4 Fun Art Projects for Kids

From crafting to painting, try these fun art projects to keep kids happily engaged and entertained. Encourage them to think creatively with these unique ideas.

The colorful results of your kids' fun art projects definitely brighten up the refrigerator and bring a smile to your face. But are you running out of spaces to hang their masterpieces? Don't worry about hanging everything they create. There's something to be said for new and inventive ways to incorporate art just for the sheer purpose of keeping a child happily entertained.

"Through art, children can build the five core competencies of social-emotional learning, which include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making," says Teresa Signorelli, a child development specialist who hosts the radio show Kids AtoZ with Dr. T. Another added benefit? A greater ability to think creatively. "Art and visual creativity are often linked to the right side of the brain. People considered right-brained tend to process ideas outside of the box or normal boundaries," says Amy Baez, founder of play site Playapy.

To get your tot's creative juices flowing, try one of these projects:

  1. Make Your Own Sidewalk Paint (Ages: Preschool and up)
    Sure, there are some great products on the market, but making your own sidewalk paint can be a fun experience! Older kids can help mix ingredients and younger ones can jump in to paint after it's ready for a simple yet fun art project. "Art doesn't have to be confined to a classroom," says Annie Dang, a K-8 art teacher at St. Brendan School in midtown Los Angeles.

    "No matter what age children are, they can always benefit from a change in surroundings and fresh air. Chalk painting is an excellent way for children to explore their creativity in a different setting while learning about mixing colors and textures."

    How to: Mix two parts water to one part cornstarch. Add food coloring to create bright colors and portion out in cupcake pan for easy transport outdoors. Paint with different sized bristle brushes. When done, hose down the sidewalk and start over.

    Supplies: Water, cornstarch, food coloring, cupcake pan, paintbrushes and paper towels for clean up.

    Tip: Give kids prompts before they start painting, such as, "If you could live in a tree house, what would it look like?" Then have them paint it.
  2. Play with Your Food (Ages: 4 and up)
    Use veggies from your garden or fridge for fun art projects. After all, art is art, no matter what the medium.

    How to:Dip different fruits and vegetables into paint and stamp them onto construction paper. See what kinds of interesting patterns you can create. Roll pieces of corn in two different colors of paint, then roll the corn onto the paper and see what happens.

    Supplies: Fruits and veggies (such as corn, potatoes, lemons, celery stalks and cucumbers), washable paint and construction paper.

    Tip: Instead of throwing out those expired food items, use them to make art!
  3. Rock the Pet Rock (Ages: 8 and up)
    Pet rocks make great gifts -- and handy paperweights. You might even want to join the kids and paint a few for yourself.

    How to: Collect smooth rocks from your backyard or purchase river rocks from your local hardware store. The first option is free, but the second is also inexpensive. Paint each rock in a bright acrylic paint. Wait for it to dry, then adhere googly eyes. Use a black permanent marker to draw on the mouth, nose, ears or other features.

    Supplies: Smooth rocks, acrylic paints, plastic googly eyes and a black permanent marker.

    Tip: Layer and glue a few rocks together for a 3D effect.
  4. Transform Recyclables into Treasures (Ages: 6 and up)
    You probably have a heaping pile of recyclables waiting to go out with the trash. Make use of them for a fun art project for kids of all ages.

    How to: Gather cardboard boxes of different sizes and types, such as cereal boxes and tissue boxes, as well as toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Tape, glue or staple them together to make a robot. Then decorate your robot with paper, paints and other crafting materials.

    Supplies: Cardboard boxes, paint, construction paper, glue and whatever crafting materials you have on hand.

    Tip: Let the kids raid your empty milk- and egg-carton collections, too. They can be easily cut into 3D shapes and used in crafts.

"There is no particular art activity that can magically achieve a given learning or developmental goal for a child," says Dr. Signorelli. "What is important is that the task be appealing to the child and executed in a warm and supportive environment with a focus on the process not the product."

For more fun ideas, check out these 6 art activities for kids.

Christina Montoya Fiedler is a Los Angeles-based parenting writer and mom to two very cute boys. See her bylines at Red Tricycle. Follow her @cmf2009.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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