hecticness that is family life in general; whatever the reason, I am totally with you on this!
Now as much as I love setting up projects, there really are some days where I literally just want to open a box and hand my kids something awesome to do. Or for all of us to sit down together and all I have to do is read a few directions and let the magical fun begin. Sound dreamy to you?
So I have assembled a few of our straight out of the box, easy, peasy creative and amazing project solutions right here for you. These are tried and true products that will simplfy creative family time and make for a wonderful experience all around! We have tried most of them and the ones we haven’t are on this year’s holiday wish list so stay tuned…
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Artsy Toys & Tools
1. Spin Art Machine
This is probably the #1 product you should have on hand for surefire creative fun. Every single time I bust out this little spin art machine my kiddos come running. You will have to occasionally maintain it by cleaning out the paint that builds up, but overall this simple tool is well worth the few dollars. And it’s not just for paint! We have also enjoyed using it with markers and pens.
2. Beeswax Candle Kit
My daughter and her friend spent about 45 minutes making beeswax candles the other day. I showed them the basic rolling method and then they quickly developed their own ideas for how to make and shape the candles. Beeswax candles are made with beeswax sheets that you cut and roll around a wick. They are a lovely, earth friendly craft spply and the candles make for a sweet kid-made gift.
3. Pattern Blocks
A classic toy exploring color shape and pattern! There are so many uses for patterns blocks you will be using this set for years!
All you math art nerds must have tried this as a kid! Warning: Making Spirograph designs is highly addictive! This art toy is a classic for a reason.
5. Gelli Plates
I just ordered a plate given the tremendous popularity of this product this year! I have seen loads people ooh and ahh over this kit. It is pricey but if you like monoprinting (a printmaking technique) apparently this is a great reusable printing plate.
6. Koi Travel Watercolor Kit
This kit is impossible for anyone to resist trying. You can use it at home or take your kids out and have them sketch and paint outdoors. It comes with a water filled brush which makes it even easier to take on the road. It’s on the pricey end but ours have lasted a long time.
7. Perler Beads
Have you ever seen these at the craft store and wondered what the heck are they for? Before trying them I thought they were a neat freak’s worst nightmare, so many little beads…but then my family discovered the wonder that is Perler (or Hama) beads. You place them on pointed plates and then fuse them together using hot iron. The creative possibilities are endless! We have turned them into spinning tops, bookmarks, and even DIY mazes. Bonus: they are a great product for developing fine motor skills!
We are HUGE Sculpey fans! Why? Because you can bake this clay and harden it in the oven at home. We have done enough air dry clay projects to realize how fragile they can be even after drying. But enter Sculpey…. it is on the pricey side for clay so you have to use it with care, but you can make some gorgeous and colorful clay projects, from bowls to beads to figurines we LOVE this stuff!
9. Shrinky Dinks
How many of you used Shrinky Dinks as a kid? Remember the magic of opening the oven to see your designs in miniature? Grab a few packs of these for a rainy day.
I have an obsession with Sharpies. The color is so vibrant, they are great for kids and adults, and they last forever! We love pairing them with rubbing alcohol to get some cool effects like in these Sharpie Tie Dye Shirts or these Fancy Feathers.
11. Hand Casting Kit
We have our hands casts on display and everyone who visits our house asks “How did you make that?!”
12. Fort Magic
We have had a Fort Magic Kit for over three years and we still use it on a regular basis. We have made it into forts of course but also mazes, a store, skyscrapers, and even a fountain! It’s a wonderful life size scale fort building kit that kids find irresistible. And it is TOTALLY worth the investment.
13. Paper Toys Play Pack
Download, print, and make! You literally don’t have to leave your house. Our Paper Toys Play Pack is a digital download with 7 paper toys that all have an engineering/design twist!
14. Marble Run
This wooden set is one of my favorite products ever. It’s a lesson in engineering and planning and it so much fun to reconfigure and watch in action.
15. Snap Circuits
We have the original snap circuits and as an electronics geek I pretty much drooled over the concept of this toy. If you aren’t familiar with it, kids can put together basic electrical circuits using snap-in pieces instead alligator clips, circuit boards, and wires. I’m super excited to try out the Lights Verison and I think my kids are going to flip for the Arcade kit as well!
Reader’s Favorite Creative Supplies
I am always on the lookout for super cool and easy creative products so I asked YOU on Instgram what YOUR favorite supplies and products and got some wonderful new ideas! I call these Fan Favorites!
15. Blo Pens
Ages 4+ These make air-brush style images. They look fun!
Ages 6+ A reader recommended this book of origami projects. Be sure to order some origami paper too.
17. Do- A-Do
Ages 2+ We LOVE these! These area hybrid of a watercolor paint and GIANT markers!
18. Gel Crayons
Ages 3+ Apparently these glide like butter AND smell good! What’s not to love?
19. Fun Chalk
Ages 4+ We’ve had a lot of fun with these markers which can be used on chalkboard, glass, plastic, and more! We have decorated rocks with them as well as our glass globe light!
Creative family time doesn’t have to be hard!
At least not with a few of these products on hand. You can keep them in a drawer for those days when you really need to pry the kids away from their iPads but have literally no energy to do more than open a box. And who knows you might even find yourself re-energized to try more creative activities at home after a few easy successes…
Hey, before you go, what is your favorite creative supply?
Leave me a comment below!
Markers of all kinds
Glitter pens and glue
Small ceramic tiles for mossaics
Ana Dziengel says