Craft Ideas

One of the best times of the day in a daycare facility is crafts time. Kids love the opportunity to create something new and fun. They get to use their imagination, they learn new things (especially colors and shapes), and they have something they made themselves to take home to mom. A well-equipped daycare facility has a good supply of basics to ensure that craft time isn't short-changed for lack of materials.

The Basics

Start with a large plastic contain with a lid - one large enough to hold these basics:

· plain white drawing paper

· a few pads of construction paper

· good selection of felt and foam sheets in popular colors

· craft paints in black, white and the three primary colors (red, blue and yellow)

· crayons

· white craft glue

· glue sticks

· children's blunt edge scissors

· a few paint brushes

· clean sponge

· extra things like pipe cleaners, small paper plates, wiggly eyes and craft sticks for special crafts that are fun to make.

Expanding the Treasures

It probably won't be too long before you find yourself needing a second box to hold the extra items for your craft collection. You may want to purchase paints in more colors, Sharpie markers, colored pencils, and decorative scissors. Add some cookie cutters and you've just extended the possibilities endlessly. Now you'll need glitter glues, craft jewels, beads and ribbon.

If you're going to help your kids make Valentines Cards or special cards for their parents, then the additions to the treasure chest are multiple: colored toothpicks, pom-poms in different sizes and colors, feathers, and tissue paper. A bottle of textile medium converts ordinary craft paint into fabric paint, and sealer spray coats all of the painted items. Magnets are a great addition.

Many craft projects rely on stuff you'd normally throw away. Glass jars, tin cans and plastic containers, cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls and paper towels, empty egg cartons, juice can lids; shoe boxes and flat pieces of cardboard are all materials waiting to be converted into magnificent pieces of art by the kids in your daycare.

Taking the kids on a trip to the back yard can yield some great items for crafting projects. Smooth rocks and pebbles provide a great canvas for paint and glue on items. Shells and dried flowers, sticks, twigs and acorns, pinecones and leaves are all items from nature that make wonderful crafts.

Crafts for Tiny Ones

If you are caring for tiny ones who aren't quite nimble enough for coloring and cutting, there are some great crafts that work well for that age group. You'll need to stock your craft box with play dough and macaroni, colorful feathers, raisins, stickers, balloons, rubber bands and tin foil, along with much of the same kinds of things you'd put in the box for older kids.

Try some of these fun crafts for little ones:

· Fancy birds are made by sticking colorful feathers into play dough. Some uncooked macaroni makes a beak and raisins serve as eyes.

· Sticker pictures can be a good way to teach hand-eye coordination, shapes and colors. Draw a simple shape using dots on a piece of paper. Encourage the children to stick stickers over the dots to form the shape.

· Make play money by cutting circles from cardboard and covering them with tinfoil. Put them in a bag and you've got a coin purse.

· To make a squishy octopus, partially blow up a balloon and draw a face on it. Then, tape eight lengths of fancy ribbon to the balloon to form the tentacles.

· Little ones love the sound of crinkly paper. To make a crinkly ball, scrunch up cellophane paper and stretch rubber bands over the top to form a ball.

· What little kids don't love to get his hands into paint? Use water base paint to make colorful handprints on large pieces of paper. This craft is not only fun for the kids, but it's a great keepsake for the mothers as well.