Get crafty with the kids

Every time I watch Play School with my children I feel inspired by the craft – “Oh look! They’ve made an African grasslands diorama from a cereal box! And a hinterland from some yogurt containers!” Yet when it comes to doing something similar with my own kids, I’m usually fresh out of clever project ideas. Luckily Mrs Pancake can lend a helping, crafty hand.

Mrs Pancake is a website billed as ‘the home of brilliant educational doodads for teachers, parents and children’ and indeed it offers an enormous range of projects and activities to please kids aged approximately four years and over. There is everything from colour mixing charts, animal masks, seasonal craft activities, posters to make and much more. Activities are sorted into categories including numeracy, literacy and by specific topics so you can quickly zero in on an animal themed counting project or a fairytale castle diorama.

Mrs Pancake asks that you make a donation for the ‘doodads’ that you download – you can pay whatever you think they are worth although a suggested amount is noted for each resource, generally less than a dollar per item.

If you feel the need for a weekly dose of craft inspiration, the Kids Craft Weekly is a free newsletter that delivers heaps of fun ideas straight to your inbox. The focus is on projects that can be completed using materials found around the house and all are road tested by creator Amber Carvan’s own children.

There are lots of printables and links to free craft activities but the real appeal is in the newsletter and Carvan’s charming pictures of kids hard at ‘work’ and having fun. Carvan also has some great articles on her site including ‘What to do with all this art’ and a guide to putting together the essential useful box (or busy-box for Play School aficionados). Activities range from making maracas and veggie prints through to simple cutting and pasting projects.

What I like about Kids Craft Weekly is that all the projects have a rustic, ‘hands-on’ appeal and better still, are achievable.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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