Arts and crafts party for kids: Recycled crafts, DIY children's craft projects

Kids love playing in snow. But below-zero winter wind chills force parents to keep kids in the house. Schools cancel recess if it's too cold. Excess time spent cooped up, makes for restless, irritable children. Looking for cheap, indoor activities for bored, winterbound kids? How about an arts and crafts party for kids? Here are cheap recycled crafts and children's craft projects to occupy sick, snowbound or bored kids.

Call it a party, something like "Crafstravaganza"! Stuck-inside kids need distractions, especially if they're stuck inside because they're sick. There's nothing like a party to distract children and nothing like a splashy name to make an arts and crafts party of kids really pop! Plan arts and crafts activities that sick kids can participate in. Even planning the arts and crafts party will give kids something to look forward to.

Keep it simple. As a homeschooling mom of four, I never needed an excuse to have a party for kids. But living on a shoestring, one learned to squeeze the most fun from cheap, homemade children's craft projects. There's no need to spend a cent as this is a recycled crafts party for kids. If you're snowed in, you can't get out anyway. All you need are a few basic supplies for free recycled crafts galore!

Prepare to get messy. Cover the craft projects area, floor, table and any furniture you don't want to get messy. Use an old sheet, shower curtain or tablecloth to take recycled crafts one step greener. Dress kids in old clothes or art shirts made from dad's old clothes. Or cut the bottom out of plastic grocery bags and put over kids' clothes like tank tops (only use this method for older kids who won't be in danger of swallowing plastic.)

Assemble supplies for children's craft projects. A basic arts and crafts party for kids requires only scissors, glue or glue sticks, something to color with (markers, crayons, colored pencils) and assorted recycled junk. Haul out egg cartons, cereal boxes, lids, jars, containers, packing peanuts, paper, foil and plastic. If you have fancier art supplies, use those. Feathers, faux gems, stamps, clay, beads, stickers, pom-poms, buttons and yarn. Set out any construction paper, wrapping paper and scrapbook supplies. Let kids use decoratively-edged scissors or shaped paper punches.

Choose a theme for your recycled crafts party for kids. Read a story and make children's craft projects that correlate with the book. Or assign kids to make collages or designs from recycled materials. Themes might be: dinosaurs, vehicles, inventions, fantasy creatures, circus, aliens, robots, rainforest animals, zoo animals, trains. Display creations when done. Stuck for ideas?

Serve snacks. What's a party for kids without treats? Match foods served to children's craft projects theme. Zoo theme: fudge striped cookies, shaped fruit snacks, animal "fodder" (carrots and celery), Little Debbie Zebra Cakes, gator swamp juice (limeade), Cheetah Cheese Crackers, finger sandwiches cut with shaped cookie cutters, fish crackers. Or have arts and crafts party themed snacks--edible paintbrushes (scallions spread with cream cheese and wrapped in lunch meat), markers (pretzel sticks dipped in frosting), artist palette cookies (large round cookies with different colored M&Ms around the edge), edible playdough (peanut butter, honey, oatmeal, crushed Cheerios or Corn Flakes, raisins) and drinkable paint (milk colored with fruit juice). Kids should help with cleanup. That's part of party planning too. Using these ideas, your crafts-travaganza will be an oft-requested event!