This craft was inspired by one of several St. Patrick's Day crafts posted by Elizabeth Lauren Art.
I was not brave enough to try this craft with my 5-year-old son who is not, shall we say, as creatively minded or patient. So I enlisted by 9-year-old daughter to try this out. It can be done with a younger child, with some patience and guidance.
This is a craft that all ages can enjoy. You can use Dot Paints or in our case, my 5-year-old used his fingers, to make a great keepsake.
A wonderful Father's Day craft for all ages. My son's preschool did this craft. I couldn't find the exact template so I made one with a different font for the words. You can download it here.
Here are alternatives for this craft that you can do as well:
Father's Day Rocket Ship Craft
This is a great Father's Day craft that kids of all ages will enjoy. Younger kids will need more assistance but they can do it. This craft was inspired by the rocket craft from All Kids Network.
1. Print out the template from All Kids Network and cut out (or have your child cut) the rocket ship and moon. I would have an adult cut the circle in the rocket to accommodate the photo.
2. Trace your child's hand (older kids can do this themselves) - one hand on orange paper and one hand on red paper. Then cut them out.
3. If you don't already have a photo on hand, then print one out.
4. Cut the photo to the proper size and tape it in position to the back of the rocket.
5. Have your child position the hands the way they want to look like flames. You may want to cut off the thumb at least, if not the thumb and pinky, to make it look right.
You can tape the flames to the back of the rocket and then glue the whole thing to the paper but it seemed unwieldy for my younger child. We found it easiest to position the rocket and flames where you want and then glue the flames in place on the paper and then glue the rocket.
6. Have your child write a message. In my 3 1/2-year old son's case, we shortened the message from "I Love you to the moon and back" to "I (heart) you" with a heart sticker because he can't write very well - see picture below.
7. Glue the moon. Place the star stickers where desired.
8. Decorate the rocket. My kids both chose self-adhesive gems but you can use any kind of foam or regular stickers or even draw a design. With my preschool-age son, we used the larger gems because they were easier for him to handle and place on the rocket all by himself. My elementary-school daughter had the dexterity to use the tiny gems.
Father's Day - Daddy & I Book
This is probably best for school-age kids to do for Father's Day or even for Daddy's birthday. My daughter did this in school but you can find the template to make your own from All Kids Network here. They had instructions for using string to hold the book together but you can also staple it.
Note: If you're more experienced with computers and printers you can double-side print pages 3-4 and 5-6. And swap pages 1-2 (using a photo editing program is easiest) and then you're down to two pages for the book and no cutting and string necessary. However, if your child uses markers then the images will bleed through.
Print the three template pages from All Kids Network and let your child draw and write what they're thinking. You might end up with some funny ones. Depending on your child's attention span, you might want to break this project up into mini sessions.
Mother's Day Handprint Flower
This is one of the easiest crafts we've ever done and makes a wonderful keepsake. I find using a sponge and paper plate for handprints is easiest but you don't have to do it that way.
1. Pour some paint on a paper plate and then dab the paint with a sponge (I get them at the dollar store).
2. Wipe off globs so you have an even covering on the sponge. Then blot the sponge on your child's hand. Or flip the sponge over on the plate (where there is no paint) and have your child place their hand on the sponge.
3. Have your child place their painted hand on the paper. (For younger children, you will need to guide them).
4. Then use the marker to draw a stem and, if desired, leaves.
5. Let dry. Then you have the perfect gift.
This is a great keepsake craft to give as a gift for Father's Day or a birthday or just because. There are other ways to apply handprints with paint but this is the way I prefer for slightly less mess.
1. Take first color of paint and put it on a paper plate. Use a paint brush or a sponge to apply the paint to your child's hand. Don't put too much on - just enough to cover the hand.
2. Help your child place their hand on the paper sideways.
3. Repeat with another color. (If you have more than one child, have each one do a handprint)
4. When all your fish are applied. Use your child's finger to make the bubbles, seaweed and eyes and mouths.
I almost always have left over paint after a craft like this. Instead of just tossing it, I let my kids mash their hands in the remaining paint to make their own crazy paintings (they often mix the colors together). Their work is not usually frame-worthy but they have fun and I feel less guilty about tossing the paint.
Hand Print Angel
* Piece of paper or card stock (white is best) - you might need a few pieces
* Craft paint (gold for wings and halo, other colors optional)
* Sponges (get a bunch from a Dollar Store)
* Paper Plates
* A few disposable rags or lots of paper towels
Note: I did this craft with my 5-year-old which I think is the ideal minimum age. If you try this with a younger child, I would recommend at least two adults help with this craft.
This craft, based on a project in The Usborne Big Book of Playtime Activities, can be messy and a little time consuming but it is worth the effort and makes a great keepsake.
1. Start with the "body" of the angel and apply your paint color to a paper plate. My daughter chose pink.
2. Rub the sponge on the plate and wipe off some excess and then place your child's hand on the sponge to apply the paint to his or her hand (this is like having a large ink pad).
