Hey all! Amy here. As you may or may not know I have two little boys. One is 4 and the other is 7. We have officially been off school and daycare for going on…does anyone know what day it is? Honestly, does it matter? It feels like about a month and some of those days feel like at least a solid week. Here in Montreal, the news has begun to slow down though and as the public places we can go with our kids shrinks to abandoned industrial areas (I’m only half kidding) I am struggling to find things to do with both kids that doesn’t involve a screen. I was a nanny for many years though and have worked with kids for my whole adult life, so I figured I would dig around my various craft closets and see if we couldn’t scare up an activity or two. I am saving some ideas for down the line since we have no idea how long we are going to have to keep up this homeschooling situation but in the meantime, I’ll share these little projects we got up to the other morning. They don’t involve a whole lot of supplies and even then, you could probably replace a lot of these with whatever you have on hand.
The basics are:
- Pipe Cleaners
- Perler Beads (we got these on Amazon here)
- Patience (they were out of stock on this everywhere I checked but maybe you’ll have better luck)
LEARNING HOW TO BRAID
I have been trying to teach the seven-year-old how to braid for going on a year now. Last summer we were going through a friendship bracelet making craze and he was so desperate to try but no matter how patient I was or what type of thread, wool, fabric we tried his little hands couldn’t make a tight braid and he would get frustrated. He kept coming back to me to get me to “fix it” and I had to give up on it buying me any actual time as an activity. So, when we pulled out the pipe cleaners to see what kind of project we could work on I practically screamed when I realized this was something that might work. And it did! And he is so excited he made it himself.
While he had the basics of braiding down from the get-go he could never get it tight enough for his satisfaction. It’s tricky to hold onto all three pieces of a braid and if you only pull on one part the whole thing shifts. With the pipe-cleaners, they stay where you put them and so he was instantly a master. He was so chuffed! After he had braided a length for his wrist we simply cut it and twisted it into a bracelet. Easy!
And because he’s my son, and therefore likes to repeat a new skill a million times before moving on, he then made a bunch for everyone in our family and probably a few extras. His braiding skills are levelled up and mainly he could do it all himself. Time this activity bought me: 40 precious minutes.
PERLER BEAD BRACELETS
Next up! Perler bead bracelets! Now that we’ve opened our jewelry store we need some more inventory. This is where beads come in. Obviously there are a million kinds of bead crafts but my favourite thing about this one is it is perfect for little hands. The four-year-old has no problem handling these beads and by using pipe cleaners you don’t need a needle or any other fiddly findings to attach everything. I put some of the beads from the giant bucket in a flat dish so you can pick out the colours you want and also so that if it gets dumped over, it’s a little less of a disaster (do you think I figured that out the hard way? Dear Reader, you are right.)
Once you get the pipe cleaner loaded up with enough beads for a wrist you can simply twist the ends together, cut them off with anything but fabric scissors (can you imagine!!??) and tuck the sharp ends back into the beads on either side.
We also had some cute letter beads (spelling!) but you could also do this with macaroni, fruit loops, cheerios, bolts; the classics! After we made our bracelets we opened our store and played shopping for jewels! Which to be honest felt like actual retail therapy and was fun for everyone. If you add in the pricing and making change part we did some math, did some small business analysis and all in all managed a morning with no punching. I call that a win. Also, look at my new JEWELS!!!
I’ll be back next week for some more things to occupy the kidlets. In the meantime, from our house to yours, we are sending love, light and hope. We’re gonna get through this one together. Also, if you have any ideas for easy kids crafts with limited supplies PLEASE share in the comments, we have nothing but time…