Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bargain Alert: Martha Stewart Craft Kits on Clearance at Walmart, Online

We love to do arts and crafts projects around our house. There's no better way to while away a rainy afternoon then to sit and create, and crafting together is great family time. So I'm always on the lookout for toddler-friendly projects.

I love the Martha Stewart craft kits -- they're easy and cute -- but I find that they can be a bit pricey.

So I was downright giddy to find them on clearance at Walmart. Thanks to the fabulous sale, I've filled our crafting box with all kinds of fun projects - puppets, pom-pom animals, and photo frames, paying just $2-$3 for each kit. I also got a few things for myself when I find time to do scrapbooking.

If you can't make it to Walmart (sorry, the clearance pricing isn't available online), the Martha Stewart Crafts Website also has some great deals on seasonal craft kits. Now is a great time to stock up for the holidays, if you're looking for a way to get ahead and reduce your stress, something that Amy @ Our Frugal Journey has been blogging about lately.

Crafting with kids

Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of crafting with my mom and brothers. We made a little bit of everything: corn husk angels, Christmas tree ornaments, origami, potholders, hooked rugs and Shrinky Dinks, just to name a few.

I want to create those same kind of memories for my own son. And though he's only almost-three, he loves when we do crafts. Just this week, we made pipe cleaner farm animals, and this weekend, he's going to paint a birdhouse for his Pop-Pop for father's day. (That's an outside craft!)

Crafting with kids presents limitless opportunities. You're only bound by your imagination.

These are a few of our favorites:

Make homemade signs and wrapping paper. Decorate brown kraft paper with crayons, chalk, stamps, stickers and paint -- if momma is feeling brave!

Decorate T-shirts to celebrate a theme. For example, when the movie Monsters vs. Aliens was in theaters, everyone in the family made a T-shirt depicting their favorite character using iron-on printables we found online. (I was Susan, the boy was Bob the Blog and the hubby was Dr. Cockroach.)

Most official movie Web sites have slews of downloads and games and activities that you can do with your kids. I've found these activities a lot of fun for kids and parents alike, and it really helps build excitement about going to the movie. It makes theater-going a much more interactive experience. Check out these sites for some fun activities you can do with your kids around the movies Ice Age 3 and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Noggin also has lots of great kids crafts, activities and printables.

Paint ceramics. Back in the days before paint-your-own pottery places were in vogue, people used to go to ceramics studios. The place we stay at the beach has one of these old school ceramics studios, and I find it so relaxing chill and paint for a few hours. (My husband likes it too, though we do joke that we kinda feel like we're in an asylum.)

This summer, we took Jackson with us to the ceramics studio, and he had a ball. We had so much fun, in fact, that I've bought some cheap greenware figurines (priced at 69 cents each) at Michaels so we can paint them at home. All you need are some acrylic paints, lots of newspaper and a smock to keep your clothing clean. If you like, you can also spray the painted pieces with spray sealant, but that's not necessary. (Make sure you do this step outside.)

Actually, at our house, painting is always an outside craft. I'm too anal and connected to my furniture to let my toddler loose inside with a paintbrush.

Gluing. I don't know why, but my son just loves to glue things. If I need him to stay still and seated in one place, I'll pull out some felt, cotton balls, Q-tips, sequins, googly eyes and miscellaneous trim and let him go to town. I always stay close by to marshall the glue. If I didn't, he would dump a whole bottle on a single piece of felt.

At Christmas, we made snowmen by gluing cotton balls to felt and decorated them with the doo-dads that I've accumulated as a crafter.

OK, now I'm itchy to create. Jackson is heading to the pool with his Nana this afternoon, but I think we may have some grownup craft time today.


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