Get Busy with Spring Break Crafts for Kids

The kids are home for Spring Break, and chances are you could use a few craft ideas for entertaining them. Here are 5 Spring Break arts and crafts that are sure to keep them busy!

1. Yarn Eggs

Our first Spring Break craft idea could pass as an Easter-time craft, but really it works any time of year. It’s a fun project for school-age kids who will love the process and the end result – big, colorful orbs to hang in their rooms.  You’ll need thin cotton yarn, balloons, craft glue, newspaper, waxed paper, a clothespin and a hanger. The project involves making a watered-down glue mixture, dipping strands of yarn in it and and wrapping around a balloon. Once dry, you pop and remove the balloon, and you are left with a funky, colorful egg.

2. Spring Blossom Painting

The blogger from Toddler Approved created the idea for this gorgeous painting that is worthy of hanging on a prime spot on your walls. Check out her handy tutorial for a detailed how-to that includes photos of each step. Be assured that it’s a simple project involving materials you likely already have in the house, which is perfect for crafts for Spring Break… watercolor paper, paint and a Sharpie is all you need!

Blossom Painting by Toddler Approved
Blossom Painting by Toddler Approved

3. Chalkboard Flower Pots

We’ve tweaked this Spring Break craft a bit to make it more kid- friendly.  The day before you tackle this project with the kids, paint a few flower pots with chalkboard paint. The ingenious paint now comes in nearly every color of the rainbow.  Once dry, big kids they may enjoy embellishing the pots with trim, ribbon or buttons (similar to the project shown here). Kids of all ages will love using the colorful pots to plant a few fast-growing seeds or actual flowers or plants you’ve picked up from the home improvement store or local nursery, and then decorating their pots with chalk drawings that can be erased at whim.

Chalkboard Flower Pots by Paint Me Plaid
Chalkboard Flower Pots by Paint Me Plaid

4. Button Flowers for Counting

This cute craft helps young kids count and learn to associate numbers. It’s simple, too.  Help kids use green Wikki Stix  (wax covered yarn sticks you can bend and mold to any shape) to make stems and leaves for flowers and attach to a piece of white paper.  Children can then attach a button to the top of the stem (the Wikki Stix will adhere the button so no glue is necessary). Label the stems of the flowers with any numbers the children are working on.  Have the children place the corresponding number of buttons on top of the flowers.

Button Flowers for Counting by Sixty Second Parent
Button Flowers for Counting by Sixty Second Parent

5. Bunny Paper Plate Photo Frame

Here’s a cute Spring Break craft that even the tiniest tots can handle. Simply cut the middle out of a paper plate, paste cotton balls on the remaining circle, and staple two bunny ears made from additional plates and also covered in cotton balls You can either paste it around a photo of your child’s face (like a frame) or tie a string from side-to-side on the back and make a fun mask.

Bunny Love by I Love 1st Grade

Need a break from Spring Break? Find and book babysitters with UrbanSitter. Sign up for free and start searching for babysitters!

Get Crafty with Spring Crafts for Preschoolers

Dare we say it for fear of jinxing ourselves? Spring is almost here! Despite the cold weather most of the country is still fighting, Spring is officially only weeks away. Let’s mark its long-awaiting arrival with some fun, simple crafts for parents or sitters to tackle with preschoolers who will love creating these adorable bunnies, chicks, flowers, Easter eggs and rainbows.


Spring Crafts for Preschoolers

Happy Cloud and Rainbow
Spring showers often bring rainbows – create your own with curly ribbon. Instructions via Meet the Dubiens.

via Meet the Dubiens
via Meet the Dubiens

Shaving Cream Easter Egg
Promised to be far less messy than it appears, this craft is pure tactile fun for little hands! Instructions via Little Wonders’ Day.

via Little Wonders' Day
via Little Wonders’ Day

Toilet Paper Roll Bunny
It’s always nice to pull art supplies from the recycling bins, and who doesn’t love a project with googly eyes!? Little ones will need some extra assistance gluing tiny pieces and drawing the bunny face. Instructions via Eco Scrapbook.

via Eco Scrapbook
via Eco Scrapbook

Fabric Scrap Garden
An adorable garden made from scrap fabric, pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks. This one looks cute as a wall hanging. Instructions via Spoonful.

via Spoonful
via Spoonful

Paper Plate Chick
Super simple, super cute craft for little ones. Instructions via Simple as That.

via Simple as That
via Simple as That

For more great ideas for creating fun art and crafts with kids, check out UrbanSitter’s Pinterest Board – Crafts for Kids

