When we’re stuck inside, one of the things my little one loves to do is create art. She could draw, paint, and paste all day long!
Art not only builds motor skills in the little ones, but it helps kids of all ages learn how to think critically. Through the process of making decisions with their art, kids learn how to be creative, solve problems, and embrace visual learning.
Unfortunately, even non-toxic art supplies are full of chemicals. Non-toxic only means that inhaling fumes or ingesting a small amount won’t be fatal. It does not mean that it won’t make you sick. Luckily, there are many art activities that are perfect for natural paint, eco crayons, and veggie chalk.
So, the next time your kids are stuck inside, try these 10 art activities that are safe, flexible for different ages, and super fun!
1. Marble Painting
Because this activity requires little artistic talent and is a lot like a game, even kids who don’t like art will have a fun time. The best part is that each print is as unique as its creator!
Place the paper in the box. Glob some paint onto the paper. Dump the marbles into the box and tip, move and shake the box so that the marbles roll through the paint and leave trails on the paper.
Variation: Fill cups with each paint color and drop one marble into each cup. Then pull the marble out, covered in paint, and drop it into the box. Tip the box in all directions to create trails of colors.
2. Paper Garland
This activity can be adapted to almost any season or occasion, which makes it a great go to activity just before a big event or holiday.
- Construction or craft paper
- Hole punch (optional)
- Natural paint, markers, crayons or embellishments (optional)
- Ribbon or string
Cut out snowflakes, leaves, hearts, circles, etc. from whatever paper you choose. At this point you can add paint, stickers, glitter, or other decorations. Then, use the hole punch or scissors to cut two holes, one on the left and one on the right, of each shape. String your shapes onto the ribbon and hang.
3. Felt Boards
This activity has endless possibilities. Felt is great because it sticks to itself so you don’t need glue, but it also comes apart easily so it can be reused over and over again.
- Stiff cardboard or canvas
Cut a piece of felt that is about 2 inches wider and longer than your piece of cardboard. Fold over the edges and staple. Then cut out shapes that can be layered to create a scene. Some ideas:
- Things at the beach
- Christmas tree and ornaments
- Under the sea
- Pumpkin and jack o lanterns
- Parts of a house
- Animals in the forest
4. DIY Window Clings
This activity is fun and easy with virtually no mess! It’s perfect for a late afternoon activity when everyone’s energy level is low.
- Foam sheets
- Clean window
Cut fun shapes out of the foam sheets and use water to stick them to the window. Let your child build whatever scene he wants. Refer to the list under felt boards for some inspiration!
5. Crayon-Watercolor Resist
This activity is great for discovery. Kids learn how different materials react together. In this activity the watercolor will be repelled wherever the crayon is on the page.
Draw with crayon or oil pastel on the watercolor paper (use white for a secret drawing). Then use the watercolor to paint over the drawing. The paint will resist wherever there is crayon.
The great thing about collaging is that you can use just about any materials you want and each project will come out vastly different than the others. There are endless possibilities. This activity could even be an ongoing family project that you add to every time it rains.
- Magazines, construction paper, photos, etc.
- Natural glue (where to buy)
Cut out shapes from colored or patterned paper or choose interesting colors from magazines. I like to use nature magazines because the photos are so beautiful. Paste your pieces of paper onto the cardboard in whatever way you want.
7. Cotton Swab Pointillism
This activity requires a bit of thinking outside the box so it can be frustrating for some kids at first. However, once they figure out how to make a “line” with dots they’ll be hooked.
- Natural paint
- Cotton swabs
Use the cotton swabs to dab dots of paint onto the paper. Let your imaginations go wild! For little kiddos: use the cotton swab as a brush.
8. Chalk Stencils
A fun and quick activity, chalk stencils are great for making cards and decorations. Smudging the chalk makes the images look like they are glowing, which makes this a great activity for Christmas and Hanukkah!
Cut shapes out of the card stock to use as stencils. Trace around the edge of the stencil with the chalk and while still holding the stencil on the paper, use your finger or a paper towel to smudge the chalk away from the stencil.
9. Handprint Trees
- Construction Paper
- Natural glue
Trace your child’s hand onto a piece of brown construction paper (this will be the trunk of the tree). Cut the tree trunk out and glue it to a piece of construction paper.
Cut out leaf shapes from construction paper and glue those onto the branches. You could also cut out circles instead of leaves for a modern look.
Variation: Use natural finger paint for the leaves.
10. Straw Blow Painting
Much like marble painting, this activity creates abstract art that is wonderfully unique and exciting to make.
- Cardboard box (optional but helps contain paint splatter)
- Natural paint
- Paper drinking straws
- Glass dropper or spoon (optional)
Thin out the paint until it’s about the consistency of milk. It needs to be thin to move across the paper well. Use the dropper to deposit paint onto the paper and then use the straw to blow the paint around the paper.
How about you?
What art activities do you like to do with your kids? Share with us in the comments below!