3. Firmly place your child's painted hand in the center of the paper. If you don't get it right the first time, try again with a new piece.
4. Let the "body" dry for a few minutes; take this time to wipe off the excess paint.
(Note: You could do the wings first to prevent multiple hand cleanings, but you'd have to be pretty certain of your hand placements).
5. Assuming you've done the body hand print first, now apply your gold paint to another plate. Spread a sponge on the gold paint (You could use the other side of the first sponge but you will get very messy. For a cleaner option, rinse the first sponge or just use a new sponge for this color).
6. Press your child's hand onto the gold-painted sponge. Wipe off any excess and firmly apply the hand to the paper, slightly overlapping your "body" hand print.
7. Then apply your child's other hand to the gold-painted sponge (you may need to add some paint to the sponge). Press this hand to the other side of the "body."
8. Allow the paint to dry a little and wipe your child's hands off.
9. Rotate the paper so the fingers are pointed down.
10. Use a pale pink or cream paint (or whatever skin tone you'd prefer) and have your child finger paint a circle for the head and two finger prints for the hands. For younger kids, you can help guide them.
11. Dip your child's finger in whatever paint color you've chosen for the hair color and apply the hair around the head in a dot pattern.
12. Draw a face with your choice of colors for the eyes, nose and mouth. (A paintbrush might be best here and an adult might be needed for this part).
12. Use the gold paint and draw a halo. Small kids can use their finger or a paintbrush.
13. You can embellish the picture with other decorations such as stars which can be drawn with the finger or a paintbrush.
Fourth of July Flag
* sheet of construction paper
* red, white and blue paint
* wooden stick
* optional - star stickers
1. Take a sponge or paint brush and apply different colors to your child's fingers and palm
2. Then help your child place their hand on the paper
3. When the paint is dry, apply the stickers and glue the wooden stick to the paper
4. Your flag is now complete and you have a personalized memento.
Idea from the Middlesex Borough Recreation Department
Handprint Keepsake Ornament
Items Needed* Clay that can be baked (color optional; amount depends on the size of the hand) - note alternate materials below
* Baking pan
* Tin foil
* Clay knife or similar utensil
* Rolling pin for clay
* Depending on your child's age, an additional adult can be helpful
* Ribbon if you want it to be an ornament
* Access to an oven
It's not terribly expensive to buy a hand print ornament kit (the average price is $10), but you can do it for a fraction of the cost on your own, especially if you want to make more than one. In addition to making a hand print ornament as a gift for the grandparents (great for your baby's first Christmas) you can make your own hand print keepsakes inexpensively as your child grows.
Knead the clay and then roll it out onto your pan. I've done this several times so I actually have an old baking pan I use specifically for baking clay items. If you don't have a pan like that, then line it with tin foil and place your clay to be baked on top of that.
Roll the clay out to about 1/4 inch thick or so. You can make it a little thicker if in doubt. Roll out enough to have space around your child's hand. Sometimes if you flip it over the underside is smoother looking. Then have your child place - or help them place - their hand roughly in the center of the clay and push down. If the child is 3 or younger, you'll want to try and hold their hand down for a few seconds and gently push each digit into the clay just to be sure you get a full impression (of course your child's age, squirm factor and general attitude will play a large part). Then try to pull your child's hand straight out (note some younger kids will instinctively curl their fingers so pulling the hand back quickly helps avoid this).
If you don't like the impression, pull it off the pan, roll it into a ball and re-roll it for another try. If you do like it, then cut away any excess clay with the knife to make it a circular or oval shape. You can also use a clay tool or even a push pin to carve your child's name and/or the year. Also use the knife or clay tool to cut a small hole in the top for your ribbon later.
Cook it in your oven to the temp and time frame recommended on the clay package. Once it's cooled, tie your ribbon.
For an extra creative boost, wrap your gift in hand print paper.
Other tips and ideas:
* If you want to have keepsakes of your child's growth, buy the air-dry or baking clay in different colors and you can do their hand and foot prints at different milestones - 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and so on. At the two-year mark, I did my daughter's hand impression for that milestone, 2 1/2 and 3 years and then switched to paint hand prints as they're easier to store.
* If you use the air-dry or baking clay in colors instead of plain white, then buy at least two packs per color. I liked using a different color for each milestone (ie blue for 3 months, then green for 6 months) and as your child grows, you will need at least 2 packets (if that's how you buy the clay) for one hand or foot. You can buy white in a big box but be sure to put the excess in a zip lock bag or it could dry out before you're ready to use it again.
* You can get a shadow box to display the prints or just keep them in a nice decorative box. You can also mount them on a wall or place on a decorative shelf.
Sandra K. Lee is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom with a 8-year-old princess & a 4-year-old superhero in Middlesex County, New Jersey.