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Screen-Free(ish) Sundays: 5 Crafts That Celebrate Self-Expression and Creativity

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Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
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Some arts and crafts require kids to follow step-by-step directions — but there’s more than one way to get creative! Sometimes the best way to encourage kids to explore self-expression is to offer up crafts that have endless possibilities and let them use their own ideas to make a masterpiece.

If you’re looking for inspiration for crafts that will foster your child’s creative side, here are five fun craft ideas for kids that celebrate and encourage self-expression and creativity.

1.    Painting With Ice

Painting provides limitless opportunities for creativity. This craft idea for kids doesn't require paint brushes, but it still lets them express themselves through colors, shapes and textures. Children can do this activity inside or outside, and they will love seeing their frosty creations come to life.

Here’s what you’ll need:

●    1 cup of water
●    Food coloring
●    Craft sticks
●    Ice cube tray
●    Paper or white material.

Pour the water into the ice tray, put a few drops of food coloring into the cubes, and mix. Pop a craft stick into each cube and place the tray into the freezer. When the ice has frozen, take out each cube and let kids paint with the ice on paper or on leftover scraps of material, or take the painting fun outside and paint on a sidewalk.

2.    Funny Face Book

Making this Funny Face Book lets your creative kids work on art expression along with a few facial expressions.

Here’s what you’ll need:

●    3-ring binder
●    Cardstock or construction paper
●    Hole punch
●    Markers or crayons
●    Stickers and googly eyes (optional)

Cut your cardstock into three equal strips and use a hole punch to make one hole in each strip. Place the strips inside the binder so that each ring has equal pieces of cardstock.   

Now it’s time to create faces that have some self-expression. In the binder, the top row is for eyes, the middle is for noses, and the bottom is for mouths. Give the supplies to your kids and encourage them to be as creative as they want as they draw on each strip of paper. From making faces that have different shapes, sizes and colors, to accents like glasses, freckles and braces, each part of the face can be unique.

Let kids choose how to draw different facial expressions to show different emotions. If you have googly eyes or stickers, kids can add those to their pages.
When all the faces are done, mix and match each page to make hilarious funny faces and ask your kids to make up stories for each face. Kids can come back and play with the Funny Face Book again and again when they’re looking for a silly and creative outlet.

3.    Sock Puppets

If you’ve been wondering what to do with your socks that have lost their matches, let your kids transform them into puppets that encourage self-expression as they create their own stories and imaginary adventures.

To make the puppets, you’ll need:

●    Socks
●    Googly eyes
●    Markers
●    Buttons
●    Pieces of string or yarn
●    Glue

Gather the socks, craft supplies and glue and let your kids make the puppets. Even if their puppets start looking a bit abstract, go with it. Since this craft is all about exploring how to encourage creativity, there’s no right or wrong way to piece together a puppet.  

Once the puppets are ready, ask your kids to put on a puppet show, act out their favorite book or sing along to their favorite songs. Join in the sock puppet fun, but let your creative kiddo take the lead.

4.    Homemade Dough Creations

While they stretch the dough, kids are stretching their imaginations — making homemade dough has all the right ingredients for creative fun.

To make your dough, you’ll need:

●    1 1/2 cups flour
●    1/2 cup salt
●    1 to 1 1/2 cups of boiling water
●    2 tablespoons cream of tartar
●    2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
●    Food coloring

Start by boiling the water. Then mix together the flour, salt, cream of tartar and olive oil in a bowl. Slowly add in the water and mix until you have a dough consistency. Divide the dough into different bowls and add a few drops of food coloring into each pile of dough. Start mixing with a spoon and knead with your hands to mix the colors thoroughly.

When it comes to playing with the dough, there are no rules. Well, maybe there are a few rules — like no dough in the carpet or in their hair. Let kids mix the colors and use different kitchen utensils like spoons and forks to make different shapes in the dough, or let them build a tiny dough town for their toys. The possibilities are endless, and so is their creativity.

Store the dough in airtight containers so when kids are feeling creative, they can bring the dough back out again and again.


5.    Jewelry Making

Tap into your kid’s creative side with a jewelry making activity. Giving kids the supplies to make their own rings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry inspires self-expression, and you may end up being gifted one of their priceless creations.

Here’s what you’ll need:

●    Pipe cleaners (or string for older kids)
●    Beads
●    Buttons
●    Pom-poms
●    Construction paper
●    Pieces of cereal and pieces of candy (optional)

This is one of those arts and crafts that allows you to gather up whatever supplies you have around your house and let your kids get to work. You can show them how to twist the pipe cleaner around beads or pom-poms or pull the string through buttons and pieces of construction paper, but let your kids express themselves as they explore different ways to create their own jewelry line.