Children have an innate longing to create. A NASA study found that, while most 4- and 5-year-olds score as “creative geniuses” in a test, only 30% earn the same score five years later. Only 2% of these formerly creative geniuses score at the same level in adulthood. Grandparents can help nurture the “creative genius” in children. Arts and crafts is a medium for enjoying your time with your young loved ones while creating lasting memories and inspiring them to dream. Try these budget-friendly crafting ideas with your grandchildren on their next visit.

No Yawns with Yarn

Yarn is a handy craft supply that doesn’t cost or mess up much. It can be transformed into a wide range of projects for little ones and teens. Yarn comes in solid colors, variegated, and even with glitter. Dream catchers, friendship bracelets, and decorative yarn balls are just a few of the possibilities waiting for you and your grandkids to create.

making dream catcher CasarsaGuru / Getty Images


Rock On

Throw yourself into building solid memories with painted rock art. You may need to purchase acrylic paint and brushes along with permanent markers, but the rocks may come from your yard or somewhere nearby. You can also find bags of rocks at a dollar store. Let your grandkids paint and draw simple or ornate designs, and hide the finished projects around town for someone else to discover.

child painting rocks Leinoja / Getty Images


Roll Play

Send boredom down the tubes when your grandkids come to visit. Save your toilet paper and paper towel rolls for crafting projects. Your grandkids can repurpose the rolls into their finest art, which can include caricatures of animals or insects, musical instruments, confetti poppers, rain sticks, or colorful bracelets. These tubes can also serve as tracks for marbles or toy cars.

toilet paper roll figures teaa1946 / Getty Images


Bird Feeder

Let your grandkids create an economical and environmentally friendly bird feeder without any wood or nails. You only need some string, a pinecone, honey or peanut butter, a knife for spreading, and birdseed. Tie the string under the top ridges of the pinecone, leaving enough to hang. Cover the cone with the honey or peanut butter and roll it in the seeds. Hang it where you all can watch the birds enjoy their treat.

pinecone bird feeder cisilya / Getty Images


Button Up

Put extra buttons to crafty use with flower button art. Place in a frame for an ever-fresh display. Create handmade cards with brightly colored cardstock, green foam sheets, glue, scissors, and buttons of any shape or size. Combine with jewelry cord or string to make wearable gifts such as stylish button bracelets, necklaces, or anklets.

buttons Berezko / Getty Images


Chalk It Down

Let your grandkids release their imagination on the pavement of your driveway or sidewalk in front of your house. Chalk is inexpensive and lasts a long time, perfect for outdoor activity. Take pictures of the artwork and wash away easily with a water hose. Make chalk together with any online recipe. Pour into toilet paper rolls, ice cube trays, or small paper cups.

grandmother girl chalk drawing wundervisuals / Getty Images


Hatch “Egg-xtra” Special Art

Egg cartons hold immense potential for small masterpieces. Cut out the egg sections and add googly eyes and fuzzy sticks to create little bugs or monsters. Creative hands can make the little sections of cardboard egg cartons blossom into flower petals, too. Color or paint and make funny or scary face masks.

egg carton section art jgaunion / Getty Images


Pile on the Dough

Playdough is quite easy and affordable to make at home. Creating it is as fun as playing with it. Varieties are limitless, as you and your grandkids can add any colors or scents and use warm, chilled, or at room temperature. Some recipes are edible or do not even require cooking. Just work with what you have on hand and store it in a plastic bag or covered container.

homemade play dough KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images


Stick to Awesomeness

Save or purchase popsicle sticks for endless crafting options with your grandkids. Add glue and paint to these versatile art staples to create a variety of projects that can stick around for a long time. Build paper fans, airplanes, or holiday ornaments and have a bundle of fun with your grandchildren.

children popsicle ornaments Rawpixel / Getty Images


Designer Clothes

Now you can allow your grandkids to draw on their clothes without getting into trouble. With some cheap t-shirts and permanent markers or fabric paint, your grandchildren can create their own hand-crafted apparel line. This is an ideal alternative to tie-dyeing which can be cumbersome and messy. Place a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to keep the ink from seeping through to the back of the shirt.

girl drawing on t-shirt vgajic / Getty Images


Crafting Paper

You and your grandchildren can unfold a whole new world of artistic opportunities with crafting paper or recycled paper. They'll practice cutting, making straight creases, and bringing their ideas to life without making sticky messes. Bracelets, chains, wreaths, planes, cards, and paper dolls are some examples of what you and your youngsters can fashion together.

senior toddler paper airplane KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images


Classic-Looking Keepsakes

Mason jars make a great base for beautiful and practical crafts. They come in many sizes and can add a vintage appeal to any décor. These containers work wonderfully as candle holders, centerpieces, and vases. If you prefer not to hassle with paint, provide your grandchildren with ribbon, lace, washi tape or beads with adhesive to make unique, long-lasting art.

mason jar craft candleholder zoombull / Getty Images


Share Your Hobby

If you sew, crochet, knit, or do woodwork or calligraphy, make memories and pass on your skills and passion to your grandchildren. As you have discovered over the years, these arts help pass the time with productive and creative results. Helping your grandkids cultivate a new hobby is not only fun for the present but meaningful for their future.

grandfather boy woodworking ArtMarie / Getty Images


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