Crafternoon: 5 Projects to Help Make the Afternoon Fly By

IMG_1354-01In my opinion, the longest and hardest part of the day is between nap and bedtime. You’ve already done the day’s outing, you’ve already let the kids watch TV, and you know it’s bad for their eyes if they sit in front of the computer to play games any longer. But you’re tired, oh soooo tired. Here are a couple (easy!) projects to help the time go by.

5. Pretzel Sparklers. Breezy Mama Laura told me about these–it kept the kids busy for at least a half hour. And, they are perfect for the upcoming 4th of July holiday.

What you need:
pretzel rods
marshmallow topping
multi-colored sprinkles

What you do:
Give each kid one rod to start with. They dip it in the marshmallow topping, and then roll it in the sprinkles. And now you have a sparkler! If you really want to kill more time–let loose and let the kids dip and sprinkle themselves. Since you’re not supervising (closely that is) you can enjoy your afternoon coffee.

4. Nature Walk Collages. Perfect because not only does it get you out of the house, but gives you a bit of exercise as well.

What you need:
basket for collecting
one sheet (per kid) of construction paper

What you do:
Go on a walk around your neighborhood and have your child(ren) collect things along the way–leaves, berries, twigs, flowers, etc. Come home and have them glue their findings on paper. If they are older, they can make a “scene” with the pieces that they’ve collected.

3. Paper Plate Shakers. (See photo above.) This project is super easy to create–I first did it with one-year-olds.

What you need:
two paper plates
pens, crayons, paint, or stickers for decorating
three cut ribbons, about 12 inches in length
handful of Rice Krispie cereal, uncooked rice, or birdseed

What you do:
Have the kids decorate the UNDERSIDE of the plates. Staple the ribbon on one of the TOPSIDE’s of a plate. Put the rice (or whichever material you are using) on one of the plates. Put the other plate on top (so the TOPSIDE’s would be facing each other) and staple. Shake away.

2. Peanut Butter Birdseed Pine Cones. Another project from Breezy Mama Laura. This can really eat up some time as it is a two-step process.

What you need:
pinecones (number one of the two steps–you can go on a walk and collect these first)
peanut butter

What you do:
Spread the pine cones with peanut butter. Then, sprinkle the pine cones with the birdseed. Next, tie some string to the ‘cones, and hang in a tree, bush, or on a fence. Stand back and watch the animals (yes, animals! The squirrels and raccoons will love these as well.) come feast.

1. Rock Paperweights. Ever notice that kids love to collect rocks? Put that skill to new use by making these paperweights. Another idea is to make them into ladybugs–my mom always did this project as a Father’s Day gift in her second grade class.

What you need:
paint brushes

What you do:
Have the kids pick and paint a rock. Then let it dry. Done!

breezy_deal1Breezy Mama Note: Since I grew up on the beach, this was a constant project in our house. Not only do the rocks work as paperweights, but you can also use them as door stoppers, bookends, garden decor–you name it. You can still find these all around my parents house.

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  1. I LOVED these ideas, Alex! Thanks! I can’t stand the afternoons from 2 to 5. They can be SO BRUTAL. I will definitely try these ides!

  2. These are great ideas!
    My almost 4 year old loves to play w/ Dixie Cups of all things. He can carry 200 at a time plus it’s easy and quick to clean-up. He’ll stack & hide them like Easter Eggs. He also loves to put a laundry basket at the bottom of our stairwell and then slide the cups down the rail trying to catch as many as he can.
    Another thing that keeps him occupied is bubble wrap. You can find it in all colors. Happy popping!

  3. This is perfect! We actually collected a pine cone recently but I couldn’t remember how to make the bird feeder. And we have a guest coming over tonight and dads are on duty, I can’t wait for them to try some of these. heh heh

  4. My, what cute one year olds! Love all your ideas, it’s raining this afternoon so I think the paper plate shakers have our name on them today.


  1. Breezy Mama says:

    […] Crafternoon: 5 Projects to Help Make the Afternoon Fly By, Written by Alex […]

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