Plan ahead for rainy days. With projects in mind and supplies on hand, you and the kids will welcome the storm clouds.
Save old magazines and let the children make collages about some aspect of their lives--favorite sports, favorite foods, favorite places. Or they can make collages about what they want to be "when I grow up."
For a banner or giant picture, unfurl a roll of brown wrapping paper and let the kids create a super-sized art project using markers, paints, and three-dimensional objects such as yarn, fabric, and dried macaroni.
Pull out old, "rejected" photographs of the kids. Let them cut them up and paste them into a homemade scrapbook for the "story of my life."
Send the kids outside to collect flowers and leaves. Dry them with paper towels, if necessary, and then press them between sheets of wax paper. Use the dried items in future collages.
Let the children collect small sticks, pebbles, feathers, leaves and flowers to tape or glue to cardboard for nature studies.
Make homemade play dough. Add food coloring to the whole batch or small portions and let the kids at it. You can also color the dough with Kool-Aid.
Homemade Play Dough
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup water
A few drops of food coloring
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the dough thickens and holds together in a mass. Remove from the heat and let the dough cool. Turn out onto a work surface and knead several times until soft, pliable and smooth. Use immediately or store in an airtight plastic container.
Store supplies in a large drawer in the family room or kitchen. Plastic bins that stack or slide under tables are good choices, too.
Supplies to have on hand include: crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint brushes, water-based paints, odd pieces of fabric, yarn, sequins and stars, stencils, and modeling clay.
Also have blunt-nosed scissors, glue sticks, construction paper, rolls of brown paper and pads of plain paper. Keep stacks of recycled paper with nothing on the one side for impromptu drawing and coloring.
Buy a few arts and crafts book for more ideas. Let the kids blow your mind with their creativity!