Open-ended Crafting

An invitation to create - open ended arts & crafts for kids.

There is a lot of negative feedback these days regarding crafting with children. I have been on the receiving end of some of this criticism. While I fully believe in the benefits of process art. I do not find anything wrong in doing arts and crafts with her too. We practice both. We have been painting, drawing and crafting together since before she was out of a high chair.


Through the years, we have worked with many different materials. In the beginning, I showed her many different crafts. If she was interested, we would work together and I would show her the different things that she could do. It opened her mind to many new options and ideas. My daughter has a beautifully creative mind. She draws freely everyday and paints pictures too, but still, she loves our craft time together.

Over the years, my daughter started to come up with many of our projects on her own. She has great ideas. I am sometimes in awe of the things that she comes up with. Check out the video I took of her latest idea.

Over the weekend, I filled up a tray with assorted craft supplies & just put them down on our craft table. Invitation accepted.


She jumped up and started grabbing at the supplies. “Mama, I need these,” she explained as she grabbed for the scissors. She started cutting and gluing and telling me all about her craft as created. She wanted to make a mama and baby alien.

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She gave her baby a button for a binky & debated on hair, but decided that she was going to have a bald baby.


She glued her little alien baby to her mama’s arms. “Isn’t she cute, mama?”


Next, she used magic markers to color in craft sticks and the cut foam pieces and glued them to her sticks with buttons.


She explained to me that this was her Kazoo store. That had me in stitches.


As usual, she was fascinating to watch.

She even made a bracelet out of a pipe cleaner and buttons for me.


I look forward to many more years of crafting, painting and exchanging ideas with my daughter.

Open Ended Arts & Crafts for kids - invitation to create

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Shape Inspiration Drawings

A great activity to inspire your little artists - Shape Inspiration drawings - imagination art

My daughter and I sort of have a set evening routine. I come home from work, we eat supper together as a family, we talk about our days & then my little girl and I head to the craft bin. Some nights she wants to craft with me, on others, she wants to craft on her own & some days, she just wants to draw.

Last night, she pulled out some old scraps from a cupcake liner that we had cut up for a craft. She looked at the liner for a minute & then said to me “Mama, this looks like a tutu. Let’s make a girl out of this.” She glued it down on a piece of paper & I took some of the other remnants and made a bow with it and placed it where a head might be. Mai squealed & took the paper & began drawing her girl. She drew in the face, the hair, legs & high-heeled shoes, like mommy has.

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She was very excited when she was done.


This simple activity sparked me to want to try more shapes and see what she did with them.

I glued down a triangle & a rectangle. In my mind, when I envisioned this, I pictured her creating a house. Her perception of these shapes was different from my own.


I watched her fascinated, as I realized that she was creating a well.


It is amazing to watch a young mind work.


Next, I gave her two circles.


She drew up a storm on this one.


Mai offered me a very detailed description of what was happening in her drawing. This was a garbage truck & all the garbage guys we going to work.


The last one that we made was just 2 yellow cupcake liners glued diagonal from one another.


Mai saw a baby chick in this one.


Her cute craft & imagination inspired mommy to make a cupcake liner chick of her own.

Cupcake Liner Chick Craft - easy kid's crafts

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Foam Shape Magnets For Imagination Play

DIY foam shape magnets. These are great for creative and imagination play. Easy to make - kid's arts, crafts and activities.

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We like to work with shapes a lot in our home.  My daughter loves creating with shapes & I love watching her. Her imagination is flourishing & it is an amazing thing to see. We use these shapes to make abstract art, holiday crafts & we even use them for imagination play in the bath. Last night, my daughter came across a photo of shape magnets for kids in one of her kid’s magazines.. Her eyes automatically lit up. “Mama, I want these.” My eyes lit up too when I realized that I could make them myself at home.

Foam Shape Magnets

What you will need:

Different colored foam sheets

Magnet strips

Glue gun


Cut several different shapes in different sizes out of the foam. I use foam a lot for crafts, so I luckily had a big bag of scraps left over.



Cut several pieces of magnets and set them aside.


Use a glue gun to glue the magnet pieces to the back of the foam pieces & let the glue dry.


Put your shapes on the refrigerator & let your child go.

IMG_8832 Foam Shape Magnets for imagination play

This was a fantastic activity for her. She was so excited & happy as she created pictures out of her shapes. She showed me each one & told me the story about each creation.

This one was a milkshake with a straw.


She worked on her tippy toes to form this one, which was a girl flying a kite at night.



This one was me holding an ice cream cone.


This kept her happy & entertained up until bedtime.

The magnets were pretty simple to make, but you can always purchase a set of shape magnets too. They would make a great gift for an imaginative toddler in your life.