Got 1 Minute? 3 Art Games to Boost your Kid’s Strategic Thinking, Problem Solving and Visual Recall

By Ruthie Briggs-Greenberg

It’s Monday. You have to get your kids to school, and you’re only on your first cup of coffee. What can you do that will help them think better and not annoy you? An art activity! What, you ask, is an “art activity”? It’s something that exposes kids to art. Why should you do it? According to the National Endowment for the Arts, kids with more art experiences had higher GPAs than kids who lacked those experiences. How do you start? Pour that second cup of coffee, set the timer for 1 minute and do one of the following:

GAME 1: (The timer is set, right? Did you pour that second cup of coffee?) Ask Junior “How many things can be done with spoons?” Now wait. If Junior hasn’t had breakfast, they might say, “I don’t know.” But, if Junior just had a bowl of sugary goodness, the answer may be, “You can eat with spoons, dig with spoons… Uhhhhhh…..” Then Junior may fall silent. This is where you say, “Keep going…”  Junior may come up with one more answer, something involving “you can fling a spoon.” The minute will pass.

What’s the answer? An unknown number of things can be done with spoons. Think outside of the box, or in this case, the silverware drawer.  This idea of thinking beyond what is obvious frees your child’s mind to use their imagination.  Imagination leads to solutions. Let’s get back to the spoons.  If you weld spoons together, you could build skies, or a wall, and then you could make a house of spoons, (no, it’s not cheating, I never said, “a spoon,” or that the spoons had to remain in their original form). The question leads your child, and you, to think strategically to solve a puzzle. This method of thinking creatively frees up your mind to design, imagine and build ideas that don’t exist. That’s how art starts. You’ve spent a minute and engaged in strategic thinking.

GAME 2: Grab a pencil and a piece of paper. Ask Junior to draw a bicycle with circles, and lines. Did you set the timer for one minute? If your coffee has kicked in, you can try it too. What does this game do for Junior? It makes them think about design principles of how shapes fit together for practical use. If you want a hint, a very basic bike can be drawn using 5 circles and 11 lines. Wait a minute, how is this art, you ask? It is art because it involves organizing shapes and lines and creating a design. So you’ve just covered design, which fits under problem solving.

GAME 3: Open the cupboard and let Junior look at it for 8 seconds. This is not the time to obsess over the fact that there is high fructose corn syrup in half of the breakfast cereals. Close the cupboard. Ask Junior, “How many colors can be made from the colors on the boxes inside the cupboard?” You’ll probably get this, “I don’t know”. Who thinks about cereal boxes and art? Ask Junior to open the cupboard and see if there is red, yellow and blue inside, if so, you have the three primary colors. All colors can be made from the three primary colors. Play a color addition game (go on, the first part wasn’t even 20 seconds). What is red plus yellow? Orange. Was there a yellow box on your shelf? A blue one? Sure there was, everyone has that blue box of pasta on the second shelf, so now you have yellow plus blue. You get the picture. Now you’ve covered visual recall.

Wow, look at you, covering strategic thinking, problem solving and visual recall all before your 3rd cup of coffee! Junior used art, or thinking about art, to fire up those synapses before class. Thinking about art will carry over into other areas of study, such as math, language, and science. Ultimately art allows individuals to create something from nothing by strategically analyzing a problem and solving them. If you have five minutes, tour the world’s greatest museums online. This may lead to conversations about the historical context that art was created in, or the purpose of art. If you ask Junior what they think about a painting they are looking at they may say, “I don’t know”. That’s ok, school doesn’t train our kids to think of possibilities, it teaches kids to have answers. Get Junior thinking and they will come up solutions to all kinds of life situations. 1 minute art games lead Junior to strategic thinking, problem solving and visual recall, and you did it all without a 4th cup of coffee.

Photograph by D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr/Creative Commons

Crafty Kids: How to Make an Up-cycled Birdfeeder

The weather’s warm and the birds are fitting all through the neighborhood! Turn your window or fire escape into a bird-viewing station by luring in some feathered friends to nosh at this seed feeder, made from an empty snack container. This easy, cheerful craft comes to us from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff. When you’re done with it, you might just be inspired to make a dozen more!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 small nut can (about 3 inches in diameter)
  • Scissors
  • 1 6-inch stick
  • Tacky glue
  • Outdoor craft paint
  • 1-inch foam brush
  • Twine
  • 2 wooden beads
1. First, empty the can: Peel the foil cover halfway back and remove the nuts. Cut off the unattached foil, then cut a 1⁄4-inch slit vertically in the center of the remaining foil and fold the edges down on both sides to create a wide V shape. (We want the birds to enjoy their meal without injury.)



