I love Pinterest as much as the next children’s librarian, but let’s see a show of hands: Who else gets frustrated with the too perfectly manufactured “preschool” crafts? I look at pin after pin and think, “My kids aren’t ready for this. This would be so frustrating! And time consuming!” Crafts shouldn’t be hard, not for young kids. They should be sticky and weird and building fine motor skills!
So here are two crafts that are those things AND have the bonus of being easy to recreate over and over and over no matter the theme or season.
This week we’re making tissue paper heart magnets! It’s easy-peasy. I drew a heart on a sheet of paper and ran copies. They glue tissue paper squares all over the blank side, then flip it over the cut out a heart (or something, you know, kinda similar to one). I give them a sticky magnet (I like to keep a handle on choking hazards) and we’re done!
It’s literally as easy as 1-2-3 (and you are only responsible for step 1)!
Now if you’re like me, you have NO IDEA how many tissue paper squares you need for something like this, so you still have a tissue box full of them in a closet somewhere. Use them! I used some to make paper plate fishies:
Give them a plate, a glue stick, and a pile of tissue paper and you’re done. That’s it! I didn’t trace a fin for them to cut out, so some of them had big fins or adorable tiny fins or no fins at all or stumpy, round-ish fins. I like the variety.
Full disclosure: This is one actually is based on a pinterest craft.
Need a fall craft? Make trees. Spring? Flowers! Christmas? Christmas tree! Anything you can color, you can glue tissue paper to. And they’ll love it (promise).
But WHY tissue paper crafts? Well, using glue works those fine motor skills. So do the scissors. So does picking up those flimsy tissue squares! Crafts like this are a great hand workout and they’re fun without being a pain to clean up.
Last week’s craft was another tried and true easily reproducible craft:
Tacky is your run-of-the-mill popsicle stick puppet. I made penguins using the Ellison Die, but you can use clip art outlines to make puppets of ANYTHING- and the great part about that is you can make them cut them out. EVEN BETTER is giving them a sheet of paper and some crayons and letting them draw their own puppet to cut out. Scissor skills! Writing practice! Creativity! Play! The wonders never stop with this one.
Puppets let kids extend the narrative and make connections to the books we’ve read, which make this craft another great multi-tasker.
But when tissue paper and puppets aren’t doing it for me, I get out smocks, paint, and paper. Why not? There’s nothing wrong with giving them complete freedom to just create. That’s one you can reproduce infinitely while easily adding in additional concepts. Give them only primary colors so they can mix new colors. Let them paint with toothbrushes or their fingers for a new sensory experience.
Don’t let the wonder and terrors of Pinterest intimidate you from doing what you know is best for the kids you’re guiding through storytime. The end product is not what’s important here. How often do we hear, “My mom never lets me use scissors at home”? Craft time is every bit as much about growing kids who are ready to read and ready for school as storytime!