I have 2 elementary-aged girls and with that comes the love of crafts. I understand their craftiness, as they both take after me. However, between two girls with birthdays, holidays, etc, we have a nice collection of half-used craft kits sitting in our closet. They are bright and fun kits with all sorts of different end projects.
IF, and only IF, my kids actually complete the craft, they either sit there collecting dust because once completed, the completed craft serves no purpose or my kids don't care and get rid of them when we go through their toys. The problem I have with this is two-fold. If the craft is thrown out, I feel bad that the gift giver essentially wasted their money on a craft my kids enjoyed doing but still wound up in the trash. Not to mention we are contributing to the ever-increasing waste issue in the country. Secondly, if they keep the crafts, I HATE clutter. Hate it. The tiny little crafty things that clutter their dresser drives me nuts. They were each given a shelf for their nicknacks when we moved in two years ago, and their nicknack collection has overflowed to other areas of their bedroom.
When you walk down the kids craft isle you see tons and tons of craft options. Stained glass painting, ceramic painting kits, that craft where you stick the stickers on pre-designated colors, paint by numbers, pom pom pet crafts, and the list goes on. Every single one of these crafts has a long list of instructions and pictures galore explaining how to create this perfect craft. That is ok, but what I find my kids ACTUALLY enjoy crafting with are open-ended crafts. Think clay, beads, paint, paper, markers, and so on. They even enjoy taking an old box and using that to create something new. They ENJOY using their imagination and the craft kits that line the shelves strip the need to use their imagination and thus sit in their closet.
I have done alot (maybe too much!) internet browsing for the perfect, open-ended, USEFUL, kids craft kits. Crafts that let your child use their imagination as well as crafts that serve a purpose. No more nicknacks laying around the house and no more half used craft boxes!
Here are my top THREE favorite open-ended, useful kids crafts.
1. Peg loom - from The Woolery
image from The Woolery
Ever since we visited a history museum and my kids discovered their vintage loom, I have been on the lookout for a smaller, more inexpensive version and I think I found the ticket with this tabletop peg loom. They can be used not just for pot holders (wink wink... cause you know we have more pot holders than we know what to do with), but can be used to make scarves, bags, blankets and even rugs! You are not limited to the type of material you can weave with, which can be fun for kids to try different weaving mediums. This will be one item that makes it under our tree this holiday season.
2. Flower Press Kit - HP Boutiques
image from HP Boutiques
This kit is a fantastic open-ended craft kit. My kids love nature and finding flowers and this gives them the perfect opportunity to learn about proper flower picking and flower parts. The kit includes minimal instructions and a few items to get them started on decorating with pressed flowers. The best part is, the flower press can be used over and over again, creating endless opportunities for crafting and learning.
3. Fairy House Building Kit - From Bella Luna
image from Bella Luna
After seeing these fairy houses on Pintrest and trying to make one myself, unsuccessfully I might add, I was stoked to find this one available as a kit! This is the perfect craft as it allows your child to decorate their fairy house as they want AND it allows for them to use it in open-ended play after they finish the craft. Win win!