2. To create the perch, punch a small hole near the bottom of the attached foil with the end of the stick and push the stick through. Before the stick hits the back of the can, apply glue to the bottom edge of the stick and let it rest standing up in the bottom, back edge of the can until dry.

3. Paint the outside of the can and let it dry. Add a second coat if necessary.


4. Cut a piece of twine that’s 5 feet long, plus as much as you’d like to use to hang the feeder. Find the center point of your length of twine and place the bottom edge of the feeder on it. Wrap each end of the twine around the can about three times, until both ends are once again at the top. Tie a knot, thread the beads over the two ends of the twine, and hang outside. Voila! You’re done. And the birds will surely thank you.


What Kids Really Gain from Arts Education: One Mom’s Personal Reflection

By Lela Nargi

It’s a late evening in early December and I’m sitting with my tween daughter in a stiflingly heated, baldly lit, packed-to-the gills auditorium near Coney Island, waiting for Mark Twain middle school’s winter concert to begin.  We’ve come out to see a friend of my daughter’s sing with her 7th grade choral class. It promises to be a long night, with three grades’ worth of choral performances, three of band, three of orchestra, and a few extras thrown in for good measure. But I’m used to these sorts of engagements. As the parent of a kid who’s been lucky enough to attend public schools that vigorously buck the current trend of defunding arts programs, I’ve been sitting in on biannual music, dance, drama, photography, and broader “talent” shows since my daughter was in Pre-K. I hardly give the enterprise any thought.

Arts education has been a big educational talking point for years, but possibly never more than since the advent of the test-driven Common Core curriculum. As across the country the arts have been cast aside in favor of reading comprehension and STEM subjects—as well as the high-stakes exams that supposedly determine a child’s competency in them—the findings of multiple studies have been invoked to champion the ability of painting, drumming, ballroom dancing, playwriting, to enhance creativity, fine motor skills, and language development in our kids—with even more significant and lasting boons for low-income children.  Many parents with kids who are painting, drumming, dancing, and playwriting through school, both where I live in Brooklyn and elsewhere, accept these benefits as a given. But they’re not what are on my mind as the lights in the auditorium dim and the first orchestral group streams onto the Mark Twain stage.

The students are wearing the customary on-stage uniform of white shirts and black bottoms. They march purposefully out from the wings in a steady and orderly manner, delicately carrying their instruments. They quietly find their seats, set their music on their stands, and follow along with their section leaders in tuning their instruments. When Jamie Baumgardt, Mark Twain’s strings teacher, appears on stage they stand, then await her cue to sit again. As anyone who’s ever watched an orchestra knows, this is business as usual. But if you’ve ever spent any time with a large group of rabid tweens and teens, you know how exceptional this sort of behavior is.

And if you’re an educator, you know it even more acutely. I’ve listened to my sister-in-law, a 20-year veteran of elementary school classrooms, bemoan the mounting inability of her students to sit still and focus. She chalks it up to the use of smartphones and tablets, devices that encourage them to eschew human interaction and reward them for making fast, unconsidered decisions. For years, my husband taught literature to community college students and every night came home with frustrated stories of kids who didn’t know how to behave in his classroom: truly didn’t know they shouldn’t text and take phone calls, didn’t know they shouldn’t gobble sandwiches and bags of candy, didn’t know they shouldn’t listen to music through one headphone as he led them (or attempted to lead them) in discussions of Kafka and Chinua Achebe. Children are losing their understanding of basic courtesy and in the process, are becoming ever more removed from their peers and larger society. With this loss, life becomes less pleasant and more challenging for all of us. Because the loss is palpable everywhere we go. Think of the people texting through movies. Refusing to let you pass as you haul heavy grocery bags down the sidewalk. Shoving you aside to get onto the subway car first.

And this is what I’m thinking about as the strings students finish their performance, again await Ms. Baumgardt’s cue to rise, and quickly, silently take their bows and leave the stage. An orchestra has many governing rules. To survive and thrive in this setting, an orchestra member not only has to know them, she has to tacitly agree to follow them. As these rules govern how members of an orchestra treat their leaders, their equals, and the audience that has come out to see them—in addition to expectations for their own personal responsibility to practice—an orchestra, quite simply, offers a blueprint for how to behave in a society.