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DIY foam shape magnets. These are great for creative and imagination play. Easy to make - kid's arts, crafts and activities.



White-Out Resist Painting

White Out Resist Painting


Yesterday we found ourselves in a little bit of a dilemma. We did not have any childcare for our daughter. I was just returning from being out for a full week after my gall bladder surgery & my husband could not take the day off either. We were not sure what we were going to do. My brother-in-law volunteered to take her, but would not be able to get her until the afternoon, so I asked my work if I could bring my daughter to work for a few hours in the morning. They said “No problem”, so Mai came to work with me.

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Foam Tub Clings

If you have a toddler or a small child, you know the importance of routines. We have had the same bedtime routine with our daughter for the majority of her young life. Somewhere around 7:30 she brushes her teeth, takes a bath & gets in her jammies. We read some books, rock & then tuck her in for bed. As she has gotten older she has made some subtle adjustments to her routine.

easy to make foam tub clings for kids - did you know that foam clings when it is wet? Great for a creative and fun activity for toddlers and preschoolers during bath time.

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In lieu of books, she now prefers to be read Highlights magazines, lots of them. At the end of every magazine there are usually games, activities & recipes for the kids to do. In a recent edition, I came across a great idea.

Highlights High Five Magazine - Great for toddlers and preschoolers

Did you know that foam will stick to the side of a tub when it is wet? I did not either. We work with foam sheets for crafting all the time, so I had plenty of it to experiment with. I cut out different colored shapes & showed my daughter how to dip it in the water & stick it to the side of the tub. She let her imagination go from there. She sent me out of the bathroom a few times to cut more foam. She had special requests for certain shapes so that she could finish her masterpieces.



Mai made a sideways & colorful snowman, a man in a hat & scarf and just a square.


Here she created a princess castle & a Minnie Mouse.


She had so much fun with the shapes that I could not get her out of the tub. I had a pruny footed toddler at bedtime, but she sure did have fun.

Christmas Pasta Crafts


My love for pasta crafts needs no intro. If you follow me regularly, you already know about my many boxes of pasta set aside just for projects such as these. This weekend we spent 2 days making crafts out of a variety of pasta for the latest article that we were doing in this month’s SEEK. I have to admit, we got a bit carried away. I could not stop once we started.

For these crafts you will need assorted pasta, Elmer’s school glue or a glue gun (for adult use only), paint, glitter & some ribbon

Pasta wreath

Pasta needed:

Bow ties

Place your pasta on wax paper & glue bow ties in a circle as seen below. Let dry. Paint the wreath in green & paint 3 more bow ties in red. Let dry & then glue the red bows to the wreath. Attach a bow, string or pipe cleaner around the wreath to hang.




Pasta snowflake

Pastas needed:


Wagon wheels



Place your pasta on wax paper & glue as seen below. Let the glue dry. In a small container mix the school glue with a few drops of water to thin out the glue. Paint the entire assembled snowflake with the mixture & the sprinkle with glitter. Let the glue dry & flip over. Attach a ribbon with glue to form an ornament,

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Pasta Ornaments

Pasta needed:

Large shells (stuffed shells pasta shells)

Wagon wheel pasta

Elbow macaroni

Glue a wagon wheel on top of the flattest end of a pasta shell. Glue an elbow to the top of the wagon wheel. It should form a half circle hole.

Paint your ornaments in colors of your choice. Let dry completely. Using glue draw an ornament design on your shell. Shake glitter over the top. Let dry & then shake off excess glitter. String a ribbon or string through the hole.

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Pasta Rudolph 

Pasta needed:

Large shell

bow ties

Elbow macaroni

Medium sized shells

Uncooked chick pea for the nose

Googly eyes

Paint both sized shells brown. Paint the bow ties and elbows in black. Attach the pasta as pictured. Add the googly eyes & a red painted chickpea for his nose.



Please stop in & visit us at Seek and check out our latest article. Fun With Pasta Crafts


Foam Shapes For Imagination & Creative Play


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It is funny how before you have a child, you take for granted the little things like having a few moments of privacy while you are on the toilet. It is very rare for me to be able to use the bathroom in private, so it was no surprise to me when my daughter came barreling in on me today when I was on the toilet.

Mai: “Mama, mama!”

Me: “Yes Baby!”

Mai: “Come look, I made Mickey Mouse.”

Me: “Ummmm, Ok, give mommy a minute.”

I could sense my daughter’s excitement, so I got out to the living room as fast as I could to see what it was that she was so excited about.

“Look Mama!”, she said to me pointing at the coffee table & beaming with pride. There on the table were 3 golf balls arranged in such a way that it resembled the shape of Mickey Mouse.

