Red Tent Survival Guide: 8 Easy Crafts For Tired Mamas and Crafty Kids

Look, I love a hot glue gun as much as the next Pinterest-browsing girl, but I’m not gonna lie: on Friday, when Ella goes to daycare, I faint a little bit with relief.

“Mummy, can we do some crafts?” she asks almost every day, and even though I love love love that my kid is crafty, I get very quickly short on ideas. Besides, I’m like, really tired. Not sure if I mentioned that.

Here are 8 easy craft ideas for tired mamas and crafty kids.

1. The Craft Station


This is permanently set up in our home. Glue stick, buttons, glitter, child-friendly scissors, stickers, paper bits. Ella just goes to her craft table whenever she’s bored and starts cutting and glueing and sticking and I don’t even have to supervise her. There ends up piles of glitter on the floor, but you’ve got a vacuum cleaner, right? No biggie.


2. DIY Necklaces



We made these a week or two ago from assorted beads and thin elastic from the $2 shop. It’s a great activity to develop fine motor skills, but more than that, Ella loved it, and we made gifts for her teacher and best friend and surprised them both the next day. On the Parent Involvement Scale, it’s about a 3, so a good one for the days you’re really not feeling it.


3. Home-made Play Dough


Super easy. Super messy. Go outside to make it or line your surface area with butcher’s paper for a quick clean up. My kids loved his one, and even if they pull a swift one and shove some in their mouth *cough* Billy *cough*, it’s just a bit of flour. Eat away, buddy! Might save me making you some lunch!


How to make: 1 cup of cold water, 1 cup of salt, 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil, 3 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of cornflour – mix together and then divide into bowls depending on how many different colours you want. Mix in food colouring and knead away, adding more water or flour as needed.


4. Stick Painting


Painting is fun, but it gets predictable when there’s just boring old paper to paint on. Gather a few sticks from around the place, set out some paints and have your kids paint them. You can even turn them into a mobile to decorate their rooms if you’re feeling extra creative. Parent Involvement Level = 1. It’s a Monday kind of activity.


5. Pet Rocks



Okay, so this might take a little more planning, but the next time you’re at the $2 shop, stock up on some crafty bits and bobs you can turn into pet rocks when the mood hits. Thin craft wire for glasses, curly hair, googly eyes…help your kids make a whole tribe of quirky characters they can play with.

I got an unusual amount of thrill making them, especially when I upped the ante and made them a little home, too. That Baby Lou? She’s everyone’s favourite.




6. Potato Stamps


This is another version of “let’s paint” that is more interesting for kids – and you. Billy actually loved this one the most, and there was less mess-hovering I had to concern myself with as opposed to paint brushes and big dollops of paint.

Just grab a potato, cut it in half and then carve a shape into it, cutting off its edges. With a paintbrush, brush on a little paint to the stamp and then pass it to your child to play with.


7. Activity Packs


Scour $2 shops for cheap activity packs your child can craft with. Most stores have a range of crafts like make-your-own doll, mug painting, puppet making, etc. Stock up on a few while you’re in there then whip them out the next time your child wants something new to make and you’re too tired to think.


8. Chalk, Chalk, Chalk


I set my kids up with a bucket of chalk on our driveway all the time. Half goes in Billy’s mouth but whatever. He’ll get the gist one day.

Roads, hopscotch, rainbows and flowers (Ella’s request) – there are stacks of things you can draw for them to keep them engaged, or just pass them the bucket and let them draw on their own.


And if all else fails, just let them watch Playschool. They do crafts on that show, right?


3 Responses to “Red Tent Survival Guide: 8 Easy Crafts For Tired Mamas and Crafty Kids”

  1. Christina Howes

    You inspired me Rachel!! I had a kind of mish mash of stuff for our craft activities as my boys love it. Now i have a dedicated corner for them and they are so happy with it. Thank you!


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