3 Great Websites that Every Parent of a Crafter Must Visit
One of the first things that Aly wants to do every morning is to do some crafting. She’s a girl that pretty easy to please- a nice clean sheet of paper with a bucket full of markers/crayons/colored pencils can often satisfy her morning need for art. But, a little later in the morning, she’ll want something that is a bit more involved. For our New Years gift, we gave her a big set of supplies to use in her crafting: paper punchers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, stick-on sequences, etc. She absolutely loved adding this to her ever-growing supply of tools. She really likes to play around and come up with unique creations.
Lately, she’s been wanting to do some more “scripted” art (i.e. using craft books). While I’ve gotten her a couple books from the library, I have also been searching for some sites that I can access anytime and as many times as I would like (why is it that the book is due back at just the most inopportune time?!). On my search, I came across some pretty amazing sites that I think every parent of a storyteller-imaginative-crafter must know about.
This magazine, published in Australia, is ad-free and filled with arts, crafts, games, and activities for kids ages 5-10. It is published 4 times a year, coinciding with Australia’s school breaks (since they do school year-round over there). Each issue is thematic (past ones include When I Grow Up, History, Fright, Space, Colors, Secrets, Travel, Stories, and Sea). The editor of the magazine so kindly sent us two of the past issues (When I Grow Up and Stories!) and can I tell you- we had a ton of fun doing many of the activities (we still have quite a few to go)!**
One of the activities we did is found in the “When I Grow Up” issue. We learned about our insides.
First, we printed of the organ sheet found online. We colored them, cut them out, and laminated them so that we could re-use them in the future.
Then, we traced our bodies on a big sheet of paper.
Finally, we worked together to place the organs inside our paper bodies in the correct places.
We talked about what each part does (which of course included some laughs) as we went along.
I’m in love with this magazine for several reasons:
1. It is gender neutral.
Boys and girls are pictured doing the activities together. This is becoming more and more important to me as the kids are getting older and beginning to learn from peers and media, even in this day in age, that there are “boy activities” and “girl activities”. We are increasingly walking the tightrope of allowing the kids to enjoy what they enjoy while also questioning their assumptions that boys or girls do (or don’t do) certain things. This resource is welcome in our house!
2. Gives guidelines, but leaves lots of room for imagination.
While I do like the step-by-step crafts, I also like when a resource provides me with enough tools to set up the basic structure of a craft or activity, but then also leaves lots of room for imagination and improvisation. The directions for each game, activity, or craft is very clear, and easy to do even for those of us who aren’t really into crafts.
3. No ads.
Thank you! While we are ad-savvy here in our household, it doesn’t mean that our kids aren’t tempted to want the advertised items, even though they know that someone is just trying to sell them something!
There are several ways to purchase this magazine. You can purchase individual issues, a pack of past issues, or a subscription. They cost differently, depending on which way you chose and where you life (Australian customers are a bit cheaper, obviously, because of shipping and handling). Even for us U.S. customers, it is super reasonably priced.
If you don’t have the desire or funds to buy the magazine, no fret! You can also find some great FREE ideas on their blog: www.lottamagazine.com/Lotta/Blog/.
I liken this website to a party. A welcoming party that has stellar goodie bags. Whatever you find on it is available to download immediately. But warning, if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself needing to run to Target for a new ink cartridge for your printer! 😉
I love that everything on this super creative and you won’t find anything like it around the web. We downloaded a huge christmas tree to color over the holiday break that I found to be quite enjoyable myself. As one friend put it, “I found myself at the table still coloring long after my boys had moved on to something else.” Exactly.
They also have a bunch of flags from all over the world that you can print out to make bunting. I decided to print them and use them as flash cards to learn our flags. I know, a little lame, but for some reason, the kids love flags (they initiated the desire to learn the flags of the world!). Asante and I are learning the countries of the world, so I’ll probably do something fun with the flags to correspond with that as well. Finally, you could use them in Continent Bag studies.
Mr.Printables has everything from calendars to puppets to ABC/123/color-learning and party invitations. It’s hard to explain the beautifulness of this site. I actually can hardly believe that all of their site is free. They have an accompanying blog that you can subscribe too so that you don’t miss their new activities!
We do love our crayola products around here, but up until a few weeks ago, I had never visited their website, thinking it’d just try to sell me stuff. While it does have that on some sections, a TON of fun craft ideas can also be found here! (Psst- we’ll be featuring a couple in an upcoming post on Martin Luther King. Jr.)
In addition to craft and project ideas for kids of all ages (a good portion of the ideas could be for middle to late elementary school!), they also have free downloadable coloring pages, lesson plans, and articles for parents (and teachers) about creativity. I’ve been planning some more continent studies for the kids, and there are some really unique ideas found here!
One pertinent project: Construct your own football stadium!
I hope these websites will bring your family as much inspiration and fun on these cold, stay-inside kind of days as they have to mine!
**Thank you to Lotta Magazine for the free issues in exchange for an honest review! You have an incredible magazine- thanks for adding goodness to world through your creativity!
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