One of the questions that I get asked a lot is how on earth do I craft with kids of different ages when they have such different skill sets and abilities, so I’ve got together with some friends and I’m going to start bringing you simple mixed age crafts that work for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school age kids. Recently I shared our simple printed mother’s day card which was easy to do with the toddler and preschooler and the baby had a go as well. Today’s craft is one of my favourite mess free crafts – a sticky back plastic (contact paper) sun catcher and after seeing some lovely hot air balloons we were inspired to create one for the windows in our homes.

Solving the problem of crafting with mixed ages, hot air balloon sun catcher and how it can be done with babies, toddlers and preschoolers at the same time

Materials needed

Contact Paper (sticky back Plastic)
Card
Coloured Tissue Paper

With Baby

Little F is 10 months old and is sitting and crawling the perfect time to start some arts and crafts with her. When T was a similar age and because I was often on my own I would sit her in her high chair and bring it to the table one side of me whilst J sat the other side of me and I could work with them both at the same time, however, I’m lucky now that our Mixed Age Crafting sessions I have the other Mum’s with me to craft with at the same time.

Solving the problem of crafting with mixed ages, hot air balloon sun catcher and how it can be done with babies, toddlers and preschoolers at the same time

It was easy for little F to sit on her mother’s lap at the table, we started off cutting out the balloon shape the same as I did for all of the children (baby, toddler and preschooler) and then cutting contact paper to a suitable size. A great tip is to use sticky tape to secure the contact paper to the table first.

Art and crafts for babies are more of a sensory process than an actual creation process although it is nice to have a finished article that can be attached to the fridge or the window in this case. So little F was eager to feel the stickiness of the contact paper, to scrunch up the paper and hear the sounds it made, and as with all babies to try and put it in her mouth which we discouraged.

With her torn up tissue paper she scrunched up and added to the contact paper with help.

With Toddler

H is our toddler and she was eager to get stuck in, with toddlers and this craft they will need little supervision, but what I found works well was to model how to start and then assist when needed, the assisting was things like pointing out where gaps were to be found or adding a little extra learning in by talking about the colours that she was using.

Solving the problem of crafting with mixed ages, hot air balloon sun catcher and how it can be done with babies, toddlers and preschoolers at the same time

H started out by helping to tear up the coloured tissue paper and put into piles of different colours on the table. The tearing is an easy and simple to set up fine motor activity for toddlers and preschoolers to do and if you can reuse the tearing in the craft it’s always a good idea – have a look at our sticky turtle picture for some none tissue paper collage for toddlers that involves tearing as well.

With Preschooler

One of the reasons that I love crafts like this is that T at 4 years old is able to go ahead and do it – she loves to tear up tissue paper and helps the younger children to sort out the colours into piles.

Solving the problem of crafting with mixed ages, hot air balloon sun catcher and how it can be done with babies, toddlers and preschoolers at the same time

We tried to extend it for T by saying could see create a pattern with the tissue paper or even the colours of the rainbow but she was much more interested in placing the colours where she wanted.

Solving the problem of crafting with mixed ages, hot air balloon sun catcher and how it can be done with babies, toddlers and preschoolers at the same time

Finishing off the Hot Air Balloon Sun Catchers

Once the tissue paper fills in the balloon part of the hot air balloon it’s time to add another piece of contact paper over the top and then cut out the balloon from the contact paper to leave a neat edge.

With the balloon cut out, we quickly cut out a basket shape and then 3 long thin strips to attach to the basket and stuck them all together with sticky tape.

Solving the problem of crafting with mixed ages, hot air balloon sun catcher and how it can be done with babies, toddlers and preschoolers at the same time

I attached ours to the window that T made with some folded over the sticky tape and it catches the light brilliantly in the afternoon once she and J are home from preschool and school.

Solving the problem of crafting with mixed ages, hot air balloon sun catcher and how it can be done with babies, toddlers and preschoolers at the same time

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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