When the kids are hanging around the house during holiday break, it’s always a plus to have some projects up your sleeve for them to do. Laine Hardman, a professional organizer with Tidy Up Now, and I have come up with a list of simple crafts and organizing jobs that you can propose on the spur of the moment. These don’t require a lot of specialized supplies or too much hands-on instruction either.
The old-fashioned paperclip necklace. I grabbed a colorful box of paperclips from the drugstore and after about a two-second demo, the girls were on their way. They enjoyed creating patterns with the different paperclip colors.
Silver beaded jewelry. This is a Todd Oldham idea that I remembered from his fantastic Kid Made Modern book. It’s a modern twist on the old macaroni noodle necklace project. You start with rigatoni noodles and some tin foil.
The kids roll the tin foil around the noodles and rub the sides to accentuate the groves.
Then they have shiny “silver” bling to work with.
After that, they can use string or embroidery thread to make necklaces and bracelets galore.
Pom Poms. You need some yarn and a template. You cut the template using cardboard by tracing a large circle and a smaller circle inside. You need to cut two of the same size for each pom pom. The size of the template dictates the size of the pom pom. You can make many sizes. With the template, you cut a slit in one side where the yarn will pass through.
Next, you wind the yarn around and around the circle, making it nice and thick.
Then, you slide scissors between the two template circles and cut the loops all the way around.
Next, you wrap a separate long piece of yarn around the center of the two templates and tie it snugly.
Remove the template and voilà. You have a pom pom to fluff up and trim with scissors as you like.
If you really get into making these, you can buy a pom pom maker in several sizes. I’m told you can make loads of pom poms very easily. Pom poms have so many fun uses like garlands, flower bouquets, head band embellishments, wreaths, and more.
Laine put her kids to work doing some tasks that are a big help to Mom and Dad, but that they enjoy too.
Plastic organizing containers. Sort the plastic containers: bottoms in one pile, tops in another pile. Then, match up each bottom container with the appropriate top.
Any top without a bottom, or bottom without a top can be recycled. (Where did those missing pieces go?) Also, consider donating or recycling any excess if you find that you have too many of one size. If you end up with one extra larger-sized bottom, it could be used to hold the tops. Stack smaller containers inside larger ones.
Replace the containers to your kitchen cabinet.
Sorting pens, pencils, crayons, and markers. You’ll need some plastic pencil boxes or small plastic containers long enough to hold a pencil. Gather all the pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and colored pencils in the house. Sort them by type: crayons in one pile, pens in another, etc. As you’re sorting, toss any crayons that are very small and/or broken.
Also, discard any pencils (colored and regular) that are too small to easily grasp. Sharpen any remaining pencils. Now here is the fun part: test all the markers and pens on a scrap of paper, throwing away any that are dried out.
When all this is done, put all remaining pens, pencils, markers and crayons in a plastic container by type. Consider tossing or giving away some items if you are finding that you have a surplus. Label all containers either with text or a printed picture of the item.
Find a home for the newly-organized supplies. The kids will be thrilled the next time they want to color with markers and they know exactly where they are!
Sock sorting. First, launder all socks in the house. I am not going to pretend to solve the mystery of what happens to the missing sock after the laundry is done. But, at the end of this task, the kids will have their socks in order with each sock having a match. First, ask the kids to remove all socks from their sock drawer and find each sock’s mate. Gather unmatched socks and, if you are sorting more than one drawer, check if that sock has a match in the other drawer’s extra sock pile.
Only return socks that fit, have a match, and are in good condition. If the socks are still spilling out of the drawer, consider donating the excess. All extra socks can be repurposed as dust rags or puppets.
Alphabetizing the spice racks and sorting the tool box. Katie and I created these organizing tasks for Jack and Ana one day during spring break last year. They did a great job and had a lot of fun in the process.
Do you have any other spontaneous crafts or household jobs that kept your kids happily occupied during the break?