Winter break with Best Starts: Crafts you and your children can do together

Winter break is fast approaching for schools across King County – a great opportunity for families and children to spend time together! Just because kids are out of school doesn’t mean they need a break from learning. While a child’s brain is still developing, simple everyday interactions can serve as important tools to nurture a growing mind. Check out these easy crafts that you and your children can do together during the break!

Sensory Paint Bags

For toddlers and young children

Image of paint bottles

Help children squeeze washable paints into a plastic bag ziplock bag. Seal well with duct tape. Mix up the paint without mess by mushing the bag with fingers or the whole hand! More instructions ⭢

Why: Toddlers and young kids love to explore, but it’s not always convenient to get messy. Giving children a variety of sensory experiences also helps their brain grow! This paint bag lets kids have sensory fun and see new colors form when mixing paint without the mess. Older children can use their fingers to trace shapes, letters, and designs in the paint through the bag.

Homemade Bracelets

For young children


Help children hold one end of a pipe cleaner while they put one inch pieces of drinking straw or penne pasta on the other end. Twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to make a bracelet! More instructions ⭢

Why: Using items from around the house is a great way to give children new experiences without relying on toys and screens. Children hone their small motor skills (hand and finger muscles used for drawing and writing) and hand-eye coordination when making this bracelet. You can help the child by guiding their hands until they can do it independently. Older children can use the straws to make a pattern on their bracelet!

Duct Tape Bags

For ages 5+

Image of yellow duct tape

Tear or cut off several pieces of duct tape that are about the length of a plastic sandwich or snack bag. Consider using duct tape that comes in fun colors and patterns. Starting at the top of the bag, show the child how to line up the piece of duct tape over the bag and stick it in place. The next piece should go directly below the first piece until the bag is covered in duct tape on both sides. More instructions ⭢

Why: This is a fun way to let children create their own personal bag for pencils, small toys, and treasures without having to buy something new.

Firefly Lanterns

For ages 6+

Image of lights in a mason jar

How to: Put a tiny drop of water into a mason jar. Add glitter. Close the lid and shake until glitter sticks to the sides. Unravel your mini fairy lights. Place one side of a sticky Velcro dot on the inside lid of your jar, and the other on the flat side of your fairly light battery tab. Feed the lights into the jar and close. Take an 8 inch, strong piece of string and make an upside down “u” over the top of the lid taping the sides of string to sides of the jar. Use a second 8 inch piece of string and tightly tie it under the lip of the jar. Pull off your tape and create a handle by tying the first piece of string on both sides of your other piece of string. More instructions ⭢

Why: These beautiful lanterns can lead to fun imaginative play and it is a nice quick project to work on together! Turning everyday items into art empowers children to appreciate the simple things in the world around them. Children must use concentration to follow these multi-step directions, and fine motor skills to use the Velcro, tie knots and unravel the lights.

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