“My music students learn professionalism and that, regardless of the context of the setting, there are times and places to be professional,” Ms. Baumgardt tells me. “Running around in the park you can be kids and throw Frisbees. But in a professional setting there are expectations. What values should musicians have that translate to the rest of their lives?” Plenty. Do we want our children to be able to make eye contact with friends and strangers as they politely converse with them? Do we want them to be able to show empathy for others, both locally and globally? Do we want them to understand the positive influence of their hard work, not only on their own development, but on the achievements of an affiliated group? Thanks to the efforts of Ms. Baumgardt and other teachers of music, dance, drama, and plastic arts such as sculpture and drawing, they’re getting an excellent footing. “I show them that being committed leads to success, and that can make you feel great about yourself,” says Ms. Baumgardt. “But it’s also about the bigger picture. The efforts they contribute, in the long run, are going to make everyone successful.”

In some cases, that even includes their own parents. As my daughter’s friend takes the stage with her fellow singers, a dad sitting in front of me becomes animated. After snapping photos with his stage-obscuring iPad, he begins to wave his arms over his head, trying to get his kid’s attention. She ignores him. He tries again. And again. She finally acknowledges him with the meager-est of nods. By behaving professionally, as she’s been taught, she’s given her own father a subtle clue about how to behave with professionalism and courtesy. Hopefully, that tiny trend will radiate.

The very fact that my daughter and I are here tonight is proof that the lesson transcends beyond the classroom and the stage for kids, too. My daughter has come out to show support for a friend, just as this friend came out to support her a week earlier, when my daughter danced in a performance of The Nutcracker. The older they get, and the more serious about their various artistic pursuits, the more supportive they become for each other. Empathy (in the plastic arts, critiques would be miserable without empathy) is built right into the framework.

And empathy—along with discipline, listening skills, manners, the ability to articulate and to work as a team—will serve these kids whether or not they eventually choose careers in any arts-driven field. Sarah, a violinist in Ms. Baumgardt’s 8th grade ensemble, wants to be a doctor—and feels the emotional connection she’s developed to music will help her have an emotional connection to her future patients. Tricia, an 8th grade violist, thinks teamwork and intuition are the two lessons she’s learned from music that will be most valuable to her possible future career as a children’s dentist. Ultimately, the goal of arts education is not to churn out professional artists. As Mark Twain’s principal, Karen Ditolla, puts it so succinctly, “By helping children learn these crafts, we’re helping them grow as people.” There isn’t any goal finer.

Photograph from the George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, #LC-B2-3849-6

Crafty Kids: Nifty Back-To-School Projects– with Tape!

Duct tape crafts have been hot for the past couple of years because a) they’re easy to put together and b) pretty much every child loves tape! You can help boost the excitement for back-to-school in your kids and tweens with these two fun (and useful) crafts from our friends at Duck Brand Tape.

Chalk Circle Calendar

You will need:

  • Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Duck brand chalkboard tap
  • Duck tape

1. Make a 1-1/2-inch template for your day-of-the-week circles out of cardstock, then trace the template on the back of the chalkboard tape, 42 times, at cut each circle out.

2. Trace letters for the days of the week on the back of the Duck tape, then cut out and stick one of each to 7 of the circles.

3. Now, piece by piece, stick your calendar to your wall, inside your closet, wherever it’s handy!

Desk Organizer

You will need:

  • 12 empty Duck tape rolls
  • Duck tape
  • Scissors

1. Tape 2 empty Duck tape rolls together to get a double-long tube. Fold over any excess tape. Then, cover the inside of the roll with Duck tape, too. Repeat 5 times.

2. Using thin strips of Duck tape, attach the tubes to make a pyramid shape. Now you’re ready to load your organizer up with all your pens and pencils for the school year!

Fun Craft Trio for Winter

Looking for a creative way to keep the kids entertained on a rainy or snowy winter day? We’ve found a trio of adorable crafts for kids that celebrate the season and may entertain you (or your sitter) as much as they do the kids.

DIY Cut Leaf Cars

Before the last leaf falls, grab your chance to create a fun afternoon with your child. Take a walk to enjoy the fall foliage and select your favorite fallen treasures. After a warm lunch or cup of cocoa following your walk, tackle this simple craft that’s just right for practicing scissor skills. Draw a simple car outline on a leaf and have your child cut the lines to create a car. You’ll want to do the windows, as an XActo will work best. Via The Art Room Plant.

via The Art Room Plant
via The Art Room Plant

Recycled Egg Carton Owl

The creative minds at Art and Soul Preschool came up with this ingenious use of an egg carton after observing that pieces of the carton looked amazingly like owls. And they do! See their site for step-by-step instructions, or simply use the photo as inspiration, cut sections for eyes and bodies, and let kids “build” an owl from the pieces. It’s best to paint the sections first, and glue them together once dry.

via Art and Soul Preschool
via Art and Soul Preschool

Cookie Cutter Bird Feeders

Help keep feathered friends fed through the winter with these easy bird feeder ornaments. You can hang them on a tree in your backyard or at the park. This recipe doesn’t require peanut butter, like many others do, so it’s also great for taking to your child’s classroom for a fun, fall party project. Recipe provided by Prudent Baby.


