Energetic young children between 3 and 6 years of age need to be kept engaged in some constructive activity. When you involve them in art and craft activities, not only do they develop an ability to sit quietly and concentrate, they also develop creative thinking skills. Using simple supplies found at home or at a local store, provide your young ones with a wide range of opportunities to spend their time, creating something that gives them joy.

Crayon Art

Tape three different crayons together to make a Rainbow Crayon. Repeat this with different color combinations. Make many such sets and give them to your child to color all over the paper. Teach your child to create a background for these designs using liquid water color. Pour liquid water color into a bowl or mix 1 part of tempera paint with 1 part of water. Get your child to brush this paint all over the paper. Explain how the crayons are resistant to the paint and show how the background makes the crayon design stand out.

Corn Art

These are simple activities using corn kernels. Collect the plastic lids of old margarine or cottage cheese containers. Have your child fill each lid with some Play-Doh. Show him how to create a design by pressing the corn kernels into the Play-Doh to leave an impression. When the Play-Doh hardens, pop out the kernels to be able to see the mosaic clearly. Another piece of corn art is to glue corn kernels along the edges of a 1-inch paper towel tube. These "napkin rings," when dried, make for a good display on the dinner table.

Play-Doh Necklace

This activity is better done with older children where there is no danger of them playfully swallowing the modeling clay. Show your child how to roll small quantities of Play-Doh between the palms to make tiny beads. Have her pierce through each bead using a toothpick and leave aside for several days to dry out. If required, repunch the holes to make them more distinct. When the Play-Doh has dried completely, have the child apply a coat of nail polish to enhance the color. Thread these Play-Doh beads onto a string, and tie the ends together to make a beautiful necklace.

Thumb Painting

Set out a few craft papers and paint palettes filled with paints of different colors. Have a bowl of water or a wet cloth handy to wipe soiled thumbs. Holding your child's thumb, dip it into the paint and ask him to press it onto the craft paper. Clean the thumb and then allow your child to dab into a different color and press the thumb at another spot. Ask him to repeat this until he has created whatever drawing he wishes to make. When all the paint has dried, show your child how to use a fine-tip marker to outline the design.

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