Bringing up kids is expensive, but arts and crafts are one area where making economies bring many rewards. Watching the pennies encourages resourcefulness and produces innovative budget crafts.
Craft materials are big business nowadays. Every high street has a shop dedicated to arts and crafts materials, there are even specialised superstores. However, it pays to shop around carefully, prices vary wildly and often you can find much better deals with specialised online retailers.
Saving Money in the High Street
When searching for items for kids crafts, try household discount stores. You can find items like foil trays, making ideal paint palettes or jumbo packs of cotton wool that can be used in models and collages. Look for cheap rolls of greaseproof paper. This is useful for a variety of kids crafts involving tracing or copying patterns and designs. Often, you will find huge packs of crayons or felt tip pens. Try a DIY store for paper. Lining paper is cheap and offers an endless supply for arts and crafts projects. Bargain rolls of wallpaper can be reversed and used as drawing paper or try using the patterns in collages.
Natural and Free
The ultimate source of exciting items for kids crafts is the natural world. Outdoors, kids are surrounded by items perfect for budget crafts. They are often plentiful and best of all, free. Every trip to school or countryside walk brings a new collection of inspiring items to use in your kids crafts. Look out for:
- Pine cones, leaves and twigs. They make stunning effects when dipped in paint. Leaves can be used as part of a ‘living’ autumn collage.
- Feathers are another interesting alternative to the paintbrush. They can be incorporated into a textured collage. If enough feathers are collected over a period time, use them with modelling clay or play dough to create realistic bird models.
- Pebbles and shells are rewarding finds. One of the most fun kids crafts is turning a plain pebble into a cute pet or funny character. Just use acrylic paint and clear varnish to preserve the artwork, if wished.
Even a misted window is a free craft; the youngest artists can create lots of doodles with little fingers and hands. They love to watch their art disappear and reappear as if by magic!
Check Out the Kitchen
For budget crafts, don’t forget the kitchen. Children can make lovely jewellery using pasta. Rice or pulses are essential ingredients for highly decorative and noisy musical instruments. If you are looking for stamps to use with paints, look no further than fruit and vegetables. Potatoes can be crafted into interesting shapes and nature offers lots of fascinating designs in fruit and vegetables. Tea and coffee have many uses in kids crafts, they can be used to stain paper and age craft projects.
Kids crafts can be green. Jump onto the recycling bandwagon by taking a fresh look at your rubbish. It’s a great idea to keep a large bag handy next to your store of crafts materials and stock it with items that you would normally throw away. Things to keep in your bag include:
- Cereal packets
- Plastic cartons and pots
- Egg boxes
- Cardboard rolls
- Packing materials e.g. polystyrene chips, bubble wrap and corrugated card.
Your bag stuffed with recycled materials becomes a great game and starting point for lots of kids crafts. Use it like a lucky dip. Tell your children they can select four or five random items to use in an inventive and exciting arts and crafts project.
Being inventive and looking around for cheap or free items add a whole new dimension to craft. It is a great way of teaching your child that fun doesn’t have to be expensive and imagination doesn’t cost a thing.