Easy At-Home Activities to Inspire Your Child’s Curiosity and Creativity
By Patricia Narciso
Looking for something to do with your kids today? Maybe you don’t have to leave home to surprise and delight your young learner. You probably have plenty of supplies right at your fingertips that you can use to embark on a fun afternoon of exploration and art.
You can encourage your child to explore colors and combine materials creating a suncatcher collage. As little fingers manipulate materials to create the artwork, they are also gaining fine muscle control! All you need is clear contact paper for a canvas (cut it into a fun shape such as a circle or diamond), and different materials around the house such as tissue paper, flowers, ribbon, etc. for the composition. Your child chooses which materials and how to arrange them on the contact paper canvas. You attach a loop of string and hang the masterpiece in a window to catch the sunshine!
This activity gives you the opportunity to talk with your child about colors, shapes, and textures. You can also make observations about how the child is using the materials; e.g., “I see you are placing the materials on top of each other.” Some children will find taking items off of the contact paper more interesting than putting them on — perhaps your young artist is a minimalist! Displaying your child’s artwork in a window demonstrates your family’s appreciation and provides a new perspective on the artwork.
Want to inspire the science explorer in your child? Why not explore the properties of ice. Ice changes as it is exposed to below-freezing temperatures, giving your child a chance to observe its scientific properties as it changes from solid to liquid. Use a plastic container or even a water balloon to freeze a chunk of ice. Put it on a tray or in a rectangular cake pan, and set it in front of your child. You can ask: “How does the ice feel?” “Why do you think the ice getting smaller?” “Where did all this water come from?” Bring out a flashlight or magnifying glass to see what happens when you shine a light or enlarge the appearance of your block of ice.
Further observations can be made with simple additional activities. For example, provide your child with an eyedropper with a few drops of watercolor or food coloring. Watch as the colors drip onto the ice. “What do you see?” “How is the ice changing?” Or you can give your child a few pieces of rock salt. Watch together as it creates large holes in the ice. “What do you think would happen if we turned the ice over? Do you think the other side will be bumpy, too?”
Other fun at-home activities include using brushes or fingers to paint on a slick, shiny canvas of aluminum foil; utilizing a salad spinner and colorful tempera paint to make a spin art design; or substituting objects such as leaves, buttons, spikey koosh balls, cotton balls, or sticks for a paintbrush to create unique designs. Tried-and-true art projects using paints, brushes, and a paper canvas work great, too. Or you can go outdoors, find some dirt and mix with water. Let the sculpting begin.
Maybe you don’t want to prepare materials or make a mess at home today. (But really, you should, because you’ll have great memories and Instagram posts!) You can always visit your nearest children’s museum — you’ll find amazing art and science exploration activities to enjoy every day!
Patricia Narciso is the Museum’s Director of Development & Marketing