Make it easier for your children to "create" by filling a box that's just for them with craft supplies. The box is theirs to use however they wish, with no need to ask permission. The only rules are that they must lay out the small plastic table cloth before starting, and when finished, they must clean up the mess.
Your children will enjoy helping to make the craft box. Involve them in gathering materials for the box and in filling it. Take them on a shopping trip for the box, or let them scout around the house for recyclables that can be used in their creative endeavors.
Read through the project, then gather the materials needed for making the children's craft box. A banker's box (archive box) with a removable lid works well as a craft box. These boxes (10" x 12" x 15" / about 250 x 400 x 300 mm) can be found in packs of two or more at "big box" or office supply stores for a reasonable price. Of course, any medium-sized box (at least 6" x 12" x 12") with a removable lid will work; just be sure that the construction paper will lie flat inside and that there is plenty of room for everything.
An inexpensive plastic tablecloth will pack nicely inside the box and keep everything neat and tidy during craft time. You can also purchase a yard or so of oilcloth or vinyl and use that as a crafting mat.
Keep in mind the age, abilities, and interests of the children when selecting supplies for the box. For example, thick crayons and markers are best for preschool children, while the supplies should be limited in number and any small items avoided.
You might start with a box that contains just these basic supplies and later add items to enhance creativity. The basic supplies for the craft box are:
Adding a variety of "extras" to the craft box will give your child more creative options. It's not necessary for the box to have all these items or to be limited to this list. For example, if a child has an interest in making clothes for dolls, the box can be tailored toward sewing items. Here are ideas for items to add to the box:
Place the basic supplies, other than the paper and yarn, into a large zipper bag or a pencil box. Put the yarn, string, lace, ribbons, and rickrack into a plastic bag. Put the snips of paper into one baggie, or divide them by color into several bags. Put the other items into one bag, or sort them by type into a few bags.
Keeping the supplies and tools organized will make the box easier to use. It will also be easy to spot when any supply is running low.
Larger items like the paper, pipe cleaners, and ruler can be left loose or placed in large mailing envelopes.
Place the paper in the bottom of the box, along with the tablecloth. Next, layer in the larger items.
Finally, layer in the envelopes, smaller items and all the bags of odds and ends.
Put the lid on the box and label the outside "Craft Box"—you might add the children's names, too.
That's it! The craft box is ready to use!
Your children can get started on their own or with these