- Salt Dough Crafts
Salt dough is a non-toxic and technically edible dough that can be used just like Play-Dough, although it may not be a tasty (or healthy) treat, given its salt content. It is made from just three ingredients available in virtually every household; this project is easy for any rainy day or scheduled activity. You can save your child’s creations by baking, or mush them back into a dough that can be saved in a plastic container for another play session. Enhance the experience by adding food coloring before mixing or let children paint their baked creations later. Choices are limited only by imagination.
- Pudding Painting
Painting parties have never been so much fun or quite so delicious! All you need is a shower curtain liner and food coloring, and then use dyed pudding as the medium for your young artist. Add an extra shower curtain for floor protection, some choice kitchen utensils for “brushes,” and you’re set. Clean up is easy with a garden hose.
- Cotton Round Splatter Painting
Get those extra shower curtain liners out again! You’re going to need them for this fun project that enhances gross motor skills. A little non-toxic paint, some cotton rounds, butcher paper, and a mallet are all you need for some supervised fun.
- Empathy Bracelets
Although this activity calls for a specific book to teach empathy, parents could read any book about feelings to their child or could just talk about feelings. The concept allows the child to assign each emotion a bead color. Then the child creates a bracelet to put them all together.
- Sensory Discovery Bottles
Hugely popular in the sensory play world, sensory discovery bottles are easy to make. There are true discovery bottles where a multitude of items are included in the mix of tumbling shiny objects, and there are slow falling bottles where beads seem nearly suspended in time as they fall in slow motion. You can add various ingredients to make sensory bottles look like lava lamps from the 1970s or magical fairy dust worthy of any fairy princess. They are inexpensive and fun to make. Don’t forget to superglue the tops of bottles closed so that small hands won’t be tempted to open and get a bit better acquainted with their bottles’ contents.
- Water Beads
These floral design tools feel like soft and squishy marbles. They are useful for an assortment of applications, from simple play to sensory bins, or you can freeze them for an entirely different texture. Beads are meant for use in flower arrangements, so, although they are not toxic, don’t let your child consume them.
- Fidget Bracelet
Children, who experience the need to move, whether from OCD, ADD, autism, anxiety, or something else, can benefit from the calming influence of something to use to channel that excess energy. Meanwhile, they do not disturb those near them with noises or an excess of motion. This fidget bracelet is a beautiful piece of jewelry that can be upgraded with the use of quality gemstone beads. While appearing as simple jewelry, it is a fun and functional craft project that travels with a child.
- Bead Box
This homemade version of a bead box is a therapy tool for autistic children, but it is a tool your child can participate in creating. Bead chains are great for sensory input and, with a little ingenuity; you can create your own.
- Slime Recipes
Homemade slime is one of the hottest children’s craft projects circulating on the internet this year. There are probably as many recipes for the slime as there are children making it. Get out those shower liners again. This one will be messy, but its great fun that it promises to be a win.
- Taste-Safe Sensory Rainbow
While shaving cream is used in many sensory play projects, this finger painting features whipped cream. So, if your child has a propensity to taste his or her work, this one is completely safe, albeit sticky.
- Sand and Water Ocean Sensory Bin
Sensory bins are so adaptable. This one brings the beach home. Kids can have fun digging in the sand and playing in the water while learning about an ocean habitat.
- Graffiti Art for Kids
For children who might not like to get their hands full of paint or who might be frustrated by the lack of fine motor skills required to paint, this graffiti art project is perfect—and it’s just plain fun.