Rainy Day Crafts for Kids
How many times have you heard your children say “I’m bored, what can I do”? Sometimes it can be frustrating, because you probably didn’t plan for a rainy day or for a pandemic. When my kids were little, I realized that the thing that really got them excited was crafts. You can only hold their attention so long with color books and crayons. Most kids want to get their hands messy; they want to create something. That’s what really gets their creative juices flowing.
Today there are so many resources at our fingertips, it really isn’t difficult to come up with ideas for kids. Just recently for Valentine’s Day my granddaughters made signs for their teachers to display in the classroom. A small piece of wood with a rope hanger, a few different size heart stencils, glitter, and lots of paint choices made for a fun crafting afternoon. They could hardly wait for Monday, so they could present them to their teachers.
Even in nice weather they sometimes need stimulation. Anything to get them off the couch and away from electronics. This past summer when the temperature reached the uppers 80’s we cut colorful sponges into strips and rubber banded 8 strips together to make sponge bombs.
I set up a large bucket on the porch and filled it with water. We dumped all the colorful sponge bombs into the bucket.
I came up with a list of rules that I wrote on a poster board and hung on the wall above the bucket. I have to laugh when I think about it, although they did their best to follow the rules; no throwing at adults, do not throw at each other’s face, only one bomb allowed at a time, no crying, have fun and pick up the sponges when finished, after about 5 minutes the rules were all but forgotten. They had a blast throwing them at each other and soon even the “big kids” got in on the action.
Painted T-Shirts (Difficulty Level: Easy)
Today I tossed out some ideas to my granddaughters, and they chose to do painted t-shirts. I had been buying t-shirts whenever I would notice them on clearance, I had several on hand for this project. I paid $2.50 for the shirts used in this project. Another option is to use the boring t-shirts that are hiding out in the back of the dresser or closet. You know the one that they never want to wear because they don’t like them. They’ll have a blast turning those t-shirts into something they will actually want to wear.
For the stencils, you can purchase or design your own. I’m all about customizing your stencil to get exactly what you want. That’s what we decided to do. Go ahead and pull up the images on Cricut Design Space or Creative Fabrica. I let my granddaughters pick the images they liked and the sayings they wanted. I did guide them a bit towards designs that I felt would work well as a stencil. They had just as much fun picking that special design as they did painting the t-shirts! Let them set up the craft table, choosing what color paints they want to use, filling the water cups, laying out the brushes and paper towels.
Embrace their ideas, keep it fun, help them if needed, but let them make mistakes as well. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s all about making memories and having fun! Sometimes it’s hard to remember that.
Materials Needed to Make a Kid’s Painted T-Shirt
- Cricut Design Space to cut stencil or purchase a stencil of your choice
- T-shirts for kids
- Fabric paint (acrylic paint will work)
- Stencil brushes or foam brush
- Stencil vinyl or freezer paper
- Paper plates or something to put the paint on
- Water for rinsing brushes/paper towel for wiping brushes
Make a Stencil
I always have extra vinyl on hand to make stencils but if you don’t happen to have any, freezer paper works great. It really is an inexpensive alternative. Freezer paper has a shiny side that sticks to your fabric when you apply heat to it, because of that it works great as a stencil for fabric. You can cut stencils using freezer paper even if you do not have a machine. Just place the freezer paper over your design that you printed off your printer and trace your design onto the freezer paper. Using a utility knife carefully cut the inside of the design. Then simply iron onto your fabric, and it is ready for paint. If you do have a machine to cut the freezer paper make sure the material setting is set to freezer paper and the pressure is on default.
Place the freezer paper on a standard mat with the shiny side down. You do not have to mirror your design because you will be putting the same side (shiny) down on your fabric. Once its cut, gently pull up your freezer paper, weed it and remember to save your middle pieces for A’s, O’s and E’s. You will need those.
Iron Your Stencil on to Your Fabric
Now it is time to iron your stencil on to your fabric. Put a cloth or paper towel over the freezer paper and with the shiny side down press with your iron on dry heat, no steam for this, or you can use your Cricut Easy Press, set at 300. Make sure to pay attention that the entire stencil is adhering to the fabric. That’s all there is to it, easy right? You now have a stencil ready to paint.
You can use fabric paint or puff paint if you want but if you don’t have any, acrylic paint works well. Have the kids blot the first coat of paper on with a foam brush or stencil brush being careful to not go off the stencil onto other parts of the shirt.
Once they finish painting, carefully pull off the stencil. Acrylic paint needs one final step. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before heat setting the paint. I used a regular iron on high setting with no steam. I placed a piece of fabric over it and pressed it, moving my iron around for approximately 5 minutes. Although we didn’t finish both t-shirts the girls had so much doing this. They are so proud of the design and how it turned out. They can’t wait to do more!