Craft Recipes

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

Children need art exploration to strengthen their fine motor skills, visual discrimination and language development. The following are some fun suggestions to keep the kids occupied for hours:

  • Kool-aid finger paint: Mix 2 cups of flour, 2 packs of unsweetened kool-aid, ½ cup salt and 2 Tsp oil into 3 cups of boiling water. Go ahead, finger paint!
  • Clay painting: Mix 4 cups of flour and 1 cup of salt with some food coloring. Use water to moisten it to a desired level of dampness. Store the 'clay dough' in refrigerator to avoid spoilage. This 'clay' gets harder as it dries and can be shaped into desired shapes and painted. To make the 'clay' reusable, add 2 tablespoons of oil in it.
  • Sand painting: Mix some tempera paint powder with fine sand. Let the kids spread glue on a picture and sprinkle sand over it.
  • No-cook modeling dough: Mix 2 cups of flour, 1 cup salt with water and food coloring and use it as a play-dough.
  • Pudding painting: Mix instant pudding with food color and paint on paper plates.
  • Jell-O finger paint: Mix Jell-o crystals in enough boiling water to achieve a desired consistency for finger paint. Use a variety of Jell-o packets so that there is a colorful palette. Kids love the feel and smell of it. Besides, it is edible.
  • Snow painting: Mix water and food coloring and put the solution in spray bottles. Spray it on snow to make colorful designs.
  • Colorful rice: Mix uncooked rice with some vinegar and food coloring and bake it at 200 degrees for 45 minutes so that it becomes dry. Make different batches with different colors and when it dries up pack them up together or separately. Draw pictures or letters on papers and let the kids put glue in it and then 'color' it with rice. Teach children the letters of their names by placing the rice onto a letter written in glue. After it dries, they can trace the letter with their finger tip.
  • Bean design: Take a variety of dried legumes such as lentils, peas and beans. Decide on a surface such as a wooden board, glass jar or a tile and spread it with some modeling clay. Take a pencil and gently mark the design you want to create on it. Stick the legumes in the order you desire and make your design.

Encourage all art projects as a process, not product activity. Who knows, there might be a future artist, architect or scientist among the group of children!

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,