Happy New Year everyone! 2020 is here, and now it is grey, cold, and the kids are bored. January can seem like one of the slowest months of the year. After a month of fun festivities, visiting family, and having booked schedules it can feel like all activity has come to a grinding halt. Kids can feel restless and their care-giver as if everyone is going to go crazy. Finding new and creative outlets for family during the longest part of winter creates positive memories and helps cultivate positive attitudes. Studies show that crafts can engage simultaneously multiple areas of the brain and improve fine motor skills. Reducing screen time and increasing face-to-face engagement will also help with socialization. Healthy mentality contributes to healthy habits.

Crafting can spark fun ideas, lead to new hobbies and it certainly can pass the time. While there are many fun and unique crafts out there, here are three craft ideas for the month of January.

  1. Make a bird-house. This craft is good all year round, and one that makes a great gift, or can go up in your own yard. If you want one to go outside and be useful, it is strongly recommended that you purchase a pre-built wooden house from a craft or hardware store.  Also make sure you decorate it with non-toxic paints and products. If you live in an apartment, or would rather make something decorative, popsicle sticks and a hot glue gun can make a unique decoration. If you add a string to it, you can hang it in their room for most of the year, and on the tree at Christmas!

Use this time to talk about birds. Discuss the different kind of birds you see out the window or driving down the road every day. What is your state bird? What do birds do for our ecosystem? Not only is this a fun craft, but it is an opportunity to learn and teach about the natural world. A bird feeder would be a fun follow-up project!

  1. Use old keys, shells, or old bric-a-brac to make windchimes or mobiles. Wind chimes are pretty outdoor decorations, and mobiles can add a unique touch to a child’s bedroom. Depending on what your family wants to make, both crafts use similar materials. Paint, string, and old coat hanger, or round wooden pieces from a craft store are the basics. Decide what theme you want, and tie those items to the string. It can be as colorful as each child wants.

Using old tins can with keys would create a better windchime. Because of the “thrifty” nature of this project, it can be a good way to instill habits of reusing and recycling. Talk about how creativity can be a way to give an old or useless object new purpose.

  1. Stained glass windows don’t have to be expensive. Cellophane and tissue paper are all you need to make a stylish and personalized “window” for the kitchen, the fridge, or the bedroom. Some people like to lay the tissue paper at random, while some can create intricate designs. Both result in beautiful decorations that could even be used for greeting cards.

Take this opportunity to talk about interior design. What colors do your children like? How do those colors make them feel? Get a better sense of what your child likes and give them an opportunity to feel like they have contributed to the home.

Creativity abounds when it is nurtured and given room to grow. Parents and children should use the slower days to find new ways of being creative. What fun activities and crafts will you and your family do this month?

By: Bethany Verrett

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