3/4 cup birdseed (seed for small birds works best)
1/4 cup water
1 small envelope of Knox gelatin
Twine or string
Cookie cutters, molds or mason jar lids
Wax paper


Mix together the envelope of gelatin with 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer while stirring. Continue stirring until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute. Stir in the 3/4 cup birdseed, adding a little more if there is liquid in the bottom of the pan. Lay cookie cutters out on wax paper and fill halfway with the birdseed mixture. Cut twine, knot the end and push the knot down into the birdseed. Continue filling with birdseed, covering the end of twine and knot.
Push the birdseed evenly into the cookie cutter until it’s full. Allow to dry overnight. Turning them over every now and then.
Remove from the cookie cutters and hang them in a tree.

via Prudent Baby
via Prudent Baby

Remember, if crafting is not your thing, these creative projects are perfect for passing along to your sitter to tackle with the kids while you’re away. 

6 No Fuss Activities to Share with Your Sitter

There’s no need to resort to leaving the babysitter new toys or typically forbidden treats to feed your kids to ensure they are happy while you’re away. Instead, why not give your sitter a few no fuss, low mess activities she can do together with your kids. These fun activities are entertaining and take very little effort for you to pull together.


6 No Fuss Activities to Share with Your Sitter

1. Paint with Water
Painting with water works anywhere – on a chalkboard, sidewalk, or even on the floor. It’s fun, requires nothing more than a paintbrush and cup of water and can be cleaned up with a bath towel in no time at all.

via Artful Parent
via Artful Parent

2. Build Your Own Cupcake
This cupcake craft is guaranteed to provide hours of fun for your preschooler and her sitter. Simply leave them the printable cupcakes and interchangeable cakes, toppings and papers and let them cut out the pieces and mix and match to build their own cupcakes. The project might inspire a tea party or maybe another cupcake project, such as decorating store-bought cupcakes or baking a homemade batch.

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 9.41.40 AM
via Creature Comforts

3. Create a Fairy House
If you have an imaginative child who likes to be outside and a creative babysitter, this is a fun afternoon activity. Encourage your child and his sitter to use their imaginations and whatever they can find inside and out to create a mini fairy house in a pot or directly in the garden.

via Flickr Daisies la la land
via Flickr Daisies la la land


4. Tie Dye Easter Eggs
Dying eggs is super easy with this ingenious method – simply leave a dozen eggs (boiled ahead of time if you find the time), vinegar and food coloring. Have your sitter set your child up with a colander and a shallow pan or bowl, place an egg in the colander and splash with a bit of white vinegar. Add a drop or two of food coloring and then another color and have your child swirl the egg around to distribute the colors, essentially “tie dying” the eggs. Let the eggs sit for a few minutes to set and then rinse briefly in cool water. Makes for a cool project and a healthy snack, too!

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 9.48.45 AM
via Pink and Green Mama

5. Bake a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Simply leave your (very responsible and safety minded) sitter with a boxed cake mix, bag of chocolate chips, cooking oil and three eggs, along with this handy recipe. In very little time and with minimal effort, she and the kids can whip up this really yummy chocolate chip cookie cake.

via Budget Savvy Diva
via Budget Savvy Diva

6. Collaborate on a Masterpiece
Working side by side with a child, as equals, makes a project extra special. Rather than setting your child up with art supplies and a canvas and leaving her to work on her own while you take care of other responsibilities, make her day by grabbing the seat next to her and announcing that you are doing a partner project. Your sitter makes a fine art partner for her, too, and will be glad to spend time collaborately with your child on their own artistic masterpiece. You can use what you have on hand – paper or a canvas and paints of any kind – or make a special trip to the art supply store to pick and choose supplies for this special painting project.

via Playful Learning
via Playful Learning


Your sitter will appreciate your thoughtfulness in planning these fun projects, your little one will have a fantastic time while your away. Do you have a few easy, entertaining projects up your sleeve? We’ve love to hear about them!