This was the picture I took with my phone, so that I could text it to my husband.

I thought this was amazing. I loved that her young mind was able think & create in this manner. This is something that I want to cultivate in my child & watch as it grows. I wondered what other creations might be brewing in that little brain of hers. This gave mommy an idea for an activity that we could do together. Since it turned out to be a dark & rainy day & all of our outdoor activities were cancelled, it seemed like the perfect thing for a boring rainy day.

I grabbed some different colored foam sheets from our craft bin & cut several different shapes of varying sizes and colors. I cut out circles, triangles, ovals, diamonds, squares, rectangles & crescent shapes.


We laid them down on the floor. Immediately Mai jumped into them.


First she was just excited to share with me the shape names & the colors. I then grabbed 3 circles & copied her previous pattern with the circles & showed her that we could make Mickey Mouse with these shapes too. This intrigued her. She started grabbing at the shapes and laying down different patterns explaining to me her thought process as she went. “Look Mama, I make a club house.”

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“You most certainly did. It is beautiful.”

I always like to play alongside her as well. As much as she likes to create, she like to learn new things just as much. She studies and absorbs everything & often is happy just to watch me as I do an activity. This is how she learned all her US states at only 2 years old. She simply would watch as I did a United States puzzle & named off each state as I placed them.

With my shapes I decided to start with a bus. The road that the bus is riding on was Mai’s idea.


Together we made pyramids, fish, a Christmas tree, a princess castle & decorated a birthday cake. It was wonderful to watch & listen to her as she used these shapes to create colorful & imaginative images. It was an easy & fun rainy day activity for us to share.


Encouraging Your Toddler’s Imagination

Imagination.jpgAlbert Einstein once said “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” He was right. A healthy imagination is a great thing. It sparks creativity, aids in problem solving and ideas. Many of us lose our sense of imagination as we get older, but our children are still growing & honing theirs. As parents there are many things that we can do to help our young ones develop this.

Role Playing: This is something that toddlers naturally do on their own. They love to mimic the actions of the ones around them. The first hint of this I saw with my daughter was with her pretend talking into a remote control. She would have full conversations about her day on her fake cell phone. She has since graduated to tea parties, baking Play-Doh cakes & teaching her stuff animals.


Enjoy the Abstract: Do you remember being younger and laying on the ground and finding images in the clouds? It is amazing what your child can see. I did an experiment with my daughter a while back, where I made about a dozen inkblot pictures and asked her what she saw. The results were interesting.

Read, read, read: I don’t know about you, but when I am reading a book, I always play it out in my mind. How many times have you saw a movie that was adapted from a book & the characters were not how you pictured them. Books expand your creative mind. Be theatrical when reading to your child. Invite them to be too. How fun would it be to act out “Pete’s A Pizza” with your child?

Playing dress up: Whether you have a little boy who likes to dress in a cowboy hat and vest or a little girl who likes to don a tiara and magic wand, playing dress up is a great way for your children to feed their worlds of make believe. Costumes inspire new characters to be born and formed & it is fun for mommy and daddy to play along too.

Channeling her inner Jackie O

Story telling: This is the most fun. Get your child to tell you a story. Many times my daughter will start with a one simple sentence. “I went down stairs to get a birthday cake for mama dinosaur. ” This can spark a fun story telling experience with your child. “Really, who came to the birthday party?” “What color was mama dinosaur’s cake?” My daughter has such an active imagination. She comes up with the most creative and colorful stories. I started writing them down. In fact, I took one of her stories and made it into a book. I am currently illustrating it.

Get artistic: Transferring the beautiful images in your mind on to a piece of paper is a wonderful way to open up your imagination. Mai’s drawings don’t quite look like anything yet to us, but she knows exactly what she is drawing. “Mama look! The mermaid is in the pond.” Yes it is!

Pretend: This can often go hand in hand with dress up or role playing. Our daughter likes to pretend that she is various animals. Her favorite is a kitten. She will often ask me to play along. I am usually mama kitten. Tonight, I had to be mama kangaroo & she was my Joey. We bounced around the living room with her pretending to be in my pouch.

What sort of activities do your children do to expand their imaginations? Please share any fun or interesting stories about your smart and imaginative children.

Exploring my Toddler’s Imagination – The Rorschach experiment


I think my toddler’s mind is a fascinating thing. I will sometimes sit and stare at her & watch as her brain processes what is in front of her. Today she turns 23 months old. She is entering a new stage in her development right now. Her imagination is evolving right before our eyes.
It started slowly, with simple copy cat acts such as pretending to talk on the phone or tucking in her baby to go to sleep.

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